Before embarking on any new development project, be it a small extension or large scale mixed use project, it is crucial to fully understand the potential planning challenges that relate to a site and any associated risks. Planning Sense can help to minimise any uncertainty by carrying out a detailed assessment of a proposal at an early stage, to identify and where possible address potential issues in advance of progressing with a planning application.
Once an initial assessment of a scheme has been undertaken, it is often useful to seek pre-application advice from the Local Planning Authority prior to making a full application, either to gain reassurance that officers will support a proposal or to identify any other aspects of design which could be resolved prior to submission. This can in some circumstances help to avoid delays during the course of an application, particularly for large scale schemes or those which are locally contentious.
Planning Sense provides a full application service from start to finish, including;
- Providing initial advice on application requirement;
- Co-ordination of necessary technical reports;
- Liaison with architects and other consultants;
- Preparation of necessary planning documentation (supporting planning, design and access statements and other reports);
- Submission of
- Meetings and negotiations with officers and stakeholders;
- Attendance and presentation at planning committee;
- Section 106 (legal agreement) negotiations and clearance of conditions.
The limited availability of development sites, coupled with an ever-changing market has resulted in great pressure being placed upon existing buildings and their associated uses. Achieving a change of use of a site/building can bring otherwise redundant or underused premises into full occupation and increase value.
In recent years the Government has actively sought to create additional housing supply through changes to the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO) which allow certain changes of use to be carried out under "permitted development" or "prior approval", for example the conversion of office buildings to residential use in most locations. Planning Sense can provide a strategy for progressing such applications, other changes of use which require permission and also obtaining lawful use certificates where this is disputed / has been requested by the Council.
Development proposals involving Listed Buildings and "Heritage Assets" require particular care and attention to ensure the preservation of their historic and architectural interest. Schemes are usually assessed vigorously by officers and poorly conceived, unjustified alterations an often cause delays in the application process when amendments are sought or applications are refused outright.
Planning Sense has been involved in many Listed Building Consent applications and proposals within Conservation Areas, and are familiar with the requirements / expectations of local authorities in terms of the level of information that must be submitted to support such proposals. We will work with the appointed architect and other consultants to ensure sufficient details are provided as part of an application.
Given the complexities of the planning system and the subjective nature of design, it is not unusual for an otherwise acceptable application to be refused either at officer level or by planning committee. In these cases an appeal can usually be lodged against the refusal.
Planning Sense can advise on the prospects of success at appeal, in the first instance providing guidance on any possible amendments to give the best possible outcome, and a strategy for taking the appeal forwards - be it a written representation appeal, informal hearing or public inquiry.
National policy and government priorities on planning issues are continuously and rapidly evolving, in response to socio-economic changes in the UK and the failure of previous planning frameworks to address issues such as housing delivery, sustainability and planning obligations. Strategic planning however, with the onset of the Localism Act, remains a lengthy and unwieldy process with an increasing number of parties becoming involved. Planning Sense can assist in making representations to development plan reviews or responses to public consultations and will maintain contact with the Council to ensure comments/suggestions are considered appropriately.
If there are concerns relating to the potential impact of a development upon neighbouring properties or the local area, it is important to convey these views to the Council clearly during the application stage. Planning Sense will advise on the relevance of any objection you may have and assist with or act on your behalf in objecting to applications, including discussions with officers, councillors or presentation at committee.