Our Top Ten Tips for Successful Planning

Our planning team share their top tips on working successfully in the planning system

Image - Resolution to grant Planning consent was secured by Steve Catney and the planning team on 11 acres at Colsterworth for up to 70 houses.  The site is currently on the market with John Elliott with a guide price of £2m (further details)

Our Top Tips for Planning

1 - Know the policy

The basis for all planning decisions is policy.  There are policy tiers at all levels from national government policy, to local plans, neighbourhood plans, landscape area policies such as Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and site specific policies such as listed buildings, conservation areas.  All these and more may affect your site

2 - Time means change

Policy and public opinion changes with time so remember what might not work today could work tomorrow.  Be aware that things can go the other way and what might be possible today may not tomorrow. If a consent can be secured today you should do so protecting your site against future adverse changes

3 - It’s political

Many decisions are taken by committee - there is policy background but the final decision is a vote. If the planning committee are in favour you will get approval. If your proposal is popular, public opinion and good communication with the Local Planning Authority all work towards a favourable outcome

4 - Know your site

Rights of access, visibility splays, pipes, cables, ecology, archaeology, setting and past uses can all affect the way your site can be developed. It is vital to understand these issues and plan around them.  Sometimes given time, limiting factors can be resolved, for example with time a footpath might be diverted

5 - Be patient and resilient

Planting a landscape strip around your site, repairing a convertible building, etc. prior to a planning application can help your chance of future success. The planning process can be tough, you should be prepared for knock backs.  Expect to have to supply more information. Expect to have to resubmit. Be prepared to appeal

6 - Know your values

Think about what you really want and don’t waste time and money to obtain a consent that disappoints.  Take early advice as to whether your proposed scheme will be viable, it is unusual but perfectly possible to obtain a planning consent which has no value or constraints that you cannot live with.

7 - Be realistic and flexible

If the site is wrong, the policy is negative and the scheme is unpopular – It may well be better to consider an alternative scheme, wait for a better time or find another site. Be prepared to be flexible to modify your plans, to work with policy, officials and the community

8 - Know your history

Avoid past mistakes by knowing your history.  Extensive planning history is available on planning authority web sites so it is possible to read about past applications on your site, applications for similar sites and similar schemes.  Past applications and planning appeals are a great way to identify and avoid pit falls which have tripped others. Make good use of planning precedents including appeals and planning judgements to support your application

9 - Join in the planning process

If policy does not support your ideas, engage with planning policy by making representations during development plan consultations when policies are being drafted and make it clear your site is available; present it during Local Plan “calls for sites”

10 - Have a great team

Get a great team of advisors with a proven track record.  The JHWalter team have experience in planning, heritage, environment, drawing, design, valuation, marketing and negotiation, giving clients the full spectrum of development and property expertise