Planning issues can be straightforward; however, some can involve arguments as to the interpretation of Local and National planning policies. In some instances, the outcome of a planning application may be important, it is therefore paramount to put one’s arguments in the best possible light. Sometimes your architect may find certain planning issues difficult (interpretation of planning law and precedent), whereas planning officers understand these issues. Due to the increased complexity and ever-changing nature of the planning system and planning policies, having the expertise to see the ‘whole picture’ can certainly top the advice of an architects and sometimes, even that of planning officers. It is therefore beneficial in having a planning consultant on your side to provide input into your proposal and to argue your case.
Our planning consultant at Michael Parkes Planning Services has worked for both local authorities and private clients and understands in advance what problems are likely to be met, so they can be headed off in advance. It is always a great relief to have someone on board with the appropriate experience and understanding of planning policies, particularly with so many policy changes around. Architects are not always familiar with everything that’s going on in the planning sector.
A refusal on a site can adversely impact the future of a development in terms of obtaining approval at a later stage. As such, it is beneficial to enlist the services of a planning consultant from the beginning.
How to apply for planning permission?
When applying for planning permission, all planning applications are required to be submitted on a standard form and can be submitted online. On larger schemes, you can apply for outline planning permission. This will allow you to better understand whether a proposal is likely to be acceptable before developing a detailed design (cost saving exercise). In other words, outline planning permission is where the permission is ‘in principle’ for development on a specified site.
However, the best way to “test the water” in our opinion is to use the pre-planning application advice service. See relevant section under our services.
You must make sure you have all the required plans and documents so that when applying for planning permission, your application can be processed in a timely manner. Local Authorities do provide a required information checklist. When you submit a planning application, a fee is payable at submission, but not in all cases. Fees are determined by the government and a full guide on all current fees can be found on the Planning Portal, as well as details of exemptions from payment and reductions to payment.
What happens after submission?
When your application has been validated, the planning application will be assigned to a case officer. At the same time and you, or your agent, will receive an acknowledgement letter which will include the case officer’s contact telephone number and email address. At the same time, neighbours and interested parties will be consulted of your proposal, allowing at least 21 days for responses.
How long does it take?
For householder planning applications and other minor planning applications, you can expect a decision usually within 8 weeks. For major planning applications, it can take up to 13 weeks or longer for a decision to be made. Normally planning applications are determined under delegated powers, but in some instances, decisions are made by the planning committee (made up of elected members).
What do I do when my application is refused?
Please see our section on Planning Appeals.