Owen Pike from Sanderson Weatherall, shares his expertise on when you may need to appoint a planning consultant.
When do you need to appoint a planning consultant?
Navigating the intricacies of the ever-changing planning system is a complicated process, even for small household projects such as extensions. Putting together a solid case to convince the Local Planning Authority (LPA) can be even harder. This is where a planning consultant can assist; they are trained to ease this process and deliver expertise to take the most efficient route towards a successful application.
What is the role of a planning consultant?
First and foremost a planning consultant can break down the technical jargon for you and inform you of the process and steps that will have to be met, before compiling the relevant information required to complete each step in the process.
The planning process has various routes available and utilising the experience and knowledge of a planning consultant will help you decide what avenues are the most appropriate for each specific case. The consultant will conduct all necessary discussions with the LPA throughout the process to ensure the application is kept timely and any additional information required is provided to avoid a delay in obtaining the decision.
When are they involved?
A planning consultant can be involved from the outset with representations at each state of the local plan making process to promote greenfield sites for allocation or surplus sites for alternative uses. A planning consultant can then act as expert witness during the Examination in Public. This isn’t always necessary however and most commonly consultants offer invaluable insight at the pre-application stage right through to a decision and if necessary at appeal. At SW we are happy to tailor our services and involvement to the requirements of the job, but the earlier the involvement the more efficient and cost effective the process can be.
What are the benefits?
Every development is unique, be it for the surrounding landscape value, scale of development or even strict local legislation, very rarely is a case straight forward. Our role is not simply a case of filling out the application forms on your behalf, we will assess the proposed development against both the current and emerging policy framework and provide you with honest feedback, identify the development options, explain the planning risks, identify the planning prospects and carry out in-depth research allowing us to build you a robust case.
We will identify ‘hidden problems’ including restrictive conditions and S106 clauses, ecological and other environmental issues affecting development phasing, imminent changes in planning policy, impacts of related legislation and high infrastructure contribution costs.
At Sanderson Weatherall we have a great working relationship with a variety of sectors across the industry and work with them to ensure that all aspects of your case are as strong as possible.
What to look for?
The accreditation of planning consultants in the UK is regulated by the RTPI. Using an accredited planner ensures that they can demonstrate the highest level of skill in the planning profession and are bound by a code of conduct.
Why Sanderson Weatherall?
We pride ourselves on providing bespoke advice at all stages of the development cycle.
Our advice is clear, consistent and provided in a timely manner.
Our collaborative way of working with other technical specialists means we are able to build multidisciplinary teams who are experts at finding solutions to assist in unlocking latent value.
Through many years of combined experience, we have managed to accumulate a portfolio that ranges from large residential caravan sites in Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONB), basement extensions in Central London to solar farms all over the UK.