Everyone wants planning permission. Why? Because it adds value to their property and enables them to achieve their objectives. Getting a good planning consent is not as easy as it used to be, and if you are going to reap the benefits, you will also be taking the financial risk of making the application. All the more reason get it right first time, to plan ahead and to know what you are committing to before you commission any work.
What makes up a planning application?
As a minimum an applicant or their agent needs to submit the following:
- A written application form (in paper or online)
- A site plan identifying the land
- Scale Drawings sufficient to describe the proposed development
- Certificates and related documents
- An application fee, and
- A Design and Access statement
If you apply online at the planning portal, you only need to submit one copy of everything, but if you send the actual documents in by post or by hand, multiple copies are required.
Since 2007, Local Authorities can now adopt their own ‘Local List’ of additional information they require in support of a planning application. Here is just an example of the range of additional information they can ask for:
- Air quality assessment
- Biodiversity survey and report
- Affordable housing statement
- Tree survey/Arboricultural Impact Assessment
- Daylight/ Sunlight Assessment
- Economic Statement
- Environmental Statement
- Foul sewage and utilities assessment
- Flood Risk Assessment
- Heritage Statement (including Historical, archaeological features and Scheduled Ancient Monuments)
- Land Contamination assessment
- Lighting Assessment
- Noise Assessment
- Open Space Assessment
- Planning Statement (how the proposal accords with national, regional and local planning policies)
- Site Waste Management Plan
- Statement of Community Involvement
- Structural Survey
- Transport assessment
- Travel Plan
Preparing these documents takes special expertise, so they will probably need to come from a number of different sources. Your agent, usually an architect or planning consultant, can co-ordinate these professionals for you so that everything comes together and is ready on time.
All this information must be put together carefully – if anything is missing it can hold up the process of registering the application (confirming that it has been received intact and the clock has started ticking) and delay the 8 or 13 week time period from application to determination (decision).
Planning is a democratic process, involving not only national and local guidance but elected counsellors and members of the public. As a result it is not possible to guarantee a result, but there are ways to reduce the risk of refusal along the way.
Before the application is made it is essential to consult with the local authority about your proposals. This makes it possible to identify relevant issues early on and will give greater certainty of the process and its likely outcome. It may be possible to consult with a planning officer via email or telephone, or a meeting may be appropriate. Some local authorities now charge for Pre-Application advice and it is important to build this into your cost picture and to make good use of the consultation.
What will it cost?
Before anyone carries out any major work, find out what the application will cost to make. Each document will take time and expertise, you may need a survey of any existing buildings, and there is the planning application fee and the costs of a pre-application consultation.
Find out the likely cost of getting the application together, and the probable timescale from the professionals involved, before anyone does any work for you. That way you can assess the risk against the likely outcome, and as the process proceeds and more information is uncovered, you can keep abreast of progress and make informed decisions.
The reason why obtaining planning consent is so lucrative is precisely because the process involves risk. As the client who will own the permission, you are taking the risk, but you will also reap the benefits.
So minimise your risk: be informed and be prepared.
and this article:
Maximise Your Assets: Nowadays it is even more important to make a planning application count.