About Us

“Welcome to Gabriel Planning Solutions, I’m Tom”

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Gabriel Planning Solutions is a team of friendly consultants, set up in 2015 and as the founder I have spent my entire career dedicated to Town Planning. I have 22 years experience of working in Local Planning Authorities and 11 years experience working as a Town Planning Consultant.

Working on both sides of the planning fence has provided me with a very good understanding of the planning system. Having dealt with over 750 planning applications and appeals for clients, I have a wide experience of planning.

Design and Access Statements – Drafts / Plans and Elevations

In the early days (seems like a lifetime ago), my town planning consultancy career initially involved appealing refused planning applications and quickly expanded to include the drafting of Design and Access Statements for planning applications.

After a few years, I started to prepare plans and elevations for planning applications and for several years now, I have provided the full planning service from planning appraisals and the submission of pre-application planning enquiries to the submission of planning applications (principally householder applications) and planning appeals.

The crux in the matter is knowing what changes are required to a refused scheme to make it acceptable and to be able to advise on how to achieve permission for the amendment.

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Being a good Town Planner is not only about being able to submit planning applications and appeals, but also about being able to give the right advise that makes a difference to getting the scheme approved.

Visiting the property is imperative to be able to discuss the proposal with the clients to gain an understanding of what is wanted and measure up the property in order to prepare the plans and elevations for the application for a proposed development.

As a matter of course, I always forward a set of the draft plans to the clients to ensure that what I have drafted is what is wanted, in advance of the submission of the application. I am always content to make amendments where necessary. Upon confirmation that the prepared plans are correct, the application is submitted.

We also prepare and submit letters of objection for those neighbours of a planning application who wish to object to a proposal for the adverse impact it may have on their property and their amenities. We do not charge a fee for an initial consultation, be it by telephone, on-line or in person.

Over the 11 years in which I have been doing my consultancy work I have succeeded in securing many clients planning permission, either from the Local Planning Authority or at appeal.

Case Studies

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I was pleased to be involved with a property in the Metropolitan Green Belt in Buckinghamshire. A replacement dwelling, quite significantly larger than the original dwelling on the plot had had several applications for extensions to it refused by the Local Planning Authority. These were dismissed at appeal before I became involved with the site.

A further planning application for an extension to the dwelling, for which I prepared the Design and Access Statement, was refused on the grounds that the proposed extension would represent a further addition to this already enlarged dwelling, over and above its original size, and would have a correspondingly adverse impact upon the openness of the Green Belt. In submitting the appeal, I argued that the proposed extension, while increasing the floorspace of the building, would only do so by a limited amount being an infill addition to the dwelling at its rear, and that it would not have an adverse impact upon the openness of the Green Belt.

The Planning Inspector agreed and found that the proposal would not harm the openness of the Green Belt.

The appeal was allowed.

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The second appeal on the site that I dealt with was for the limited raising of the roof of two single storey wings at the dwelling. The application was refused on the grounds that raising the roof height of the wings would increase the building’s size, bulk and massing and would therefore adversely impact upon the openness of the Green Belt. However, the Council’s Green Belt policy stated that dwellings in the Green Belt may only be increased by 50% of the floorspace of the original dwelling, to avoid harming the openness of the Green Belt. The 50% figure had been exceeded by the replacement dwelling.

However, the success I had in this appeal was in interpreting the specific wording of the policy and the nature of the proposed extension. The extension did not involve an increase in the floorspace of the dwelling and only entailed a limited increase in the height of its wings. The Planning Inspector considered that as the floorspace was not being increased and the height increase was so limited and the wings of the dwelling would remain suitably subordinated to the main element of the dwelling, that the proposed development would be acceptable.

The appeal was allowed.

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Throughout my consultancy career, I have worked with and have advised architects, building surveyors and other property professionals regarding the need for planning permission. Planning considerations can be quite complex, particularly with the planning legislation changing quite frequently over the last few years. Unless you are up to date with the changes, it is easy to fall foul of the planning legislation and its requirements. As a Town Planning Consultant, I have kept abreast of the changes and am happy to advise accordingly.     

It is often considered by those not in the planning profession that because an extension has been granted at the neighbouring or nearby property that they will be granted it too. However, this is not necessarily the case. Each planning application is dealt with on its own merits and what may have been granted at one property may not be found acceptable at another one. As a result of this, it is necessary to give each application particular attention to ensure that it complies with policy and has a good chance of being granted planning permission. My experiences in planning have taught me this and it is something that I apply to each new project or case that I become involved with.     

Qualifications

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Awarded a 2:1 BA (Hons) in Town Planning and a Post- Graduate Diploma in Urban Planning from the University of Westminster, I started my planning career as a Planning Assistant in a Local Planning Authority in Hertfordshire in 1999. Between then and now, I have worked for a variety of Local Planning Authorities, principally in the northern Home Counties and London, working my way up to being a Senior Planning Officer. My experiences in Local Planning Authorities have included major and quite complex applications and householder and commercial cases, as well as Green Belt and Listed Building and Conservation Area applications. My Local Planning Authority career has provided me with a broad range of planning skills and an up- to- date knowledge of the planning system.