Consultancy

Planning Consultants – How they help

If you haven’t prepared a planning application or a certificate of lawfulness it can be quite daunting particularly if you haven’t done it before. There is a solution.

Employing the services of a Planning Consultant can make the whole project run smoothly. A Planning Consultant will be able to advise and assist you on all aspects, from the need for planning permission for a particular project, to the requirements of the planning application, to making the submission itself. A Planning Consultant will have a good understanding of the planning legislation and how it applies to a certain project and will be able to advise accordingly.

A consultant will be able to assess the development potential of a site and the likely acceptability of a project. He or she will be able to discuss the project with the client, advising on the potential pitfalls and advantages of a proposal, keeping in mind the desires of the client. An initial assessment of the need for permission may be provided, as well as an indication of the planning fee for the proposal.

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Once the clients have decided the extension or project they want, the consultant will be able to prepare the draft plan proposals for discussion and agree specifically what plans are to be submitted.

Timescales

The timescales will depend upon the complexity of the project, as the more complex the proposal submissions are, the more time it would take for the pre- application proposed plans to be submitted and returned.

The Local Planning Authority will write to the consultant in a ‘response letter’ advising on the likely acceptability of the proposal. Once any required adjustments have been made the planning application may be submitted.

Refusal of the Application – What to do next

In the event of a refusal of the application for a certificate of lawfulness or a planning application (or if the application is not dealt with in the required time limit – usually 8 weeks), the case may be appealed.  A planning appeal following a refused application is a submission to the Planning Inspectorate asking for the application to be re- assessed and for a new decision on the case to be issued. The Planning Consultant would assess the reason(s) for refusal of the application and prepare an appeal statement rebutting those reason(s).

Once the statement is submitted to the Inspectorate, the appeal would be allocated to a Planning Inspector.  The Inspector would advise the consultant regarding the appeal and the dates for the various stages of the appeal.

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A Planning Consultant is able to provide updates and answer any questions for the applicant throughout the planning process. The consultant’s role also involves liaising with the Case Officer during the course of the application ensuring that the proposal is acceptable, and that the application is likely to be recommended for approval and to be granted permission. If there are issues with an application, the consultant may submit amended plans for the case, overcoming the concerns with the case that there may be.

It should be noted that not all Local Planning Authorities accept amended plans during the course of an application, some will only accept minor changes to the submitted plans.

Where amendments are not accepted, the consultant is able to advise the client on the potential likelihood of success of an appeal if the application is refused. Alternatively, the consultant may advise that the application should be withdrawn from the consideration of the Local Planning Authorities and a fresh application submitted.

Planning applications are usually granted subject to conditions, some of which may require a further submission or submissions to the Local Planning Authority for the discharge of conditions before the development is started. Such a condition may involve a tree report or a landscaping scheme, or perhaps a plan of car parking provision. A Planning Consultant is able to assist with the discharge of conditions.

Having achieved planning permission, a Planning Consultant may be able to assist the property owner with the appointment of a building firm in order to commence the building works.

A Planning Consultant is therefore integral to the process of submitting a planning application and to achieving permission for a development scheme. A consultant is able to assist at every stage in the process of achieving planning permission and is able to help the process run smoothly.