Planning Permission Applications
Whilst making a planning application (i.e. filling out the relevant forms) is a relatively easy process, knowing how to ‘play the game’ can be the difference between your planning application being accepted or declined.
Planning Permission Help
The Timbertecs Planning Consultancy Team has produced a brief planning application guide to getting through the planning process:
Planning Permission: Playing the Game
Making a planning application can be a long, painful and risky process however usually the potential gain outweighs all of this. Without planning your land is just another field, with permission to build you have transformed it into a building plot with potential for a good return on investment.
As a self-builder you have the option of buying a plot with or without planning permission. Although buying land with permission already granted is appealing to many self-builders it is important to remember that the planning may be for something completely different to your proposed plans. If you do opt to buy land with planning it would be wise to know exactly what was proposed and what type of planning permission was granted.
Either way you need to have an understanding of the planning process yourself before you even think of applying. It would be disastrous to make an application for the wrong type of planning permission and an incredible waste of time and money. With the right advice on the planning process from the start you’ll be able to turn your dream home into a reality.
Like any game the planning process has its own set of rules, however these are particularly predictable, open to interpretation and can be bent quite dramatically if you know how to play. Planning regulations are not set in stone and due to the nature of the process can differ dramatically from one part of the country to another.
Effectively whether you get planning permission, is based largely on the interpretation of national and local planning policies by your local planning officer. As a result the scope for inconsistencies within one authority is high, the potential for inconsistencies across the country is huge.
Having a good relationship and getting them involved from the start will dramatically increase your chances of getting the planning permission you want. Timbertecs has long established links with local planning authorities helping us to speed up your application process.
Buying land without Planning
Purchasing land with no planning can be a risky business as there is no guarantee that planning permission of any kind will be granted. Thankfully it is possible to avoid a lot of risk by purchasing subject to planning. This is legally secured by exchanging contracts with completion conditional upon getting the permission you want, or by entering into an Option Agreement, which gives you the legal option to buy the land if you're successful, or walk away if you're not.
It is perfectly legal to make a planning application on a piece of land that you do not own; you do not even need the permission from the owner. However if this is a route you are going down it would be advisable to speak to the landowner first and draw up a contract. Remember planning permission is granted on the piece of land not to the person applying for it.
Making local planning objectives work for you
A development should be carried out in accordance with the development plan unless there are materials considerations that indicate a different decision should be reached. In English every Local Planning Authority has certain targets and desires when it comes to planning in their area. Generally the planning officers are looking for buildings that fit into their scheme. Getting to know these targets and understanding how your project fits in with them is key to making your application a success.
The Development Plan for your area is either comprised of a County Structure Plan and District Local Plan or a combination of both, called a Unitary Development Plan. In any event, your local council can guide you, and they will probably have it on their website. This will contain policies that stipulate where new houses are likely to be allowed and where they won't. It will list the criteria that should be used to assess and judge planning applications. They may also offer other advice on their particular criteria, researching all this should give you an idea of what kind of building is likely to get through the planning process and what is likely to be declined.
Making a successful Planning Application
Builders and Developers that get through the planning process do so because of their knowledge of the area. They know how to look at the local plan and understand that the planning policies are ever changing so what was successful last year may not get planning this year and vice versa.
Another thing to be mindful of is that planning policies have varying levels of importance depending on whether they have been formally adopted or not. Very recent policies will often carry less importance than long established planning policies. However having said this it would be wise to cater for newer policies within your design if possible.
Yes, it is confusing - you'll get the hang of it, and an understanding of the system will help you to use it better.
The Planning Committee
The government is pushing for most applications to be determined by planning officers in order to speed up the process, leaving more controversial decisions to the committee. So, get to know the planning officer, and even a couple of committee members. Their support may prove valuable and you may be able to find out whether your application is to be delegated from the committee to an officer. The local councillor can be important because if the planning officers are not all convinced, it is usually possible for local members to request that the application is put before the planning committee. This at least gives you the opportunity to persuade them, rather than face a certain refusal under delegated powers.
The Planning System
The council has to publish its agenda for committee meetings five days beforehand, often on their website. You could ask for a copy of your report that will be presented, and then act accordingly, perhaps persuading people to write in favour of your scheme.
Design for Planning Acceptance
One of the best ways to get through planning is to design your home with your planning application in mind. This doesn’t necessarily mean compromising your dream home. Be aware of the area you are looking to build in, get a feel for what fits in and get to know what your Local Planning Committee is looking for. Chances are you’ve picked your plot because it is a place you want to live in so it is likely to have a heavy influence on what you want your home to look like.
At Timbertecs we offer a complete Architectural Design Package alongside our Planning Services meaning if engaged early enough we can design your home with you, to suit your needs and get through the planning application process with ease.
The Planning Application Process can be a minefield. It’s ever changing guidelines and trends coupled with the fact that the ultimate decision is dependant on someone’s interpretation of them, means that there is no real right way of doing things. Many people find the idea of dealing with planning authorities both daunting and frustrating nobody likes to be passed between departments or kept on hold for long periods of time. At Timbertecs we offer a simple solution.
Let us deal with it for you.
Our experts in planning already have long established partnerships with Local Planning Authorities. We know the Planning Process inside out and are able to keep up to date with all the changes in planning policy. Our Planning Consultants can help you with your planning application, planning drawings, and planning appeals ensuring your project goes through the planning process as smoothly and quickly as possible bringing you closer to your dream home.