How to have a successful planning application process

Friday, 17 November 2017

Local councils are reporting that over 50% of planning applications are not complete when they get submitted. If yours is one of them, your initial application will be rejected and will then need to be resubmitted. This will severely hamper your project and can also end up costing you extra money.

At Howkins & Harrison, we can help you through this process and stop this happening to you.

Our experienced team of planners are on hand to ensure that any planning applications you want to submit are complete and ready to go. They can then be assessed and determined as quickly as possible.

The majority of people only get involved in the planning application process a handful of times in their lifetimes. So, you can be forgiven for not knowing all the ‘ins and outs’ involved. That’s where we come in. We handle planning applications every day and most of our team previously worked for local councils in the planning departments, so we know what the case officers are looking for.

The application process can be complicated and confusing. Through our many years of combined experience in both the public and private sectors, here are our tips to make your planning application robust, processed first time and hopefully get approved.

First, here are the main elements all routine planning applications need to have:

  1. A completed application form
  2. The correct application fee
  3. Accurate site location and development plans
  4. Determination of Community Infrastructure Liability (where applicable) – robust details of how your plans will affect the area and the community
  5. Understand your local planning policy and how your application fits in

The planning system in England and Wales is a hierarchy; at local level, council’s issue a development plan, usually called a Local Plan or Core Strategy. This is the local planning authorities plan for the future. It sets local planning policy and determines how land is to be used and what can be built where.

The plan echoes and breaks down national planning policy to a local level.

It is really important to understand how your project fits into this overall strategy. It can really help to shape your designs and plans. You’ll be able to ascertain which situations require planning permission, as well as situations when your property may benefit from having been designated as having ‘permitted development rights’.

If you are a landowner, you must keep your eye on any changes to your Local Plan. Your land could go from not being able to get planning permission, to being in an area of ‘permitted development rights’.

We can help you with this so you can explore the development opportunities available to you.

  1. The pre-application service

Most councils operate a pre-application advice and enquiry service. But a lot of people don’t know this is available to them. As professionals, we use this to make a formal argument in favour of your proposal before it’s even submitted.

For us to conduct a pre-application advice enquiry on your behalf, avoids committing you to any costs associated with preparing a complete application – including detailed drawings and surveys.

The pre-application enquiry allows you an insight into knowing if your application with be favourable in principle. It is the best way to know if what is in your head could ever be a reality.

  1. Application processing times

Applications that do require full planning permission, as well as applications for prior approval of permitted development, are determined within a statutory eight-week (56-day) period. Some permitted development, such as agricultural operations, will only require an applicant to apply for prior notification, a process that has a statutory four-week (28-day) determination period.

  1. Submitting a fully completed application

Your application needs to detail and show a full understanding the planning policy that underpins the development of your project. This will help to ensuring the application is well-received by the council.

At Howkins & Harrison we work with clients to prepare these complete applications. By using a professional third party like ourselves, you can avoid lengthy and potentially costly delays to your project.

Many applications also require the preparation of other documents, including detailed planning statements and scaled drawings or site specific specialist surveys.

We are able to assist in the preparation and coordination of all additional submission requirements on your behalf.

Going through the planning process can be confusing and potentially frustrating. Our planning team of experienced Chartered Town Planners are here to help you. We can make the planning process simple and assist you with your development requirements, however big or small.

By getting in touch with us at the very start of your project, we can work with you to identify your specific requirements. We will also provide you with a realistic and detailed break-down of all the associated costs, preparation, professional bodies, documentation and timescales for your project. This will help you to manage your costs and minimise your planning application process time.

Our team would be delighted to talk to you today.