Attwaters Jameson Hill’s Ten Tips for Planning Applicants

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Monday, October 24th, 2016

There’s lots to consider when making a planning application – these top ten tips will help to ease the stress and speed up the process.

  1. Take early advice – to ensure that any representations either via an application or correspondence to the Council are termed correctly from the start. We have the expertise to handle all the legal aspects and, equally important, have good connections with other experts required during the planning process.
  2. Engage widely – so that the application may be received more favourably by the public and statutory consultees, potentially minimising the impact of objections. It is often useful and beneficial to engage with Parish Councils to gain their support and work with them, as Councillors may have the final decision if the application goes to Committee. We can assist in the correct approach to Councillors, Parish Councils and the wider community.
  3. Understand planning policy – as familiarity with the local and national policies relevant to your proposal is imperative. We can assess how your proposal matches up to the policies. Permission will not be granted if it contravenes any policies set out in your Council’s Local Plan or the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
  4. Get the application right – because it is your opportunity to present your case to the local authority. If the application is easily understood and all the correct documents are provided, it will speed the process and assist the planning officer. An application needs to be set out in terms relevant to planning and provide the correct level of detail.
  5. Do not alienate planning officers – even if the system seems frustratingly bureaucratic. Often an officer may be trying to assist or render the application more acceptable in planning terms. Working against them can only bring delays and ultimately poor relationships. Being known as a difficult applicant will not help your current scheme or others in future.
  6. Expedite validation – as timely delivery of all the correct documents to the Council is important. An application cannot be considered until it is validated, so the sooner that happens the sooner you could receive your permission.
  7. Be involved at Committee stage – since this allows you to put your case forward and shows you are engaging in the process. For added impact, we are able to represent you at any Committee meeting.
  8. Get pre-application advice – so that you can gauge the Council’s view on your scheme. The process allows a planning officer to comment and highlight any issues you need to deal with. It is a good way to engage and to shape a scheme broadly acceptable to the Council before it has been formally submitted.
  9. Discuss any Section 106 terms – if your scheme is going to attract such contributions. Ask the officer to indicate the terms they have in mind before these are presented to the Committee, as it is much more difficult to negotiate them after permission has been granted with terms attached.
  10. Be alert to Judicial Review – which means your permission is still open to challenge up to 6 weeks after being granted. Objectors or other bodies may challenge the way in which the decision was made, possibly getting your permission overturned. Seek legal advice immediately if put on notice of such action.

If you would like further advice on the tips listed above, or any other aspects of Town & Country Planning law, email planning@attwaters.co.uk or call 0203 871 0039. We will be happy to help you.

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