Gaining Planning Permission

People often ask our practice ‘what’s the best way of gaining Planning Permission’ and we often advise these three easy steps.

01 Feasibility Studies

One of the most important stages of obtaining planning permission is the feasibility study stage.

It’s always advisable to produce a good feasibility study in order to understand the best approach to a site. All too often people just go straight to the design stage of a scheme, wanting to know how many units can be physically achieved on the site and what the return might be before understanding other important requirements.

We’d always advise looking at the immediate planning history of the site and checking local authority design principals. It’s also a good idea to consult national design guides. Most information is available quiet easily and contributes to a much better planning application.

Once the parameter of the feasibility study have been established, the scheme can then be progressed into a sketch scheme. This will address access requirements, overlooking rules, amenity space, property sizes and the amount of units which can fit onto the site.

It is always important to put these key details onto the scheme in a clear and comprehensive way which is easy to read.

For further information see our post on Feasibility Studies

02 Pre Planning Enquiry

Once the feasibility study and sketch scheme has been completed and the client is comfortable with the findings, the project can be progressed to the pre planning stage.

This is all about asking the planners a very straight forward question: ‘is our project acceptable in principle?’.

Some authorities want to see really detailed pre planning enquiries but that isn’t always possible. It costs a lot to prepare a really robust pre planning application and we don’t want to spend clients money unnecessarily or before any project certainty. For this reason, we recommend you keep the pre application simple.

Walters Architects always wants to give the client cost assurance and reduce risk as much as possible. This is the whole point of a pre planning enquiry, to ask the question before the client financially commits to a scheme.

We’d always recommend including location plans, site photos, sketch schemes and refences to local planning policy. This will help the planners understand your intentions and the site. Again, it’s important to keep things simple and easy to understand.

03 Planning Applications

Following a positive pre planning response, we will develop the scheme into a full and robust planning application.

It is important to respond to the advice of the pre planning enquiry so as to avoid disappointment. Try not to include more information than was in the original pre app. We are trying to evolve an idea, not change our minds at this later stage. Fundamental changes can confuse matters and lead to disappointment.

Most authorities now ask if a pre application enquires were made before the planning submission. This helps them reference the advice given and establish the quality of the application.

Walters Architects would always recommend 3D visuals for scheme, clients and planners find them a lot easier to understand. For further information on importance of architectural visuals, see our earlier post.

These visuals are an option but they really do help a scheme. We’d always insist on them for a large or contentious project.

In Summery

Walters Architects have a great planning record and that’s because we follow this process and produce a good solid application. You must remember to make it as easy for the planners to approve the application. Don’t be vague and don’t stray from previous advice. By all means, improve the scheme if possible but don’t change the approach. Make sure the design is clear and that policies have been clearly considered.

Essentially, if you follow these simple steps, research the appropriate material and present a clear, well informed application, you will give yourself the best possibility of planning success.

A poor application is more likely to lead to disappointment than putting your best foot forward. Resubmissions will prove very expensive.

For further information on the subject of project phases and the planning process go to the Planning Portal and visit the RIBA’s website.

Alternatively, if you have a project (domestic or industrial) please call Walters Architects on 0116 2541830 to discuss your requirements further. We are always happy to discuss new projects.