In recent years, Planning Policy has been getting ever more complicated for ordinary householders and Property Developers alike. Although there has been a desire in government, both at local and national level to simplify the process, so far it hasn't translated into noticeable results. The reason for this is that there cannot be a uniform, national policy, or one shoe that fits all. Every location around the country is different, each with its different architectural histories and different local needs. To allow for this, National Government writes the planning policy "template" and Local Government then interprets that template in their own way. In some cases this interpretation results in contradictory and overlapping policies. In our experience, even in a single borough, different case officers have been known to arrive at different conclusions given the same local planning policy! This doesn't help and the poor applicant can be left confused and unsure of how to proceed.
Here at Planning Consent UK Ltd we understand the underlying "planning policy template" on which we base our initial simplified proposal and advice. Having agreed it with our client, we then approach the local authority, using both "Duty Planning Officers" and the "Pre-Application Advice" service to fine-tune your planning application to suit the Local Authority's interpretation of National Planning Policy. This method might seem long winded, but we find it saves our clients time and money in the long run and gives you, the applicant, the greatest chance of success. Obviously we can't guarantee success first time, every single time, but we do have a very high success rate by sticking carefully but intelligently within Planning Policy, whilst trying to achieve the best possible outcome for our client.
Additionally, our own systems of working allow us to be very responsive to Local Authority advice or requests and we will not keep an application waiting for weeks just to make minor changes. We follow an established route of Design, Consultation, Application and Consent that helps get the Local Planning Authority on the client's side right from the start. We use simple, widely readable, easy to understand, scaled plans in MS Word format for Planning Permission, that can quickly and easily be changed if required, keeping client costs down. We advise our clients to apply only for proposals that fall within Current Planning Policy, avoiding disappointment later and not wasting our client's time and money.
COSTS AND CHARGES:
Our Charges are transparent and your final bill will reflect only the work that has actually been done for you. We don't charge fixed fees, nor do we have a minimum fee either. You are charged by the hour for full hours only and you will receive regular updates with date and time spent and what work has been completed up to that point. You will receive e-copies of all completed work as it is finished, provided it has been paid for. The only additional cost that we may charge you for is "out-of-pocket" expenses such as printing charges for extra copies of plans at your request or for travel costs when multiple site visits are required. Any unused balance of funds on your account with us will be credited back to your bank account on completion of our work on your project. We want to change the way people apply for Planning Permission. We want to make the process clearer, more accountable, quicker and more certain for our clients.
If we go back to the start of this century, planning permission was somewhat more straightforward in terms of what you needed to submit. For most householder projects and small developments, a simple set of plans would suffice but with ever increasing regulation, both nationally and locally, it has become less about the plans you provide and more about your understanding of policy and how your proposal fits within that policy. As a result of these more humble beginnings, planning consent services have grown up as a cottage industry with no great consistency of approach. Some people still turn to an Architect for planning consent because there are very few alternatives, but this can be costly, time consuming and many architects don't see things from the point of view of the homeowner or the builder. Other people try to use a Planning Consultant with limited experience who often doesn't give the project the attention it deserves and so they either don't achieve consent or they get a less advantageous consent for the client.
So who knows best? Architects will always say they know best. Planning Consultants will say they know better. What do we say? In our view, Planning Officers at your Local Authority know best because in the end, it is them and them alone who will either approve, recommend approval or refuse you planning consent. That is why we take a consultative approach with them right from the start, using all our experience and knowledge to present something that is close to what they want to approve and then allow them, the Planning Officers, to tell us in writing what they would actually accept BEFORE submitting the final application. Put like this, it sounds kind of obvious, doesn't it? It is.