Plan-A Planning and Development
Based upon our creative collaboration as a team of professionals, we utilise our combined experience and planning expertise to meet the needs and objectives of our clients.
We offer a full range of planning consultancy services, from general planning advice, to handling complex planning applications, appeals and enforcement issues, and have a solid practical understanding of what it takes to achieve a successful outcome. This helps us to identify the most effective planning strategy to deliver the right results.
We tend to ‘live’ each project - making an emotional investment in what we do, which often sees us going that extra mile to deliver a first-class professional service – but, most of all, our approach is to be both honest and responsive in all our professional relationships.
We also have considerable experience of working with local authority officers within the locality of our Cotswolds’ office base, but always do our utmost to ensure an effective dialogue with officers from any Local Planning Authority and, having consistently achieved high percentage success rates, our approach clearly delivers results!
An objective site appraisal and assessment is a key stage in the planning process. Plan-A can provide anything from a straightforward assessment of a site’s development potential and likely success in achieving planning approval, to a more in-depth analysis aimed at establishing the most appropriate strategy and form of development to take forward.
Site Identification and Promotion
Plan-A can undertake searches and studies aimed at identifying and investigating development opportunities within specified areas.
In the context of a ‘plan-led’ system, the effective promotion of identified opportunities is often critical to achieving their allocation and subsequent development.
Plan-A can help to guide and promote proposals through the plan-making process, or seek to influence policy content.
Plan-A can advise in respect of those cases where it would be worthwhile seeking formal pre-application advice from the Local Planning Authority (LPA) prior to submission of a formal planning application.
Whilst most LPAs now charge for this service, the advice received can sometimes help to avoid incurring unnecessary costs or provide appropriate guidance on the form and content of planning applications associated with more complex proposals.
Generally, the more information that can be provided at this early stage, the more beneficial the feedback received from the LPA, although we can advise on the level of information that would be appropriate in each individual case.
We have extensive experience and a successful track record in preparing and handling planning applications on behalf of clients. As well as ensuring that proposals are accompanied by the appropriate supporting documentation and drawings.
We can also lead and co-ordinate the input of other specialist consultants where necessary for more complex projects.
If you have been refused planning permission by a local planning authority you have the right to appeal within a prescribed timescale to the Planning Inspectorate against the decision.
There are three different appeal routes, and Plan-A can handle all forms of planning appeal on your behalf, whether by written representations, hearing, or public inquiry. We can provide guidance as to the best route to take in each case, and can also offer direct access to the Planning Bar, instructing barristers within the main London or provincial chambers.
The written representations procedure is the most common form of appeal. The appointed Planning Inspector will consider written evidence submitted by the appellant, the Local Authority, and anyone else with an interest in the appeal. A site visit is usually made by the Inspector before the appeal decision is issued.
Planning hearings take a slightly different approach, as they enable each party to present their planning arguments to a Planning Inspector in person. This allows the Inspector to examine any important issues in depth by asking questions to the parties involved. Hearings can be continued at the site so that physical features and characteristics that are relevant to the case can be clearly pointed out. The Planning Inspector will then take all evidence into account before coming to their decision.
A public inquiry is the most formal of the appeal procedures, and is usually only associated with more complex or larger appeal cases. Expert evidence is presented to the Planning Inspector by witnesses representing each side’s case, and all witnesses can be cross-examined (questioned) about their evidence.
Enforcement action can be taken by the Local Authority if there has been a breach of planning control, usually:
The carrying out of development without the required planning permission; or
Failing to comply with a condition or limitation subject to which planning permission has been granted.
Plan-A can help you through the enforcement process, whether you have just been threatened with enforcement action or where an Enforcement Notice has actually been served. In our experience, it is beneficial to seek negotiations with the enforcing authority from an early stage, although we can also advise in respect of the following possible options:-
Submission of a retrospective planning application;
Submission of an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness; or
Appealing against an Enforcement Notice that has been issued.
Change of Use
The use of land or buildings is categorised into difference ‘Use Classes’ and, if you want to change from one use class to another, planning permission will often need to be obtained. Whilst some changes of use are covered by ‘permitted development rights’, they may still require submission of an application for ‘prior approval’.
Plan-A can advise in respect of any proposed change of use, and handle any planning or prior approval applications necessary to achieve them.
Certificate of Lawfulness
Plan-A can provide advice on the two types of Certificate of Lawfulness as follows:-
Certificate of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development (CLEUD)
A CLEUD application can be used in certain circumstances to regularise an existing breach of planning control which has been in existence for a specified period of time (4 or 10 years depending on the precise nature of the breach) or to clarify the planning ‘status’ of land or existing buildings.
Certificate of Lawfulness for Proposed Use or Development (CLOPUD)
A CLOPUD application is used to provide certainty that a proposed development falls within the thresholds associated with specific permitted development rights, and is a useful mechanism for confirming that proposed development, if undertaken in accordance with the submitted details, is thereby lawful (thus avoiding potential enforcement action).
Third Party Representations
Plan-A can offer advice and guidance to third parties where that may be affected by development proposed by others. If appropriate, based on an assessment of all material planning considerations, we can make appropriate representations on behalf of third parties to a Local Planning Authority (or the Planning Inspectorate in the case of an appeal).
Plan-A has successfully influenced the outcome of other’s proposals on a number of occasions.
General Planning Advice
In addition to the previous services, Plan-A can provide more general advice associated with the operation of the planning system and the need for planning permission. Therefore, if you have any general planning queries, we may be able to help, so please do not hesitate to contact us.
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