Tag Archives: Town Planning

Town Planning…The Basics

There’s a lot of advice out there regarding Town Planning, thousands of pages dedicated to what can be perceived as red tape but with a lot of jargon and confusing details in general they don’t tend to cover what you need to know in simple basic terms.

Planning House strive to provide valuable information in order for people to be better informed about the planning process without being bogged down by unnecessary waffle.

Town Planning is not rocket science, to help you know the basics of town planning, Planning House have prepared 8 eBooklets covering just that, the basics. If you want to look further into a particular topic more information can be found online very easily. These resources have been prepared as an easy read starting point, free of charge, no email collection before you can download and no sign up to a newsletter – no strings attached!  All you need to do is click the eBooklet and read it, the current series is:

1 WHAT IS TOWN PLANNING?
Covering the need for town planning, the system, what town planners do and the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), this eBooklet is a very light touch overview of planning.

2 APPLICATION PROCESS
Designed to give you the basics of pre-application engagement, planning fees, types of application, how to apply for planning permission, who makes the decision, the process, validation requirements, and material planning considerations. This eBooklet provides you with enough knowledge to assist you through the planning process if your proposal is not complex.

3 PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT & USE CLASS
If you’re looking to extend or improve your home or change the use of a building it pays to understand the scope of permitted development rights. Covering potential permitted development rights you may have, including those for converting buildings i.e. barns into homes without the need for planning permission. However, as with all things about town planning it can be a complex topic, these rights can be removed, or there may be another process (prior approval) which you may need to go through in order to benefit from these rights.

4 SELF BUILDERS
This eBooklet is aimed at those who are proposing to embark on a self-build journey, covering the application process but also planning myths, the hidden costs of planning and steps to choosing a town planner, it’s a useful starting point.

5 APPEALS
There’s a right of appeal not just against the refusal of a planning application but also against non-determination of an application or against conditions attached to an approval. Covering who makes the decision, what to submit, appeal types and process, award of costs and disagreement with a decision this eBooklet helps you be more aware of the time and resources needed for an appeal.

6 ENFORCEMENT
Covering what is a breach of planning control, enforcement time limits, non-compliance, the range of methods used to tackle a breach and types of enforcement notice this eBooklet stresses the importance of early intervention.

7 CIL & s106
There are some hidden costs of planning which you may not be aware of, if you’re liable to pay CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) or propose a development which may trigger the need for additional works or financial contribution (via s106 Agreement) it’s better to be informed about what the implications of both are.

8 DEVELOPMENT PLANS
Planning law requires that applications for planning permission be determined in accordance with the development plan, knowing what plans are in place and how they are developed will assist in progressing any planning proposal.

More topics are proposed to be added to the series in order to assist you in any potential development project, however if you need support or advice Planning House are here to help.

The basics of Town Planning
A series of Free eBooklets covering the basics of Town Planning

Grand Designs Live – Ask the Expert

Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House will be appearing at the London Grand Designs Live Event in May 2018.

You will be available to discuss your own grand design in free 30-minute consultations. Bring your plans and drawings to get the most out of your session. You can reserve your spot in advance via the Grand Designs Live website or on the day, on a first come first serve basis.

Planning myths

Some of the common town planning myths are dispelled in the September issue of Northern Insight by Chris Pipe, Director of Planning House.  This is a must read for anyone embarking on a development project, especially those who may not have been through the planning process previously.

There are some common myths about town planning which you should be aware of before you embark on a project, in this article I want to dispel a few of them.

‘Apply for something bigger than you want to build then you can compromise with the planners to the actual size you want’   What a load of rubbish! Apply for what you want and save time and resources with unnecessary negotiations, if a planner has a scheme they can support they will planners don’t tend to disagree out of obstinance.

‘My plans are similar to down the street, so it’s guaranteed to be approved’   Every planning decision is based on specific circumstances. Policies evolve and significantly influence a planning decision. The creation of a conservation area or where a development boundary line is drawn on a local plan can all fundamentally change the way a proposal is viewed. Planning history and constraints of a site also play a huge part in the process. Whilst precedent can be a contributing factor the planning mantra is ‘every application will be determined on its own merits’.

‘Pre-Application advice has been positive so my application will be approved’  Planning decisions are based on adopted policies, however, don’t underestimate local objections and politics.  If nearby residents object against your application and contact the parish or local councillors you could also end up with objections from them.  Some Councillors sit on the planning committee and can override the planning officer’s recommendations. Speak with neighbours and local representatives in a bid to avoid objections and potential appeal.

‘Planner Officers will guide me to an approval’  A planning officer’s role is to process your application. Some planners are worth their weight in gold and talk to applicants about issues and guide in overcoming them. However, planners have set timeframes to decide an application, they are often under resourced and as a consequence can take the easier route of refusing an application rather than discussing any issues. Contacting your planner to ascertain their view on your application can avoid unnecessary refusal.

‘I’ll get my decision in a couple of months’   Let’s assume your planning application is valid when its submitted, i.e. all relevant information is submitted. Only once its valid does the decision making clock start to tick.  Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if an application is valid no further information could be requested, something could crop up which means you may need to provide further information, potentially meaning further time is needed. Planning applications have timescales for determination and Council’s try to adhere to these, however extensions of time can be requested by the planners you don’t have to agree to them, but unless you appeal against non-determination the Council can take longer to decide your application, especially if the application goes to the Planning Committee for determination.

‘Once I have permission I can start to build’ Sometimes this is the case but generally there are conditions attached to a planning approval which must be discharged, for instance agreeing a brick or tile for your development or providing information relating to boundaries etc. Check your conditions, as discharging conditions can take a number of weeks which you need to plan into your build schedule.  Also, don’t forget about Building Regulations Consent which is a completely separate process to planning.

‘I can change my plans as I go’  We’ve all seen TV programmes that encourage alterations however be aware that technically, if a proposal is not built in accordance with the approved plans or conditions it doesn’t have planning permission! Changes can be risky and could have fundamental consequences such as enforcement action, demolition, finances being withdrawn by your mortgage company, or an unsellable asset. Always check that changes don’t invalidate your planning permission.

Common Town Planning Myths
Top Tips on Common Myths of Planning

How to Maximise Land Value

The May edition of Northern Insight contains an article written by Chris Pipe, Planning House

Unless you’re au fait with the planning system and land markets you should seek professional help in maximising land value. I wouldn’t re-wire my house, or carry out medical procedures that’s what experts are for! However, I am fortunate to have worked in both planning and land and appreciate the expertise required for the creation and maximising of value through the planning and land process.

In the first instance, I would recommend a development appraisal for the site which is a good way to ascertain development potential, these appraisals generally consider the planning policy position, local circumstances, planning history and recommend a clear planning strategy to achieve the sites planning potential.

Whilst Planning House can advise on a site’s planning potential through a development appraisal engaging with the relevant local planning authority is a good way of gauging the informal views on your proposal, you do not need to have detailed plans drawn up at this stage. There are many benefits of seeking pre-application advice as well as potentially saving you money in abortive professional fees if development is not feasible. These discussions can flush out any site specific issues and potentially speed up the decision making process. However, be aware local authorities sometimes charge for these discussions.

I would recommend that anyone who wants to maximise land value to speak to a land agent, who are different to estate agents as they specialise in sourcing and disposing of land taking into account build costs and constraints of the site, they can advise initially on existing values and offer guidance in terms of potential values should planning permission be secured. However, a site with development potential will only realise its value once planning permission has been secured. A site marketed as ‘development potential’ will not achieve its true value as this is speculatively based on ‘hope value’.

Some people assume that if a site has development potential its existing value can be inflated without securing planning permission, which is why one of the issues faced by land agents is vendor expectation. Whilst land is an asset the value of it must be offset by the costs of the development itself this will ultimately affect land value, for a development to be realistic it must be viable.

The cost, timescale and resources needed for a planning application depend on the site and proposal. In some cases, it may not be prudent to secure planning consent yourself when weighed against the cost of the planning process, timescales and particulars of your site, however this is very much dependant on the existing and potential difference in value, scale of the site and personal circumstance. Land agents can explore options with you such as land assembly, overage clauses, promotional and option agreements. They will also take into account any covenants, existing tenant or access issues the site may have.

In a nutshell planning permission generally increases land value when there is potential for a viable development, however realising the value must be weighed against the investment needed and timescale to achieve it. If you have a potential development site and are looking to maximise land value contact Planning House to discuss how we can help.

Planing permisson increases land value
Top Tips for maximising Land Value