Understanding exactly what is expected of you and what requirements you need to meet is vital when seeking planning permission to develop your property. Such criteria will differ from council to council, so it is important to maintain communication with your local planning officer and seek early professional planning advice if necessary. Our top five tips will guide you through the process and help ensure your planning application is granted permission.
- Research local and national policies
Both national and local policies affect the success of a planning application. To have any chance of an application being granted at the first attempt, it is necessary to research these. It is also worth referring to previous planning applications in your area. This will give you an insight into how policies are interpreted by your specific council, providing you with a picture of what they look for.
- Play the game
While the bureaucratic process that surrounds planning permission may often seem to be a waking nightmare, it is important that you play by the rules of the local council. Every region has its own specific interpretation of the rules, so getting to grips with the way your area applies them is a good place to start. Talk to your local councillors, seek professional advice, and try to work out how local planning politics works.
- Talk to those who may be affected by your proposed development
National and local planning policies acknowledges that developments can have a big impact on public land, neighbours, and the wider community around them. Most objections to proposed development come from those who live next to or near the site in question. Therefore, it is important that you enter into dialogue with those you believe will be most affected by the proposed construction. Talking to neighbours and the local community (including parish councils) early on is likely to make them feel as though they have been consulted and are involved in the process. This can minimise the risk that they will object and ensure that, if they do object, the lines of communication remain open.
- Make validation easier
When submitting an application, it is imperative to ensure you comply with the national and local requirements when filling out the application form and drafting accompanying drawings and statements. Get this simple step wrong and your application could be invalid and refused. To ensure compliance and speed things up on the validation of your application, it is easy to include an index table listing the documents included with the application.
- Use the right terminology
Jargon and industry-specific terminology are found in every line of work and is no different. When filing your application, it is important to recognise that planning officers will be accustomed to speaking and writing in the language of planning. Consequently, it is a good idea to try and incorporate buzz words and planning jargon into your application. ‘Sustainability’ is a good starting example. Do not simply throw it in carelessly, however, but take the time to research how it is used and what context it typically appears in. Using this language will suggest that you understand basic planning practices and may increase your chances of being granted planning permission.
There is no guaranteed tactic for instant planning application success. Instead, it is necessary to develop a firm understanding of the rules in your area and play by them. While many may seem unnecessary or unhelpful, it is only when applications meet the expectations of the planning officer that they receive planning permission.