Planning & Development - Planning

April 15, 2015

Profit From Planning      
Think like a Town Planner!

In order to “profit from planning” you must first be aware of the planning status of your Property or Land. Knowing the limitations and opportunities that the planning system imposes on your holdings will allow you to maximise its potential. .

1. Are you making the most of your existing property & land?
What is the true commercial value of your property/land and would an alternative use be more profitable? Knowing the planning status could add significant value to your existing holdings. You may think you have a fairly worthless parcel of land, but there may be opportunities to increase its value that you were not aware of. Expert advice from a qualified town planner may identify previously unconsidered opportunities.

2. Appraise potential acquisitions.
Carry out appraisals of potential acquisitions at an early stage. The knowledge gained will assist you in understanding the planning context and emerging potential. The appraisal could highlight significant opportunities to increase the value of the land or property. It may also make you aware of potential risks, which might be resolved through adopting a positive planning strategy.  Professional advice can greatly assist in maximising your opportunities.

3. Work with, not against, your Local Planning Office.
Adopt a positive planning strategy that meets your aspirations and those of the Local Planning Authority. To do this you will need to be aware of emerging planning policy at local & national levels. Ensure that you are involved in the consultation process that precedes new policy and make representations to protect existing interests and/or enhance their value. Ensure that you have knowledge of the Local Plan so that you can pro-actively tailor your plans. The expertise of a planning specialist will be a valuable resource to you.

4. Forewarned is Forearmed.
Be aware of previous planning decisions for similar developments in similar locations. This information will help you to identify potential planning issues that could affect your proposals and negotiations. It may support your application or save you time and money developing inappropriate plans. Your planning consultant can draw up comparisons for you or identify trends.

5. Test the water.
Pre-application consultation is important, particularly with the Local Planning Authority and such consultation is positively encouraged. Time spent working with the Local Planning Authority prior to formal application can significantly reduce the processing time and positively affect its success. Where appropriate, consultation with Councillors and other key stakeholders, such as the general public, is also useful in unveiling unanticipated issues. As with your main application, a professionally considered approach will provide a stronger, fact based argument for your proposal.

6. Keep an eye on your neighbours.
Ensure that you keep aware of development proposals on sites surrounding your land and premises. The impact can be direct or indirect and could include access, light, servicing, noise and a range of other matters. In addition, sensitive new developments may constrain your activities or even the future viability of the use of your land. These may therefore have significant impact upon land value; so act to protect your position.

7. The right way to influence.
Factors that influence the decision making process are well presented arguments based on sound planning grounds. These are often referred to as ‘material planning considerations’ and include the Local Plan, Government issued planning policy and perhaps more detailed locally adopted policies or guidance. This doesn’t include any effect on the value of your property! A qualified expert can produce and submit an effective argument on your behalf.

8. Address sustainable development issues.
These include requirements for carbon neutrality and such things as renewable energy. Doing so can assist greatly in progressing your planning application. Local Planning Authorities are increasingly requiring, or putting greater emphasis on, sustainable development and many have related policies that apply when assessing development. The importance of this aspect cannot be over-emphasised.

9. Do not overlook ecological and environmental issues.
Local Planning Authorities are applying a stricter regime to the appraisal of ecological impact and mitigation. This means that should you fail to carry out appraisals and, where necessary, works in mitigation, then planning permission can be refused on these grounds alone. In addition, failure to carry out appraisals at the correct time can result in seasonal delays of up to a year before the next appraisal ‘window’ becomes available. Environmental considerations may, on larger sites, require an Environmental Impact Assessment. If not correctly carried out, this can be grounds for legal challenge and the quashing of a planning permission.

10. The changing planning system.
The planning system has been overhauled over the last few years and there is more change on the way. It is important to keep up to date with new planning polices and requirements to ensure your development proposals adhere to all relevant requirements. This will help you to avoid delays to your projects and perhaps costly alterations to your proposals.

For advice on planning issues contact Andrew Wright at Kirkby & Diamond Chartered Surveyors’ Milton Keynes office. Tel: 01908 678800 or email Andrew Wright. 

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