Troubleshooting The Planning Process

Working with clients to unlock positive outcomes

The planning process for many of us can be a daunting prospect; legislation is complex and can often appear impenetrable. No piece of legislation sits in isolation, it is part of a web of controls and influences. An unaware developer can easily be tripped up by not fully understanding the inherent complexity. The seemingly simplest of projects can fail, due to unforeseen legislative requirements blocking progress or leading to project rejection. Project delays can be frustrating, they can lead to uncertainty and introduce additional costs.

Depending on the type and scale of development proposed, applicants will need to consider, for example, whether the development could trigger an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA); what technical evidence is required to support a prospective planning application; what seasonally constrained survey work is required, when can it be delivered? Above all, applicants must ensure they understand the process and must develop a clear community and key stakeholder engagement strategy to keep communities informed.

In increasingly litigious times, it is essential that applicants adhere to due process, that they understand the steps required to secure a clean planning permission and incorporate these into their project planning to avoid blockages. This could for example include undertaking pre-emptive seasonal survey work, but also just understanding the timeline through baseline surveys, environmental assessment, regulatory timescales in the decision-making process, different Planning Committee cycles and schemes of delegation. The planning system includes a challenge process, where consents can be rendered void. Ensuring complete compliance throughout the process removes that risk.

The role of Planning Consultant is critical to the smooth process of a project. The planning process is at the front end of any development; without securing planning permission, development cannot proceed. Complex projects should have a planning consultant onboard as a key part of the team at the outset. With our understanding of the planning system and regulatory constraints we can help you chart a way through the planning system. Potential risks or constraints are identified at the outset and then managed as part of the process. Ultimately, we can save clients time and money through early action.

Our experienced Planning staff offer two troubleshooting roles:

Key team member involved in project delivery – we will identify the best strategy to secure planning permission, identify potential risks and constraints and provide solutions to overcome these. Embedded in the project team, we can react to previously unseen or external influences, we can advise the team on project design variations and what this means in terms of any live application process. On securing consent, we can set out the correct strategy for dealing with pre-commencement planning conditions to enable the project to proceed.

Troubleshooting – we can also offer a bespoke troubleshooting role to unpick a stalled planning application and get your project back on track. A sudden halt to a project due to unforeseen constraints or additional regulatory demands can be daunting; we can help you overcome the blockage and steer a route through the system. A stalled project can impact on eventual costs but can also adversely influence project funding; available funds can be withdrawn and directed to different projects.

We have extensive experience of the planning system, being involved in major development projects from the outset, advising clients on the approach to securing positive outcomes, identifying potential trip points, and ensuring a strategy is in place to circumvent these. We advise clients on the planning process but also provide advice in relation to any marine licensing requirements and requirements under the EIA regulations. We also have extensive experience of troubleshooting for projects that have stalled or are not going to plan. Over the years, our experienced staff have unlocked stalled applications for healthcare, residential and leisure developments to secure positive outcomes. Our team are also experienced in ‘dropping-in’ to projects in a specific role, for example addressing EIA requirements through EIA Screening and/or Scoping as well as project managing the whole EIA process. We have also delivered project delivery strategies for clients, working within available legislation.

Town Planning, Development projects, Project management, EIA, Marine Licensing, Delivery Strategies, Troubleshooting, Due Process, Legal Challenge, Advisory