Who can apply for Planning Permission?
Anyone can, whether they own the land in question or not. However, it is more usual in the case of completely new development for the owner of a site to apply in order to maximise the value in their property by developing it to something other than the current use. It is however perfectly in order for prospective purchasers/tenants or existing tenants to submit planning applications.
Applications, Appeals and Enforcement
Whilst it is possible for applicants to apply for planning permission themselves, it is imperative that the application is submitted in the correct manner, meeting national mandatory standards and LPAs local requirements. Increasingly planning applications have to be accompanied by an increasing range of documents to justify why permission should be granted and planning agents are well placed to prepare such documentation or commission on their clients’ behalf. For example there may be instances when proposals do not straight forwardly comply with planning policy but with special justification can still be considered to be acceptable by LPAs.
There will be instances when permission is refused and the services of a planning agent may be required to submit an Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate for the case to be independently reconsidered.
In some cases clarification is required to determine whether or not a building, extension or use which does not have planning permission is nevertheless lawful. Applications for Lawful Development or Use Certificates can be made to LPAs to clarify the position. Certificate applications tend to be of a technical nature, because of matters of fact will need to be considered by the LPA, and planning agents are able to assist with compiling these types of application.
In some situations LPAs will take enforcement action against what they consider to be unauthorised buildings works or uses by issuing what are known as Enforcement Notices. These notices may require a building to be demolished or a use to cease. Failure to comply with an Enforcement Notice can result in recipients (landlords, tenants and lenders) being prosecuted. There are various grounds of Appeal against the issuing of an Enforcement Notice, including: the works or use do not require planning permission or are of an age making them exempt from action; planning permission should be granted; and the requirements of the notice are unduly onerous and should be modified. Usually there is only a 28 day period in which to submit an Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Planning consultants can provide guidance on how best to respond to Enforcement Notices and then submit Appeals as necessary.
Development Plan Representations
The Planning system is policy lead and each LPA must prepare a Local Development Framework (LDF, replacements for old style Local Plan). LDF documents set out the general strategy for development in an LPA area and then identify potential developments site. As part of the LDF formulation process landowners can promote sites for development and individuals and interest groups can support or object to emerging policies or site allocations. Planning consultants can make submissions for their clients whether promoting sites or objecting to the contents of emerging LDF documents.
Third Party Representations
We can submit third party objections to applications. There is a skill to making objections to applications because to be material they must focus on planning issues, i.e. being contrary to planning policy. We can prepare letters and/or appear at planning committees or appeals to present material planning objections.