Planning is like negotiating a maze. We know it’s all about planning strategy and with success rate at 83% over the last 10 years, we know how important a well-thought-out strategy is when considering a proposal at its planning conception.
When contemplating a project we start the planning process by thinking about:
- local and national policy
- Government guidance
- published papers
- how the proposal will be considered at local level
We reflect on all these points, plus local characteristics and site context, to inform our strategy to maximise our success for clients.
The planning maze is one that’s hard to navigate without professional assistance. The following sections outline our approach when we take on a project; if we don’t feel that we’ll be successful, we advise you at the outset.
We only take on schemes that we feel we’re able to follow through effectively.
1 Green Belt
Based in Loughton on the Essex/London border, we’re surrounded by Green Belt. We know how to devise planning applications to maximise potential, at the same time as meeting client requirements and expectations.
Planning in the Green Belt adds a layer of complexity. However, thanks to justification and design-led proposals featuring intelligent strategy, we have the ability to tackle the quirks of Green Belt planning stipulations. Our Process page provides a detailed outline of each step we take in terms of developing a project’s unique design.
Our Green Belt record speaks for itself, at over 81% approved from one-off houses to larger developments.
Ludgate Barn provides an example of a project where we have developed a striking, yet sensitive design for a house situated in the Green Belt.
2 Planning Advice
Planning Viability Appraisal
Part of our successful process is conducting viability appraisals led by our Planning Director, Arron. Whether the proposal is for remodelling of an existing house or a mixed-use development, a viability appraisal can be a useful tool from the outset of a project. It is a standalone piece of work to evaluate whether there is scope for a scheme, or to inform a project’s future.
The aim of this assessment is to provide our clients with what we consider to be achievable at planning, with the motto of “maximising and exceeding client expectation”.
These are useful instances that involve early consideration by a Local Planning Authority (LPA) to ensure they support a project. These are particularly useful where a proposal is not strictly in accordance with planning policy, but where the project would appear reasonable and can be justified.
We used pre-application information to inform the design of our Woodford Road project, far right.
As a design-led practice, we understand the challenges of presenting developments to LPAs, and inevitably Parish and Town Councils. With the inclusion of our Planning Director‘s input on all proposals, we specialise in devising a development that meets and, where possible, exceeds our clients’ briefs and expectations.
We provide design-led solutions, together with substantive planning justification, to maximise development potential and success.
Not all architecture and planning advice is equal. We have seen over time that the greater the design integrity of a project, factored in with good planning strategy, will enhance the value of a project and the developer’s profit. See here for more detail on the design process we follow for each of our projects.
3 Planning Applications
We are planning specialists – planning applications are our day-to-day life here at the Studio. Thanks to our quality assurance processes, plus the bespoke direction of progressing planning applications unique to each proposal, we produce highly considered strategies.
Our applications comprise high quality drawings and reports, both from ourselves, in the form of a Design and Access Statement. Submissions can also encompass input from a myriad of other required consultants, including aboriculturalists, sustainability, ecology and flood experts, to name a few.
For example, as our Millers project is situated within an area of Green Belt, it was essential for us to include a selection of high quality drawings and visualisations in the planning application.
Planning applications are more complex than ever before and need careful handling, which is all part of our service.
Our reputation with Local Planning Authorities greatly assists our success rate. We forge and maintain professional relationships with Planning Officers, Planning Managers and Heads of Services in Local Councils. These relationships assist greatly in gaining planning permission on sites where others would struggle.
Planning is a puzzle which needs considered guidance from the inception of a project.
Very few of our submissions result in a planning appeal due to our stance during the planning application stage of the process. However, those that do are more likely to arise from a planning committee decision where the application has been recommended for approval by the Planning Department, but the Committee have chosen to overturn this and refuse.
80% of our appeals have been successful. We have shown an excellent understanding of what is required to achieve success at this stage; ultimately gaining approval.
4 Planning Appeals
As specialists in planning, we take on appeals from clients who have engaged other architects who don’t have access to the same level of advice and specialism we can provide. At the outset of considering these appeals, an informal discussion will take place. This will give an indication of whether the proposal stands a good chance of success or if a re-submission with amendments should be made.
From a planning perspective, the careful design and selection of materials for our Palmerston Road project will greatly enhance the overall street scene.
Planning is all about triumph, either at local level or via an appeal. After all, no planning permission, no building.