What is a planning consultant and do you need one?
What role can a planning consultant play in a development project?
Planning consultants offer advice and support on all matters relating to planning, development and environmental issues for building and renovation projects.
Planning consultants know the details and constraints of the complex planning system and therefore can offer their expertise on whether there is a planning solution and if so, what is the most efficient and cost-effective way to proceed.
Consultants are able to manage and complete planning applications, which can often be detailed, time consuming and obscure.
The range of advice can vary from the provision of initial advice about what approach to take for planning, through to being involved with all stages of the design and build process.
What aspects are planning consultants involved in?
A planning consultant can be involved as little or as much as a client requires, but typically the main areas of work include:
- Conducting research into the town planning feasibility of the development, which will include assessing the local area, reviewing Local Plans, and assessing the current situation in terms of other developments or planning applications in the area.
- Working with and appointing design experts to create all development and design briefs, which will be included in the planning application for consideration.
- Researching and assessing what the impacts of the project would be on the locality. Conducting surveys on drainage, wildlife and arboriculture for example, as required.
- For large projects, there will often be the need for Local Plan representations, or public exhibitions of the plans, which need to be organised and managed.
- The submission of planning applications, and if required, conducting a Section 78 appeal. Monitoring the progress of the applications and providing advice and guidance if clarification is sought by the relevant Planning Authority.
- Once approved, managing the final detailed design drawings or selling the plot or site on the open market for agreed fees.
What qualifications should planning consultants hold?
All accredited planning consultants must be a member of is the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). Membership of this institute is an internationally acknowledged symbol of expert aptitude and proficiency.
The RTPI website has a list of all accredited planning consultants.
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