Initial Planning Advice


Identifying your requirements, reviewing your proposals, providing options appraisals, feasibility studies and providing a view on your chances of success in order to minimise potential risks to your property development projects.

Site Investigations & Appraisals


Site assessments, desktop studies to include planning history, limiting factors and a review of planning policies, negotiations with planners, provision of site layouts and indicative drawings.

Pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority


Using our excellent relationships with local authority planning officers, we can undertake negotiations at an early stage of your project in order to identify the level of support for your proposals at officer level. These discussions will also involve Highways Authorities, Environmental Health, Government Agencies (where necessary) and any other relevant consultees with an interest in your scheme.


We will agree with you the most appropriate approach to best meet your requirements as part of an overall strategy.

Preparation and submission of planning applications


Whether your project is a residential, commercial or householder application, our approach is tailored to the site and your requirements.

Our overarching aim is to make your application efficient and cost effective. We will draw together all the key elements you need for your planning application with a goal to deliver the results you want.

If required, we are able to bring together a team of specialist consultants appropriate to an individual scheme and project manage the preparation of your application as well as taking it through to decision.

As many of our team have previously worked for local planning authorities we have an in-depth knowledge to understand their requirements and pre-empt their needs.

Our extensive experience also gives us a solid understanding of local and national policy, the legal framework of the planning system and political imperatives. We can co-ordinate your scheme and negotiate with all the statutory bodies on your behalf, seeking the best possible outcome for you.

Managing the Application


We will manage the application process throughout following submission liaising with the planning officer to provide you with progress updates and addressing consultee responses in a timely manner to ensure your planning application is handled in a professional and timely manner. Our number one priority is always to get you, your desired outcome as quickly as possible and to enable you to get on site. To this end we will seek to negotiate any conditions to ensure these do not delay you commencing a project. Should your application need to go before the Planning Committee we can also attend and represent you to put forward the strongest possible case as to why planning permission should be granted.

Discharge of Conditions


Planning permission is often granted subject to conditions and it is extremely important to ensure that all conditions are discharged and complied when carrying out development. We can manage this process on your behalf putting together a comprehensive package of information to satisfy any conditions imposed on your consent, so that you can get on with your development with full peace of mind.

Planning Appeals


We are able to carry out all types of appeal work from householder appeals to through to major residential or commercial schemes. We can deliver the most appropriate strategy and appeal for your scheme to provide it with the best chance of success.

We can prepare and submit your planning appeal to the Secretary of State, including presenting evidence to the Planning Inspectorate, attending site visits and acting as an expert witness at both informal hearings and public inquiries as well as preparing written statements of evidence on your behalf.

PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT


Certain types of project don’t require planning permission as they qualify under what is called “permitted development rights”.


Permitted development rights cover building operations, extensions, demolition and certain changes of use, not only for residential properties but educational, agricultural and commercial too.


Permitted development rights can simplify the planning process and avoid certain policy constraints, which would otherwise deem a proposal unacceptable in planning terms.


By consulting us, we can help you gain a clearer understanding on what your permitted development rights may be, what is likely to be accepted under permitted development, or submit a case for permitted development to the Council on your behalf where such prior approval certificate is required.

PRIOR APPROVAL


New legislation means changes have been made under the new Permitted Development Right (PDR) for houses, schools, commercial and industrial sites. These changes, increase allowances for the extension of certain buildings or alter permitted changes of use for them, for both temporary periods and sometimes for limited time frames. In essence this means that some types of development no longer require planning permission.


In addition to the new arrangements for certain householder extensions, the changes to Permitted Development enables greater flexibility for temporary uses of buildings designated for shops, restaurants, cafés & pubs and offices to be used as retail, restaurant/café or office space for up to two years.


The new flexible arrangements are conditional and subject to the developer meeting the requirements of a formal notification process. We can advise on and manage this process for you with our expert knowledge of the planning system.

CERTIFICATE OF LAWFULNESS


We have considerable experience in preparing applications for Certificates of Lawfulness relating to existing or proposed uses or development.


We access have access to our own planning solicitor who has extensive expertise and success in the preparation and submission of applications for Certificates of Lawfulness, we are able to provide you with direct legal support and therefore cutting out the use of a third party which could result in a saving of time and fees.


We are able to undertake a thorough review of all the available evidence and advise clients on the prospects of success. We are also able to advise on how best to present the evidence to support an application including the preparation of statutory declarations by our experienced lawyer

PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT


Public consultation is a legal requirement for major projects. These schemes which are likely to generate a significant level of local interest, we encourage our clients to undertake public engagement. This can help inform the evolution of a scheme and enable a response to any objections at the earliest opportunity.


We are able to organise local exhibitions and other forms of public engagement on your behalf to engage successfully and effectively with potential stakeholders including neighbours and local interest groups.


Engaging with the right people, in the right way, at the right time can deliver useful input to your planning application and reduce the risk of refusal or delay.

STRATEGIC Development Planning


Review of Local Development Plans and Documentation, representations on behalf of landowners and other groups to promote the inclusion of sites for development or to safeguard land/buildings from development.


We work closely with clients to support and advise you on planning strategy in the medium and longer terms, so that you can shape your land portfolio accordingly. One option for seeking to maximise the value of your property is to ensure that you promote your land for development allocations through the Local Plan process at the appropriate time.


We carefully monitor the emergence of Local Plans and supporting evidence documents. These alter continually and with our experience we are able to support you influencing these to secure appropriate site allocations. We can engage in the promotion of development sites on your behalf through submissions at all stages of consultation to put you in the best position to achieve your objectives.  


Whether you are a landowner, developer or have other interests in land, it is vital that we actively engage on your behalf in the development plan process at the earliest stage to ensure your interests are protected and your assets are promoted.

Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas

The protection of heritage assets, such as listed buildings, conservation areas and scheduled ancient monuments and their setting, is an important part of the planning system. We can identify the implications of any heritage assets for your proposals and ensure that they are taken into account as the scheme evolves.


We can prepare Heritage Impact Assessments and Statements of Heritage Significance, to accompany applications and ensure that any additional consents which are required, such as listed building consent, are also applied for. We have significant experience of consulting with a wide range of public bodies on your behalf, from the Crown Estates Commissioners and Historic England to natural England and the National Trust.


We have produced statutory Conservation Area Appraisals and Conservation Management Plans for Local Planning Authorities, as well as preparing heritage funding bids to grant bodies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. 

ENFORCEMENT


We can advise clients on issues relating to planning enforcement matters, and associated notices and appeals.


We have experience of liaising with local planning authorities to achieve a mutually satisfactory outcome before formal proceedings are necessary. If this is not possible, we can assist clients and protect their interests through the process.


If you are faced with possible enforcement, you must act quickly.

NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANS


Local communities can now take on the responsibility of planning for their local area through preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. This was introduced through the Localism Act 2011. Neighbourhood Plans form part of the development plan so are a powerful way for communities to shape the future of their neighbourhoods.


Here at MPD, we have a knowledgeable team who can provide support at all stages of the process of preparing a Neighbourhood Plan. We can provide a bespoke service which can be personalised to your needs, helping you to prepare a plan that reflects the vision and objectives of the community.


We can advise on all elements of the Neighbourhood Planning process, including grant funding, the designation of the Neighbourhood Area, the allocation of sites, involving the county and the drafting of policies.


We can help as much or as little as you need. We can provide the technical advice and support to ensure that your Plan meets all the regulatory and policy requirements.


If you and your local community want to prepare a Neighbourhood Plan and you need help or advice with any aspect of this work.

COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE LEVY/SECTION 106 AGREEMENTS AND OTHER OBLIGATIONS


If you are planning a new development, you may be asked to pay a contribution towards funding and associated infrastructure, such as road improvements, education facilities or affordable housing. We will advise you at the outset of your project if these contributions are likely.


This may be achieved through a Section 106 Agreement whereby developers and local authorities negotiate and agree, the required contribution.


However many local planning authorities have introduced the Community Infrastructure Levy, better known as CIL. This sets a non-negotiable tariff for new developments which is put towards infrastructure. This is a tax and normally not avoidable.


Whichever method is applicable to your scheme, expert and experienced knowledge is crucial to minimising your liabilities while optimising the potential of your site.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT


Responding to the growing needs of our clients and the widening scope of environmental legislation and regulation, we offer the following services:

  • environmental impact assessment (EIA), (including screening and scoping);
  • strategic environmental assessment (SEA);
  • appropriate assessment; and
  • other environmental planning advice.


We will work with you to establish what processes will be relevant to your proposals and ensure that the legal requirements are satisfied at the relevant point with the
minimum possible disruption to the project programme.

Contact us to see how our planning consultants Can help with your planning issues.