Planning Failure?

Planning Failure?

People often think that when they submit a planning application and it is rejected that the process has somehow failed and that they have nothing to show for their time and their money.

Unfortunately, the planning system is becoming tougher (perhaps because there are more buildings and less space) so unless it is a very straight forward project, there just isn't a quick-fix option.

Learn from failure

The truth is that the approach to planning, is like training for high jump, you don’t start off with the bar high and keep knocking it off and work your way down, you start low and work your way up when you can clear the bar, you raise a little at a time. You are not failing or wasting your time until you get to your highest - you are training to get there.

The planning system is a lot like that - you can learn a lot from your "tactical failures."

Bear in mind that if there are insurmountable issues, which should become obvious after the first application/appeal, there is no point in banging your head against a brick wall and wasting further time or money on the process. An architect or planning professional should be able to advise if this is the case.

Strategic planning

A planning refusal can still have significant value as it can tell you a lot and establish some lines in the sand. It will specify what aspects of the proposals the Local Authority (LA) considered didn't comply with their policy, meaning you can consider these and amend the designs accordingly (if they didn't let you do it during the application). The other massive benefit of having a set of reasons for refusal is that if you submit a similar application the LA cannot impose new reasons for refusal for a very similar scheme, so effectively you have established parts of the design that are acceptable (and will be for the next application).

For most applications we would not expect to have to make more than two applications but if you’re trying to push the planning policy boundaries, it might be that your first application tests the water and subsequent applications try to pick off the more difficult items to get through.

Just like trying to win any argument, you must dissect and overcome each point, one at a time – the same approach works with difficult planning applications.

Give yourself time…

As we’ve written in blogs & articles the best thing you can do to give yourself the biggest advantage is to start well ahead of when you think you need to.If you are pressed for time, you’re much more likely to compromise on what you want.The LAs know this by the way, which is why so few people appeal against their decision as it takes such a long time.

Chris Dale, 28 April 2020

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