Why Do I Need a Planning Consultant?

Planning Consultant Surrey

FORM Design Group’s Planning Partner Paul Uttley explains why working with a Planning Consultant could save you money in the long run. 

Clients often ask us why they need a Planning Consultant when they already have an architect on board dealing with a planning application.

Here’s a brief explanation.

A planning consultant is a professional who provides expertise, advice, and guidance on various aspects of urban and regional planning, land use, and development projects. Their role involves helping clients navigate the complexities of the planning process and local government requirements.

Planning consultants work alongside other professionals, such as architects, who may have experience with planning but are not often trained to understand the complexities and legalities of the planning process.

Ideally, a planning consultant should be Chartered and a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI).

Whether or not you need a planning consultant often depends on the complexity of the case/project – although even the smallest of projects can become complex.

Planning-related issues may also not be all about planning applications.

For example, there may be instances where you are seeking to promote a land designation through the local plan, or you need support to get your views heard in a scheme being promoted by others.  You may be having issues with planning enforcement, or need to appeal a decision which has gone against you.

How does a Planning Consultant Help?

These are some of the planning consultancy services that we provide;

  • Project Evaluation and Feasibility
  • Planning Advice
  • Negotiations with Planning Authorities
  • Development Plan Representations
  • Site Appraisals
  • Planning Application Submission and Management
  • Planning Statements
  • Design and Access Statements
  • Conservation Area Statements
  • Planning Appeals
  • Planning Obligations/S106 Agreements
  • Lawful Development/Use Certificates
  • Presentations at Committee
  • Listed Building and Conservation Area Applications
  • Third Party Representations

Overall, a planning consultant’s role is often to work alongside other professionals such as architects to guide them and their clients through what can be a complex process of bringing a development project from concept to completion while ensuring compliance with the regulations, as well as national and local planning policy and guidance.

What Does It Cost to Use a Planning Consultant?

The costs of bringing in a planning consultant will vary depending on the complexity of the project. Fees can be either fixed or charged on a time basis; sometimes it can be a combination of the two, but you should always ask for an estimate at the outset of the project.

However, the cost needs to be weighed against the benefits.

Planning consultants can save money in the long run as they are well-versed in the regulations and the development process.  Amongst other things, they can streamline the process by providing tailored strategies and clear guidance on the required documentation and the type of approval required.  They can identify potential challenges and risks early in the planning process, allowing you to address them proactively. Consultants can also manage various aspects of the project, such as coordinating with architects, engineers, and contractors.

If your project involves negotiations with regulatory authorities or other stakeholders, a planning consultant can advocate on your behalf and help you reach favourable outcomes.

If things don’t work out and your application is refused, engaging a planning consultant will provide you with the best chance of success.

Here at FORM Design Group, we work in partnership with developers and land and property owners in Surrey and south-east England by offering professional Planning Consultancy, Architecture and Structural Engineering advice and services all under one roof.

FORM Design Group offer professional planning consultancy services, so if you have any questions on this subject, please do not hesitate to contact us.