At HFS Planning , we comprehend that many of our clients might only encounter planning permission once or twice during their lifetime. We grasp the intricate nature of planning permission, and that’s why our team of expert planners is here to provide you with valuable pre-planning guidance!

Before starting any project, our clients commonly pose the following questions

  • is my project feasible?
  • Do I require planning permission?
  • What is needed to apply for planning permission?
  • What is the process for applying for planning permission?
  • How long does it usually take to obtain planning permission?
  • What are the chances of the council granting planning approval?
  • What steps should be taken if planning permission is declined?
  • What will be the estimated cost?

Asking these questions is crucial, and it’s imperative to obtain thorough answers before moving forward with a planning application or commencing construction.

Do You Require Pre-Planning Guidance?

Pre-planning advice, also referred to as pre-application advice, is not obligatory but highly advisable to minimize risks and costs. After all, who wants to invest in planner drawings or initiate a planning application for something that may not be feasible? To acquire planning advice for your intended development, you have two alternatives: reaching out to your local planning authority or a town planner. You may have previously attempted to contact your local council and realized that engaging with them can be challenging. Even upon successful contact, they typically demand a formal pre-application with drawings and a comprehensive written proposal before offering feedback. Seeking professional guidance through your council's pre-application service or from an RTPI town planner can streamline the planning process, as potential issues can be identified before application submission.

Option 1: Pre-Application

To initiate a pre-application for any development, you will need to provide planners with drawings, encompassing elevations, floor plans, block plans, and a site location plan to illustrate the property's current state and the proposed changes. Additionally, a comprehensive written proposal is essential. Subsequently, you will need to complete the online form and pay the applicable fee, determined by the development type. If your proposal is ambiguous or lacks necessary details, you can anticipate a similarly unclear and uninformative response from your local council. Typically, it takes 4 to 8 weeks to receive a response for a pre-application. It's vital to understand that a pre-application does not equate to approval or pre-approval. It serves as a written response indicating whether planning permission is likely needed, the requirements to support a planning application, and a preliminary assessment of potential approval. Many councils are facing significant backlogs and have suspended their pre-application advice service. The cost of a pre-application varies based on the project's nature, scale, and local authority charges. For smaller projects like residential developments, the cost can range up to £450, but for larger ventures such as multiple dwellings or extensive commercial developments, it can be considerably higher. You can refer to this example pre-application for reference.

Option 2: Planning Appraisal

Alternatively, one of our RTPI-accredited town planners can perform a Planning Appraisal, mirroring the checks conducted by your council. This entails reviewing the relevant planning policies, planning history, and site-specific planning constraints. What sets this apart is that you aren't required to provide architect drawings or a highly detailed proposal. We can provide you with comprehensive answers within a day, as opposed to the 8-week standard timeline. Initially, one of our town planners will conduct the research, typically taking an hour or more. Subsequently, you'll engage in a telephone consultation with the town planner, lasting approximately 15-30 minutes, contingent on your project's complexity and the number of inquiries you have. By the end of this consultation, you will have clarity on the project's feasibility, whether any permissions are necessary, the likelihood of success, and the associated requirements and timelines for the process. Seeking pre-application planning advice offers the advantage of making well-informed decisions regarding potential needs for supplementary information. This might encompass specialized reports, additional planning statements, or extra drawings, potentially impacting costs or timelines. With all essential information in hand, you can steer clear of any unwelcome surprises as the process unfolds.

Feasibility Report & Quote

After the telephone consultation, your town planner will diligently compose a comprehensive feasibility report encompassing all discoveries, recommended actions, and the probability of success. This report will entail the project brief, site location, relevant planning history, local authority details, planning constraints, necessary components for a planning application, and a crucial assessment of the likelihood of success. Our town planners, all RTPI accredited, are ethically bound to furnish you with candid and detailed advice, all of which will be meticulously documented in the feasibility report. Should your project pose a high level of risk or prove unviable, we will promptly inform you. Conversely, if it stands a strong chance of approval, you can proceed confidently. Once the precise requirements are established, assuming your project is feasible, we will dispatch the feasibility report along with a precise quote for the services you require, be it architect drawings and/or a planning application. While we aspire for your project to be feasible, discovering otherwise before investing in drawings or an application is always prudent. Rest assured, all our quotes are backed by our price match guarantee, and we are committed to surpassing any like-for-like quote.

Accredited Design Professionals

It's crucial to emphasize that architects primarily specialize in design. Therefore, for pre-planning advice, it is advisable to consult a qualified RTPI town planner. Should you choose to proceed with your project, our in-house chartered planners can generate all the essential drawings required for your endeavor. Architectural design is a deeply personal endeavor, and our initial focus is on comprehending your precise aspirations. Subsequently, our planners will create drawings aligning precisely with your specifications. For planning applications, 2D drawings suffice, but we also offer the capacity to generate 3D drawings, lifelike 3D renders, and interior design concepts. Upon securing planning permission, we extend our assistance to encompass building regulations, structural engineering calculations, and BIM models if necessary. The produced drawings will faithfully mirror your design brief, with minimal or no revisions typically necessary. However, should you wish to make alterations, we'll seamlessly manage the process, progressing to the next stage only upon your complete satisfaction and approval of the design.

Chartered Town Planners

Once you approve the architectural design, one of our planners will meticulously review the drawings to ensure compliance with planning regulations. If any potential issues are identified, we will bring them to your attention and propose alternative solutions. Our planners will then craft the necessary planning statements and collate supporting evidence to clearly advocate why, aligned with the relevant planning policies, your application warrants approval. Upon your consent, your planner will handle the submission and oversee your application through to the decision stage. It's common for councils to request supplementary information or minor design adjustments during this process to mitigate potential refusals. Your planner will act as the intermediary between you and the planning officer, addressing any requisites throughout this collaborative endeavor. Without the guidance of a planner, while your design may be visually appealing, it might not align with the essential planning policies. Moreover, even if your design is suitable, without robust supporting evidence, your application could be unnecessarily at risk of rejection. Hence, we synergize both architectural expertise and planning acumen within our team to optimize the likelihood of a successful application.

Require Pre-Planning Consultation, Design Blueprints, or Planning Authorization?

Contact us now for a free no obligation consultation to discuss your project.