The experts at SJM Planning explain how a planning advisor can assist your project

Why hire a planning consultant? 

Anyone can make a planning application to a local planning authority, but the application process system can be very challenging and complex, especially given recent changes in planning legislation. This is where planning advisers come in. An understanding of how to ensure an application is validated can really speed up the process of a home renovation.

What gives you the extra knowledge to speed up the approval process?

Not only are we Chartered Town Planners, but we also have Local Authority experience; meaning we have spent a number of years working the other side of the fence, giving us a unique insight into how Local Authorities act when assessing planning proposals. Understanding the technicalities as a former Planning Officer can also assist in the negotiation process and ensure that the best proposal can be put forward.

At what point are you usually brought in to a project?

Clients typically contact us when contemplating altering or extending their home; sometimes it is a pre-purchase conversation as we now offer planning assessments of homes they might be looking to extend once purchased.

How involved do clients have to be in the planning side of things themselves?

We offer a turnkey service; providing the measured survey, architectural plans, planning advice and submission to the council for approval. We typically manage the whole process to the point where we obtain consent from the council. We can also advise on the discharge of any subsequent planning conditions and have a network of consultants who can deal with every potential constraint.

Which areas of the South East do you cover? 

Not only do we cover all areas within the South East and London, but our work has taken us as far north as Bolton, as far west as West Wales and also into East Anglia.

Can you tell us a little bit about a memorable project that you were involved in? 

We recently assisted with a project which had planning restrictions preventing the owners from extending the house as much as they wanted. However, we were able to think laterally and establish a fallback position with a series of permitted development extensions, and trade these off for the extension they really wanted. Not only was it a fantastic result for us, but more importantly, the clients were able to stay in the home they loved and didn’t have to move.

What a planning consultant can do:

Provide accurate, impartial and professional planning advice to ensure a planning application’s smooth journey through an often expensive and complex planning process.

Offer a fresh, independent approach to solving complex planning issues.

Add value and get the most for their clients from the planning system.

Build effective relationships with the Local Planning Authority, community and other parties affected by the planning application.

Hold professional indemnity insurance, protecting them and their client.

Direct instructions to barristers, without their client having to use a solicitor as an intermediary.

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