Navigate your way through the planning system

The stress of applying for planning permission can be reduced, provided you follow a few key steps, according to Nick Ide, head of planning and development at Batcheller Thacker and speaker at a series of forthcoming Business Link workshops (see below).

“Planning doesn’t do businesses any favours at all when it appears daunting and remote. However, there are ways of navigating your way through the process.”

Applications are decided by the Local Planning Authority in accordance with their Local Development Plan, which sets out the land-use policies and land allocations for your area, he explains. The Authority takes into account national policy guidance, regional planning guidance and considerations such as layout, size, design, external appearance, access, landscaping and sustainability.

Mr Ide outlines several important steps to follow:

  • Check the Development Plan for your area to see which policies are relevant to your application (available at Local Authority planning department or library)
  • Consider effects of your development on the local area. Identifying and addressing these should help with applications
  • Speak to Council Planner to discuss your plans and find out what their likely objections will be
  • Find out what you have to do to improve your application
  • Seek help: Useful websites include:
  • Employ a planning consultant

Business Link will be running a series of free planning workshops across southern England during September and October. For details on forthcoming workshops in your area and to book your place, please call 0845 600 9 006 or visit

Planning dos and don’ts:

Do not
  • Prepare a business plan to provide an all important context for your proposal; this should be proportionate to the development envisaged! The bigger the development, the greater the care needed with your business plan
  • Be aware of your basic rights
  • Meet a Council Planner to establish at an early stage that the principal of what you propose may be accepted. You may be charged for this but it is money worth spending
  • Consider calling in specialists, for example, a Planning Consultant or surveyor to help you prepare your application
  • Be prepared to change or modify your original idea if it will make your application more likely to succeed
  • Do not rush. There is more to making an application than simply completing the forms – it is all in the preparation
  • Do not rely on hearsay from neighbours who may have had planning permission for what appears to be a similar development, as every application is considered upon its individual merits
  • Do not expect an instant decision – allow sufficient time for the process





See more