The starting point for the Local Planning Authority when deciding whether to approve a planning application is always the Local Plan. This is produced by the local authority for the area every 5 years. The Local Plan sets out what types of development are allowed in which locations and it is possible that your land, without your knowledge, may even be identified already for a particular type of use or there could possibly be restrictions on what it can be used for within this document.

The Local Planning Authority are not able to look at the principle of new homes on a parcel of land in isolation, they also have to consider whether the development of the site will, from a technical perspective, be able to be delivered. There are lots of different factors to consider, but there are two critical ones to check:

How will the site be accessed?

It can be obvious where a site will be accessed from, for example, an existing access from a road, even if it does look obvious though there are still some things to double check. Can the existing access cope with the intensification of use? Is there enough room to fit an improved access, including the requirement for visibility? In other cases, how the access will work might be less obvious and much more difficult to achieve and third party land owners may need to be involved.

How will the site be drained?

Draining sites effectively is becoming more and more of a challenge, in particular surface water (rain that lands on roads, roofs and gardens), it has to be drained in a sustainable way. Ideally, it should be directed into a nearby stream or river but at a rate that won’t make other areas more likely to flood. Some solutions can be complicated and difficult to achieve and, like with a road access, can mean getting the agreement of neighbours to drain water into streams on their land.

If the above key issues seem to be ok and the possibility of planning permission looks promising then all the other factors that the council will take into account need to be assessed. Landscape impact, ecology, noise, air quality, agricultural land quality, heritage issues, flood risk, ground contamination, infrastructure requirements (improvements to the road network, provision of new schools, parks and doctor’s surgeries etc), how many homes can fit on the site and what the design of the houses will be.

Working through all this detail is expensive and requires considerable specialist knowledge. This is one of the main reasons why so many land owners have chosen to work with a land promoter like Land and Planning Consultancy. Our aim is to deliver optimum planning permissions on behalf of our clients but at our cost and risk. Our reward for doing so is a percentage of the value of the site once it is sold. If we don’t succeed, you don’t pay anything.