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Southwest Environmental Limited
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Environmental Consultancy Services to Industry, Business and Individuals

Planning Applications

A planning application for many types of development is a massive undertaking. Large scale projects in London for example may require dozens of reports, with numerous revisions to each.  Sustainability targets can also be costly obligations to meet, the there are often assessments from flood risk and contaminated land.

Southwest Environmental can manage the entire planning application on your behalf, using or expert knowledge to make sure you:

  1. Are granted planning permission for your desired development.

  2. Have the minimum number of post planning conditions.

  3. Ancillary costs such as renewables are kept to a minimum.

Read our FAQs to find out a little more on Southwest Environmental's approach to planning permission applications.

Frequently Asked Questions on Planning Applications

Is it necessary to have a pre-application meeting with a Planning Officer?   Will the planning application be determined at Local or County Level?   What supporting documents will I need for my planning application?
         
What Planning Use Type do I need for a waste activity?   What Planning Use Type do I need for an Industrial Process Activity?   Do I have to wait for planning permission before starting an Environmental Permit Application with the EA?
Retrospective Planning Applications   Case Study - Inert Waste Recovery Planning Application   Building Regulations Application
         
What is a Planning Design and Access Statement?       Permitted Development Applications
         
         

Is it necessary to have a pre-application meeting with a Planning Officer.

It is not obligatory to have a pre-planning meeting with your local planning office. However, 90% of the time it is a worth while and courteous part of the planning process. Notes taken at these meetings can be very useful, and the planning officer may highlight broad brush concepts that are not immediately apparent, such a designation of land in the vicinity.

Planning officers may have also been working that area for some time and will know of past cases where certain aspects of projects have caused delays etc. It might be pertinent to ask the following questions at a pre-application meeting:

  1. Can you envisage any problems with this planning application?

  2. Can you give a ball park figure for planning fees? (Can be high, particularly on sites with large areas)

  3. Have you overseen other planning applications in this area? (Look at these to gain an idea of how your application might proceed)

Will the planning application be determined at Local or County Level?

Most small planning applications will be dealt with at local level, for example your local, city or borough council. However, certain scales and types of application will be dealt with at district level i.e county council. These might include applications related to waste, or industry and very large applications such as large housing or retail developments.

The complexity of the application will not be more complicated as result of county level determination, but most application made to county are in their very nature, larger and more complex.

What supporting documents will I need for my planning application?

A good place to start if you would like to see how complicated a potential planning application might be is DEFRA's Magic which is a free GIS based web tool, that allows you to find land designations such as SSSIs and National Parks. Obviously if your application site is close proximity or within designated areas such as identified habitats then this may result in the need for a habitat survey.

Another good place to check is the Environment Agencies flood risk map, this will tell you whether you are in flood risk zone, that warrants further reporting. Zone 1 is generally OK (below certain sizes), but Flood Risk Zones 2 and 3 will generally require the preparation of a flood risk report, to accompany your planning application.
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Other reports that can be requested by the Local Planning Authority (Find Yours), may include;

Phase 1 Desktop Study

 A phase 1 desktop study is a contaminated land report that looks at the site past and current uses to try and "guess" whether the ground will be contaminated. Contaminated ground may means that your planning application will not be granted until you have proven that the site is safe for intended use.  This is one of the few reports that you can not produce yourself, as Part 2A of the Environment Act requires that the report is undertaken by a qualified person. This particular planning application report is the first step in a potentially 4 part process.  Find out about the other phases of a site contamination assessment.

Transport Assessment

A transport assessment may be requested by you local planning authority when the proposed development may create a lot a vehicle movements, transport assessments can relate to the the construction phase or operational phase of the project.

Typically a transport assessment will involve a group of people sitting around on deckchairs at various road junction counting cars, buses and lorries, and perhaps the odd cyclist. A count may last for just 1 or 2 hours, and then expansion factors are used to 

Environmental Impact Assessment

An environmental impact assessment is typically composed of 2 or 3 "elements". For a planning application for a wind turbine you might be asked for a visual impact assessment and a noise impact assessment.

A planning application for a large housing development might have visual impact assessment, noise impact assessment, traffic impact assessment and perhaps air quality impact assessment.

Visual Impact assessments may be requested if the site is in a AONB or National Park, where protecting the views is important.

Sustainability Statements

A sustainability statement can be a very basic document, as most council only enforce the bare minimum in terms of energy efficiency etc. However, forward thinking areas such as London and Bristol.

What Planning Use Type do I need for a waste activity?

If you are running a waste exemption such as a T1 or S2, then whether planning permission is required should be checked with your LPA. If you are planning on running a fairly large waste operation such as a composting site, or an inert landfill then it is likely you will require planning permission to match your environmental permit.

A good thing to look out for when choosing a site for a waste operation is the general business uses such as B1, B2, B8 etc. By checking with the Environment Agency it is possible that planning permission will not be needed.

What Planning Use Type do I need for an Industrial Process Activity?

A good thing to look out for when choosing a site for a industrial process activity is the general business uses such as B1, B2, B8 etc. By checking with the Environment Agency it is possible that planning permission will not be needed.

For example a business remanufacturing plastics items from recycled plastic pellets may well not need planning permission if one of the above established uses is in place.

Do I have to wait for planning permission before starting an Environmental Permit Application with the EA?

No. But you would be wise to make background checks before you proceed. Permit applications and planning applications can be run in tandem, to save time. Of course this increases financial risks.

Retrospective Planning Applications  

 

Retrospective planning permission is when you apply for planning permission after you have completed the build / alterations. The chances of getting planning permission are jus the same as pre-emptive planning applications, but of course if planning is not granted then you will have to undo what you have done. Which could work out very expensive.

Case Study - Inert Waste Recovery Planning Application  

SWEL undertook a planning application for a large landscaping bund (a waste recovery operation), there were various supporting document required including visual impact assessment and transport assessments, design and access and flood risk.

A major sticking point for particular application was the volume of traffic generated by the proposed development. In conclusion SWEL were able to satisfactorily prove a 2.5% increase in HGV traffic on the local highway which was deemed as minor increase by the determining planning authority.

Building Regulations Application    

 A building regulation application will be necessary where you intend to build anything that is habitable either for offices or residential use for example.

A building regulations application relates to the quality of the building to be constructed there are various chapters to the building regulations, relating to structural, acoustics and energy efficiency.

Permitted Development Applications

 

Change of use from commercial to residential is now classed as permitted development . Although you need to apply for building regulation application.

What is a Design and Access Statement

A design and access (DAS) statement is a short report accompanying and supporting a planning application. They provide a framework for applicants to explain how a proposed development is a suitable response to the site and its setting, and demonstrate that it can be adequately accessed by prospective users.

Planning Application Consultants Bristol

Planning Applications Consultants London

Planning Applications Consultants Exeter

S.D. Content

Planning Consultants

Bristol - 01173 270 092

Exeter - 01398 331 258

London - 02076 920 670

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