Why hire a planning consultant?
Do I need a planning consultant? Let’s be honest here and say you don’t! Okay, onto the next article!
Whoa! Hold up – is it that simple? Of course not! So why look to engage a planning consultant? Read on……
Okay, so my opening statement might not be exactly what I want you to do, But it what most people think.
You have a few options open to you when you are looking to submit planning:
- Do it yourself. Forms are available online to fill in. You will get lots of great information on this very site at Planning Geek
- Hire an architect – after all (s)he will probably need to create some drawings for you, so why not get them to just whack it in?
- Hire a planning consultant to undertake the work for you
If I told you then every single week, without fail, we get emails and messages from people who have gone down the first two options and either got stuck, got a refusal (often from a badly submitted application) or even worse have enforcement knocking at their door, would you be surprised? I can assure that we do. Added to that the number of people who now need help via our Facebook group or forums, you will soon realise that a lot of people went for what they considered to the cheaper route but failed. Often at great expense, whether that is emotionally or in hard cash.
But is it actually cheaper to not use a planning consultant? Maybe not! There is now no ‘free go’ with planning fees, so do you want to have to pay twice to the local authority plus twice to the portal for processing your payment? That can be hundreds.
Or do you want to pay again for that report when you realise that the report was out of date as the ‘shelf life’ wasn’t as long as you thought?
If I then told you that Ian often gets architects paying him for his time to advise upon what they should be doing via Zoom, you soon start to realise that actually the cost of a good planning consultant isn’t actually that expensive.
But what does a planning consultant do?
Their role is wide and varied. But the following bullet points ought to give you an idea of what they can do for you
- Assess the site to establish the viability. This can also be done via a Zoom session. The cost of which is credited against planning application fees.
- Undertake a pre-app, if required
- Checks local and national policy and how these might affect the application
- Advise upon reports and drawings required by the local authority
- Write a design & access statement
- Ensure that the application meets the validation checklist
- Ensures that the application reflects the scheme in the best possible light
- Engages with other members of the team including architects, other consultants etc.
- Ensures that the drawings are correct
- Submits the planning application
- Follows up with the planning officer
- Organises any other reports or surveys that might be required
- Responds to questions during the process
- Liaises with the planning officer on any proposed conditions
- Relays the decision notice to the applicant
- Discusses next steps if required
As you can see from the long list above, the steps that a planning consultant might do are wide and varied. There may be other steps depending upon the scale of the application.
Our team are experienced in developments from householder applications, to airspace, to commercial conversions, to new build estates, to commercial projects, to blocks of flats, to multi-million luxury developments.
Do you need an RTPI consultant?
Simple answer is no. Of course any chartered town planner would say that you do, I wouldn’t expect otherwise. But it isn’t essential. We have both chartered consultants and those who have had far more years in real planning expertise who are not.
I can assure you that those who are not, are just as capable. If I also told you that Chartered Town Planners also seek advise, would it be so important for you? Nobody knows everything.
We all gain knowledge by education. Whether that be from studies or from real life experiences later in life.
At Planning Geek we operate as a team. If one member is unsure about something they simply seek advice from a colleague who has experienced something similar. Maybe that the colleague is aware of case law that can help the client. Or maybe it is the knowledge of the correct external consultant or expert to help get the application across the line. Teamwork is there for every client. It operates silently in the background and is often far more important than some letters after the name. But if you want the letters, they are there if required. We just do not broadcast it.
Ian Walmsley, the founder of Planning Geek has dealt with at least one new client every single day in the last 12 months. Yes he belongs to the RTPI, but doesn’t tend to broadcast the fact. His knowledge and experience is growing daily and it is experience like that, that is part of the team who will support all clients.
So how much does it cost? Whilst every application is different, a lot will come in between £1,000 and £4,000 – some are higher, some are less. But it really depends upon what is required. Which is why we offer a free fee proposal with zero obligation.
Instead of looking at the cost of a planning consultant, look at how much will it cost to not engage one. With planning fees at an all time high, do you really want to pay that out again?
Do you really want the sleepless nights? Do you really want to be searching for companies to do reports for you, only to find that they might charge you more as an individual than they do to us?
At the end of the day, only you can decide as to whether a planning consultant offers value for money. We think it does. But we would, wouldn’t we?
You must decide upon whether you can afford to save a few pounds or not? Or whether it will be cheaper in the long run to engage a professional.
We want you to be celebrating that successful application – let us assist you in achieving that – we might even buy the bubbly for you!
Contact us today for help. We are here to support you!
Planning Consultant – Page Updated: 21st January 2024