Traditional contract: planning permission
Planning permission is a vitally important part of most projects, often making the difference between whether the project proceeds to design or not. Many clients will be unwilling to commit to paying fees for detailed design until they have received planning permission, and on particularly high risk projects the client may even wish to obtain outline planning permission before committing to any significant expenditure. As a consequence planning permission can be applied for at different stages of the project's development.
 Assessing the type of application.
The lead consultant co-ordinates advice from the consultant team on the likely need for an environmental impact assessment and advises the client. It is important that this is considered at a very early stage in the project as preparing an environmental impact assessment can take considerable time and may influence decisions such as site selection. The client may seek a screening decision and/or a scoping study from the local planning authority.
 Undertaking a consultation process.
The lead designer consults with the local planning authority (and other appropriate statutory and non-statutory authorities) to determine the preferred form of the application, dates of planning committee meetings, committee procedures, possible planning conditions and possible planning obligations (section 106 agreement), the community infrastructure levy and the requirement to undertake an external consultation process.
The client and lead designer consider the extent and nature of the external consultation process that will be undertaken and the client begins an external consultation process with assistance from the consultant team. The client considers the results of the consultation process and instructs further revisions to the design if required.
 Preparing a planning application.
The lead designer co-ordinates the preparation of a draft planning application and issues it to the client for consideration. The cost consultant advises the client about any abnormal costs arising from the draft planning application.
 Submitting a planning application.
The client (or lead designer) consults with the local planning authority on the progress of the application and likely planning conditions and planning obligations (section 106 agreement). If necessary, the client and lead designer respond to questions from the local planning authority and make representations to the planning committee.
On receipt of a decision (or recommendation in the planning officers report) the client considers the planning conditions and planning obligations (section 106 agreement) that have been (or are likely to be) imposed and, if necessary, instructs the lead consultant to revise the application.
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