The Importance of Thinking Ahead........

Rob Crolla

Having worked in the planning profession for many years I am constantly amazed at the lack of understanding and appreciation of the importance of the plan making process to project success. Let me explain.

Often development proposals are very short-sighted and opportunistic. As land becomes available through disposal and acquisition developers and clients automatically try and secure planning permission through the “normal” planning process route. Design a scheme; instruct third party consultants; apply……and get a refusal.

So why do applications get refused? Because they do not comply with the policies in the development plan for the area. So how do you maximise your chances of success? You influence the policy context through the development plan process itself.

Sheffield City Council has recently started drafting the latest version of its development plan. The process is at a very early stage and the process takes a long time, but it is important to take the long view in terms of influencing policy and securing site allocations in the plan. If successful and your site is allocated the prospect of securing planning permission is greatly increased as planning applications must be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Now is the perfect time to start thinking longer term about how to promote your site to Sheffield. The next phase of consultation is anticipated to be taking place in Summer 2021. Then is the optimum time to robustly critique the local planning authorities planning strategy for the area and the pattern of land use and development this will require.

However, any representations submitted in Summer 2021 must be robustly formed and evidence based. The development plan system effectively requires that the process of plan formulation be front loaded – all the justification for the allocation of a site must be provided as early as possible. If not, you will probably miss the boat.

So the key lessons are.........

  • Promote early;
  • Promote robustly with credible evidence; and
  • Commit to the long haul.

CODA Planning is already promoting sites within Sheffield for allocation in the emerging local plan. Get in touch if you feel we can assist you in promoting your site for development.

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Rob Crolla

Rob is Director of CODA Planning. He has a wealth of experience across a wide variety of land use sectors, and has worked in private and public sector roles, and on client-side and in consultancy roles over a 25 year planning career. Connect with Rob on LinkedIn >>

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