Why do I need a planning consultant?

In my experience most people tend to employ a planning consultant when they have run into difficulties with an application for a rural dwelling; either a detailed request for further information from a Planning Authority or more common again, when they have been refused permission and need to appeal.  Whilst this is understandable I cannot emphasise enough the benefit of employing a planning consultant from the start of the planning application process.  In fact I would argue that a planning consultant is the very first person to approach, long before you get involved in design, trail hole tests etc. By approaching a planning consultant at the outset the potential applicant can establish whether it is worth proceeding with an application or not.

The modest expense that is involved in having a planning consultant review your likelihood of getting planning could very well save thousands on fees involved in the design stage if the conclusion is that permission is unlikely.  On the other hand if the consultant considers that you qualify in principle for a rural dwelling, he/she can prepare a report which will support the application.

A typical planning report will focus on the various policies within the Development Plan and endeavour to demonstrate to the Planning Authority how the applicant and their proposed development comply with each of the policies involved. Traditionally planning applications for rural dwellings simply included what was required under law i.e. location maps, drawings, site suitability report etc.  However, it is critical to understand that the assessment by local authority planners focus on the planning policies in the Development Plan.  It therefore makes sense to make a case to the Planning Authority to show how you comply with each of the policies.

Think of it like a court case, if nobody is representing your views to the Judge then you are seriously undermining your chances of being successful.  If you make a solid case then the Judge (Planning Authority) is going to give you a fair hearing and you are more likely to be successful.

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