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Is it possible to know if planning permission will be granted before a planning application is submitted?

Unfortunately it is not possible to predict an outcome of a planning application, but a professional planner can advise on the risks and opportunities, to increase your chances of success and understanding of the available development scenarios. This is where 4D Planning come into the picture. 4D Planning will not take on any project that has little or no chance of success, unless it is put in writing to the applicant/client, and the client wishes to proceed regardless.

There is no honest planning professional who can guarantee a successful outcome. Every planning officer in the planning department has his/her understanding of the planning regulations, policies and guidelines, and will interpret these differently than their colleagues. This fact is not always consistent with the way planning consultants work, and it is sometimes difficult to predict the outcome of an application.

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The local council is aware of these issues, and has introduced a new facility for communication, which enables developers and members of the public to seek planning advice from the local planning department. It is usually free of charge for minor applications, such as extensions. Larger developments, such as change of usages, and conversions are subject to a fee. This consultation is called “Pre Application Advice” meeting. 4D Planning's consultants have much experience dealing directly with the local council, liaising on planning issues, and negotiating financial agreements and contributions on behalf of our clients. There are occasions that we will find necessary to consult with the local council directly, and we will advise our client to attend a pre application advice meeting to establish the best route to pursue, and/ or the most likely proposal with the highest chance of success.

There is however a challenge - If you pay the council for a Pre Application Advice service, any advice that they offer you is not legally binding, and they do not need to consider this while assessing the application. Therefore you may be told that if you do something specific you will have a better chance to get planning permission, and eventually they will ignore their initial advice and refuse the application. It is frustrating and unfair, but this is the nature of the planning system in the UK.

4D Planning have much experience dealing with different types of applications, and depending on the nature of each project, would conduct a feasibility study or site appraisal to establish the pros and cons of each development. The result of this study would clarify the chances an application would have to be granted planning consent. The study would usually include an appraisal of the relevant planning policies, constraints, history and other material considerations. This is an alternative to the council's service, and is much quicker and transparent.

We currently offer three types of pre application services

  • Site visit - 1 hour consultation at the property with a chartered planner - fixed fee.
  • Desktop study - feasibility report - hourly rate.
  • Initial phone consultation and desktop research - free of charge.

The planning system is constantly being updated and revised by policy makers. This process is dynamic and ongoing. 4D Planning Consultants are constantly tracking and studying these changes through regular CPD events, lectures, in-house training and desktop research.

An example of the uncertainty - an application to build a front facing dormer would not automatically be granted planning permission, even though all the neighbours on the street have built one a few years earlier. Changes to the planning system occur on a regular basis, and do not hold back or wait for anyone. As a result, it is a lot more difficult to predict the outcome of an application. 4D Planning Consultants would be able to advise you regarding the chances of success, and/or the likelihood to be refused.

Permitted Development rights are constantly being reviewed by politicians and these are often discussed on the news. 4D Planning are aware of the latest discussions and what is actually adopted and implemented as policy.

4D Planning specialise in identifying development potential and can advise on the best development prospect that will have the best chances possible to obtain planning permission. Remember that once planning permission is granted for additional units or for increasing the internal floor space of the property, the value of the property is increased instantly which is a huge incentive to developers and home owners wishing to sell.

4D Planning are here to help

If 4D Planning Consultants believe your application is likely to be refused - and there is no way to change the scheme to obtain a more favourable outcome - we will either advise to change the proposed development, or to avoid submitting an application which is doomed to fail. 4D Planning abides by the Code of Conduct of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and therefore will be honest and professional throughout the process. You may be interested to see some of our testimonials to back up this statement: Click here.

If you would like to discuss our fees to assist you with this determining the feasibility of your proposed development or general assistance with any other planning matter, please send us an email with your contact details and full property address including some photographs, plans, sketches or anything else that can help us assess the feasibility of your proposal. Alternatively you can call us: 0203 1500 183 for a FREE no obligation initial consultation.

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