Whether you are a private residential or commercial client, our services can take your project from brief to planning approval.

Planning or Permitted Development

Sometimes planning is not required because the project falls under permitted development. Read more about permitted development on the Planning Portal.

If you are not sure if your project will need planning, contact us so that we can review what you want to do against the permitted development guidelines. If you wold like a project under permitted development, we can design it so that it does not exceed permitted development.

Prior Approval

Prior Approval allows you to expand the area of your permitted development by asking the planner and your neighbours if they agree to it.

Certificate of Lawful Development

If your project is on the threshold of planning and you would like assurance that it does indeed fall within permitted development, we can apply for a certificate of lawful development.

Brief to Planning – Step by Step

Example – Residential Alteration for a Private Client

Once you have developed a brief you can appoint us to develop your design. A survey is needed so we have a starting point to design from. On UK-wide domestic projects you can provide the survey and we can draw it up for you. On more local smaller projects we can survey the building and draw it up. On larger or commercial projects it will be necessary to have a survey conducted by a professional measured survey company, who will provide us with Autocad drawings.

Once we have the survey in CAD we can develop Existing Drawings for the planning application.

The Proposed Drawings come from your brief. We will use the Existing Drawings as a starting point and alter these to draw the proposal. This will be done in Autocad.

As architects it is important for us to work in a structured way and adhere to the RIBA Plan Of Work.

We send you the drawings to check everything is exactly how you want it. Once you are happy with the design, we will apply for Planning via the Panning portal.


Once the application form has been completed, the documents uploaded and the fee paid, the application is sent from the UK Planning Portal to the local council office. There, it is checked for errors or omissions before being validated and assigned to a Planning Officer. We will receive emails stating it has been received and checked. The Planning Application is given a Reference Number and this will be sent to us with the Planner’s name and contact details.

Planning Officer

Once the project is with a Planning Officer it will become public via:

• Upload to the Planning Portal Public Access website
• Advertisements in local newspapers
• Letters to neighbours

The planner will assess various factors known as material considerations. Some of these are listed below:

• Overlooking/loss of privacy
• Loss of light or overshadowing
• Parking
• Highway safety
• Traffic
• Noise
• Effect on listed building and conservation area
• Layout and density of building
• Design, appearance and materials
• Government policy
• Disabled persons’ access
• Proposals in the Development Plan
• Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
• Nature conservation

Residents are given 21 days to submit letters of objection or support, which are displayed on the Planning Portal and contribute towards the Planner’s decision.

Timescales for Planning

• 8 weeks for most applications
• 13 weeks for larger, more complex applications
• 16 weeks for complex projects requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment

Planning Decision Notice

This notice informs of approval or refusal. Approvals come with conditions attached, which need to be discharged (see below).

Discharging Planning Conditions

We keep track of the planning conditions using a Planning tracker with a red / amber / green system. Some do not require any further work and are just there as statements of requirement in the finished project. Others require further information to be sent to the planner and formally discharged. This is done through application, for which there is a charge.


Refused planning applications can be appealed by client letter. There is no charge for this. You have 6 months to appeal against a planning decision.

Planning Panel

Controversial or large projects which are difficult for the planners to determine go to Panel. Planning panel events allow applicants, supporters and objectors to speak at the planning office or remotely. These views allow the planner to reach further decisions about the project.


Pre-App – if you would like to engage with a planner about your proposal, before or while developing your design, you can apply for pre-application advice through a pre-app. This normally for commercial projects. Our Feasibility Booklets can easily be turned into Pre-Apps.

Consultants’ Documents and Reports

For projects larger than home alterations, reports are required covering a wide variety of factors. Some examples:
• Design & Access Statement
• Tree Surveys / Arboricultural Assessments
• Bat Surveys
• Phase 1 and 2 Desktop studies
• Heritage Report

Planning Consultants

The role of a Planning Consultant is a Client Adviser who calculates the gradual impacts of compromises and discusses these with Client and Planner to develop a pathway to approval.

For complex or controversial projects this level of expertise can save time and money. The Planning Consultant has detailed knowledge of the Planning system. In comparison, architects generally work for the Client to provide the drawings for the planning applications, and are not as attuned to planning politics.

If there is a Planning Consultant on the project, they will send and receive the planning communication and will instruct the architect and wider team to provide planning packages.

If there is no Planning Consultant, the architect sends and receives planning information, but rarely has as strong a negotiating power compared to a planning consultant.

Enquire about Planning Drawings

If you are looking to progress a project towards and through planning, we will be happy to help.

Call the office on 0113 318 3078 or 07772 750 855, email or send a message via the contact page.