Pre-application Advice

The planning system is experiencing a period of significant change. For those unfamiliar with current practices and procedures, navigating the planning system can be daunting. We aim to work closely with our clients to guide them through the planning system and to promote their development aspirations.

Our knowledge and experience allows us to provide comprehensive and cost effective advice on:

  • whether your project actually requires planning permission;
  • the likelihood of obtaining planning permission;
  • the policies that will be taken into consideration by the Local Planning Authority when determining your planning application, and/or;
  • how your proposals can be best presented to maximise the likelihood of success.

If you have a particular project you would like to discuss or require the services of a planning consultant, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Planning Applications

The planning system is complex. It is more important than ever to engage a professional who can guide schemes through the system as speedily and efficiently as possible. With our knowledge of the planning system we can provide effective solutions to planning problems and maximise the chances of success. We strive to prepare dynamic and persuasive planning applications for every project, whatever the scale. We can also assist you with the submission of Listed Building and Conservation Area Consent applications.

For more complex planning applications we can assist in instructing other development professionals to help form the multi- disciplinary team you need to deliver your proposal.

The need for pre-application discussions is often essential if your proposals are to be successful.  A growing number of Local Planning Authorities now charge for this service and it is important to enter these discussions with a clear agenda and understanding of the planning policy that will guide the authority's decision.  We can assist in the preparation and presentation of your proposal, which will ultimately lead to better outcomes, thereby saving you time and money.

If you are thinking about making a planning application and require assistance please do not hesitate to contact us.

Planning Appeals

Has your planning application been refused? If so, we can provide advice and guidance on the prospect of appealing against the decision or revising your proposals to ensure a greater chance of success.

An applicant has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if -

  • No decision has been reached on the planning application within the statutory period
  • The planning application is refused
  • The applicant does not agree with one or more of the conditions on a planning approval

There are time limits within which you can make an appeal therefore it is better to act sooner rather than later if you wish to challenge the Local Planning Authority’s decision.

The cost of undertaking an appeal depends on the complexity of the case, the number of reasons for refusal and the choice of procedure.  We will carry out a site visit, assess the proposal, examine the reason(s) for refusal, advise on the most appropriate form of appeal and present your case to the Planning Inspector in a clear and concise manner.  We will keep you regularly updated throughout the appeal process and will also give you a clear time scale for an appeal decision.

It is also possible to make an application for costs during the appeal process where a Local Planning Authority has acted unreasonably. The ultimate decision rests with the appointed Inspector, however we can prepare such costs applications on your behalf.


If a Local Planning Authority believes that a breach of planning control has occurred, planning enforcement action may be considered. Such breaches could include a development that does not have planning permission, a premises operating under a different use class to that which it has permission for, or a breach of a condition that was attached to a planning permission. Spectrum Planning frequently represent clients facing enforcement action and we have extensive experience of resolving such matters.

There are a number of options open to you but it is important that you move quickly. Possible options include:

  • Negotiation with the enforcement officer;
  • Submission of a retrospective application;
  • Submission of a Certificate of Lawfulness application;
  • An enforcement appeal.

We can help you choose the appropriate route and support you through the process.

Certificate of Lawfulness

A certificate of lawfulness or lawful development certificate provides clarification from a Local Planning Authority whether a use or development of property or land is, or would be considered lawful. There are two types of certificates of lawfulness, a certificate of lawfulness for existing use or development, and a certificate of lawfulness for proposed use or development.

A certificate of lawfulness for existing use or development allows a person to ascertain whether a use or development is lawful. This form of certificate are issued when the Local Planning Authority considers that either the development did not require planning permission or sufficient time has passed to prevent any planning enforcement action being taken.

A certificate of lawfulness for proposed use or development can be applied for when a person wishes to ascertain whether any proposed development would be lawful, either because the proposal doesn’t require a planning application to be submitted and benefits from Permitted Development rights or because it is covered by an existing planning permission.

Spectrum Planning can advise on whether a proposal or existing development is likely to be lawful and then prepare and submit the relevant certificate of lawfulness on your behalf.

Professional Representation

Do you wish to make representations against a current planning application or appeal? If so Spectrum Planning can act on your behalf to present your views to the Local Planning Authority.

Most people have no involvement in the planning process until they receive a consultation letter from their local Council inviting comments upon a particular development proposal. There are many pitfalls, which can weaken or nullify your comments. We can ensure your representations are clear, concise and related to the proposed development.

We can prepare and submit professional representations on behalf of private individuals, local resident groups, businesses and development professionals.

Site Appraisals

If you own land or are thinking of acquiring some we provide a site appraisal service that identifies potential planning pitfalls and helps to eliminate doubt and avoid very costly and time-consuming mistakes.

A site appraisal provides the first step to successful development of a site. We will review the relevant policy framework for the area, any planning history as well as the features of the site in order to provide a detailed assessment of the opportunities that a site may offer for development and, of course, significant constraints. We will also tell you what you can build and the likelihood of gaining planning permission. This service allows landowners to fully understand the issues relating to their land at the earliest stage and understand how best to secure planning permission.

Design and Access Statements

Are you an architect, developer or householder? Do you require a Design and Access Statement to accompany your planning application? If so, we can assist by producing high quality and professional Design and Access Statements to suit every type of planning application.

A Design and Access Statement is a document used to explain and illustrate the principles and concept behind the design and layout of your proposed development and is required for a number of planning applications. The preparation of the document should not be just a tick box exercise to satisfy a Local Planning Authority’s validation requirements but a tool in which to support your application.

Our Design and Access Statements help ensure that the main issues influencing your development's design are explained in a clear, structured and visual way.  Our Design and Access Statements start from £250 depending on the complexity of the proposed scheme and the level of information required to support your planning application.

Advertisement Consent

Advertisement consent is required to display many types of adverts, signs, shop fascia signs and projecting shop signs.

Spectrum Planning can advise on whether your plans will require advertisement consent, the likelihood of being granted consent, and prepare and submit an application and supporting documents to the Local Planning Authority where necessary.

There are complex regulations in regards to advertisements and shop signs.  We have experience working with these regulations, submitting applications for advertisement consent and dealing with appeals against the refusal of advertisement consent.

Section 106 Agreements and Community Infrastructure Levy

Local Planning Authorities are increasingly seeking financial and other contributions to help mitigate against the impact a development can have. Such contributions are tied to the favourable determination of a planning application and are secured by way of a legal agreement, which is often prepared in parallel with the consideration of the planning application.

Whilst most Local Authorities continue to negotiate contributions on a site by site basis, it is becoming increasingly common for Local Authorities to adopt what is known as a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL). A CIL continues to secure a financial contribution but does so by way of a fixed tariff (usually based upon the amount of floor space). We can advise you on the likely levels of contribution to be sought so that you have certainty from the outset as to any obligations required and how this may affect the viability of your development.

Legal agreements can also be used as a means of securing or controlling other matters, which cannot be easily dealt with via a planning condition. We have considerable experience in negotiating legal agreements to ensure our client’s interests are protected at all times.