I have recently gone down the route of obtaining pre-planning advice on a plot of land for sale. It is not a straight forward plot (are they ever?!). It is a partly wooded sloping site on the edge of the village development boundary. A house already exists on the land and there are no special restrictions with regards to the wood itself. The pre-planning advice came back with some negative objections based on wildlife. I had to wait 7 weeks for this to come through and that was with me ringing every week after 4 weeks to try and find out what was going on. I feel the plot deserves more research and don’t want to give up on it yet but am unsure how to go about getting round these objections because I don’t know enough about planning legislation and all the angles you can use to negotiate. Is it beneficial to work with a planning consultant or specialist solicitor to get the ball rolling and effectively get them to mange the planning permission process. I’m only a nipper relatively speaking and haven’t even bought a house before so dealing with solicitors/professionals is quite daunting. Thanks in advance!

  • Samuel Joy

    Hi Claire,

    It might be worth having a read of our recent Planning Consultants Guide if you haven’t already. The link is http://www.homebuilding.co.uk/advice/project-tips/planning-permission/consultants

    Kind regards,
    Samuel Joy

  • claire windsor

    Thank you so much for this article. I feel slightly embarrassed that I managed to miss this on your website but that is far outweighed by how brilliantly helpful it is for me 🙂 I feel I understand so much more now and can’t wait to get going. Thank you Samuel.

  • Samuel Joy

    No worries Claire. Really glad that the article’s helped and increased your understanding.

    All the best with your project. Good luck!

  • Rebecca Clutton

    Hi Claire. From personal experience, I would not go down the planning route without an expert. We had a false start with a planning consultant last year – he turned out to be, let’s say, not brilliant(!) but we have now been very lucky to find another consultant who knows exactly what he’s doing, and does it with a smile!

    I have a legal and financial career background and consider myself to be well organised, with the ability to know where to look for information. However, appointing an agent on our behalf to deal with this particular minefield (believe me, it is!), has been invaluable. I’m all for saving costs but without him, I’m sure we wouldn’t have got as far as we have.

    Good luck with everything, Becky

    P.S. If you live in the Shropshire/Cheshire area, let me know and I can give you the details of our consultant!

  • Jeremy Murfitt


    I endorse Becky’s comments and would add that a planning consultant is more suited than a planning solicitor. The Planning Consultants Guide is a good start. You refer to wildlife and clearly you need to understand more. Their primary concern will be to ensure that any protected species (and their habitat) is protected and if your scheme affects a designated site e.g. Site of Special Scientific Interest. They will also take into account what habitat you may have to remove to undertake your project. I would try and get to meet the Authorities ecology/conservation officer. With some thought you may be able to retain the key habitat and maybe enhance it. You could for example provide nesting boxes/bat boxes, it can all help.

    A planning consultant should be able to help you progress this although accepting that you may also need to engage an ecologist. I would advocate that you keep notes and records of all meetings (and telephone) conversations with the case officer. Confirm any key points by email. I have assumed that you had to pay a fee for the pre-application advice. Many authorities seem to think this fee covers one meeting and the advice. I don’t believe this is always correct and I suggest you keep in dialogue with them and meet again when you have further information. I would also suggest that it may be worth while making an informal approach to the Parish Council to seek their views and possible also of any nearby neighbours.

    Good luck


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