Town Planning

Our town planning team provices expert input across the entire planning process, from planning appraisals, planning applications, settling of reserved matters and discharging planning conditions through economic studies and negotiation of Section 106 agreements.

Most building work or transaction involving land or buildings is shaped by the planning process.

One of the first and most important stages of planning advice is the initial appraisal. Specialist advice is often needed to inform the application and early engagement can be critical to success. Above all, the partnership with our development consultancy and architectural colleagues can advise on the full development of a project from initial concept design and planning overview, through to a full planning submission and negotiation of legal agreements to discharge of planning conditions ready to start on site.

Our advice is based on an intimate understanding of current planning legislation and policy, combined with a comprehensive development and multi-disciplinary building design and engineering consultancy ensures that a complete service is available for our clients from the start of any project.

Our town planning team specialises in the following services:

  • Appeals
  • EIA
  • Enforcement Notices and Appeals
  • Evidence base studies/reports
  • Lawful Development Certificates
  • Listed buildings, conservation areas and heritage advice
  • Local and neighbourhood plan promotions
  • Office to residential development
  • Planning and development appraisals
  • Planning applications
  • S106 negotiations
  • Site appraisal
  • Strategic planning advice
  • Urban regeneration


The Planning Process

Any transaction involving land or buildings is shaped by planning. Expert guidance can make all the difference in establishing the best achievable permissions. A site’s value and viability can depend on it.

Together, our planning experts advise and guide clients through the various, and often complex, aspects of the planning process. These include:

  • Applications and appeals
  • Heritage appraisals and strategy
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Sustainability and environment
  • Planning policy

When considering using land or a building for a different purpose, change of use planning is essential.

Often land and buildings fall into different planning use classes and dependent on which one applies, a change of use might occur without the need for planning permission.

Different use classes are set out within the Use Classes Order 1987, which has been subject to several revisions since, and outline which class a particular building use falls within and which other uses are possible within that use. For example, a shop may change to a cafe without planning permission, but a change of use planning application is required for say a shop that changes to a hot food takeaway. If you are uncertain whether a building’s existing use is lawful, or that what you are planning is lawful under permitted development rights, you can apply to the local authority for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ (LDC).

If external alterations are required, it may be that a full planning permission may be required from the Local Authority. Additionally, various uses are able to move to other use classes under Prior Approval and Permitted Development.

Prior Approval means that approval has been sought from the local authority in terms of issues such as highway impact, flood risk, contamination risks, the design or external appearance of the building, noise and whether the location of the building is impractical or undesirable and allow, for example residential extensions up to 6m (8m for a detached property).

Permitted Development Rights allow some buildings to be extended or changed without planning permission. Most notably, Office to Residential conversion without the need for a full planning application process thereby saving considerable time and money.

Historic England states that, in general terms, Listed building consent is required for all works of demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

The requirement applies to all types of works and to all parts of those buildings covered by the listing protection (possibly including attached and curtilage buildings or other structures), provided the works affect the character of the building as a building of special interest and it is a criminal offence not to seek consent when it is required.

We will work with the council’s conservation officer to ascertain what consent is needed and also to get an outline of what sort of work might be acceptable and how, if necessary, we can adapt your original ideas to make the chances of success higher. This will save you both time and expense further down the line.

However, we also assess this advice from the conservation officers and help to advise clients where we believe it to be incorrect, such that a heritage projects proposal might be shown to be acceptable.

Successful master planning delivers clear recognisable proposals which capture and enhance the particular characteristics of place and will respond to social and physical context in which it is based.

Frankham recognises that the local community forms an integral part of master planning and we have extensive experience in working with communities. Some of this experience has been gained from our long association with local authorities and housing associations where we have helped improve the visual and sustainable development aspects of the local community.

A Heritage Statement is an assessment of the significance of heritage assets and/or their settings affected by a development, and of the impacts of that development upon them.

Apart from the need to comply with the NPPF, the Heritage Statement is an important practical tool to guide an applicant in developing their proposals. As good practice, it should therefore be one of the first things that an applicant considers when beginning to formulate their development proposals of a designated or non-designated heritage asset.

Heritage Statements do not achieve their full purpose or value if they are prepared only between finalising plans and submitting them to a local planning authority, and their early inclusion can have the benefit of not only reducing the planning risk but also identifying opportunity to add value and remove cost.