Planning Consultant in Horwich
Get in touch for help and advice on planning applications in Horwich. I have 30 years' experience of working professionally within the planning system and I have lived in Horwich for nearly 50 years, so I know it well.
If you are thinking of applying for planning permission in Horwich or in the process of applying, or you wish to object to an application, I may be able to help. Planning Consultancy services I provide »
A Planning Consultant is a professional advisor offering services and advice on planning applications. It could be advice on preparing a planning application for submitting to the Local Planning Authority or advice on submitting comments about a proposal, to object or support it. Advice from a Planning Consultant can include help with planning appeals against refusals by the Local Planning Authority – making written submissions against an appeal (dismiss it) or supporting it. Either way, a Planning Consultant can help.
Bolton Council, as the Local Planning Authority, is responsible for deciding on planning applications throughout the Metropolitan Borough of Bolton, including Horwich. Council planning officers do not normally give pre-application planning advice unless a proposed development might be of strategic importance and most are not. The Council's validation checklist for full planning applications strongly advises professional planning advice.
Planning Consultancy services I can provide:
- Making sure your building proposals have the best possible chance of receiving planning permission from the Local Planning Authority.
- Advice on outline applications vs householder applications vs full planning applications and making an application via the Planning Portal.
- Reserved Matters and applications for removal or variation of planning conditions.
- Producing the required Design & Access Statement (often mandatory) in the right format.
- Advice on Permitted Development and Lawful Development Certificates.
- Right to light issues at your property and responding to planning applications by neighbours.
- Objecting to a planning application or making written representations for a planning appeal.
- Advice on planning applications in Conservation Areas and Green Belt.
- Tree surveys and arboricultural impact assessments by a qualified arboricultural consultant.
- Consultations with Statutory Consultees (if required), eg: Environment Agency, Highways Authority, Neighbourhood Forums.
- General advocacy with arguments for or against a planning application based on national planning policies and local Development Plan policies taking into account 'material considerations'.
- Advice on additional services (by others) required to comply with the Council's validation checklist for full planning applications.
- And more ...
I don't do design drawings*. I don't lobby local Councillors or the Elected Members of the Planning Committee. I don't divulge any information whatsoever to any party except the Local Planning Authority and I never speak to the press. All advice is in confidence.
What I will do is provide the best help and advice I can, based on 30 years' experience of designing buildings within the UK's planning system. I worked as a Chartered Architect and Corporate Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). I was personally involved in the design of many buildings in Bolton, including Bolton Arena in Horwich. As a managing architect I was also responsible for a considerable number of civic and other public buildings around the whole of the Metropolitan Borough. I know my way around the planning system pretty well. That is the basis on which I can help and advise as a Planning Consultant.
I do charge a fee. According to Checkatrade, a Planning Consultant will normally charge between £130 and £300 per hour. Some might charge more, some a bit less. My hourly rate is much lower, but overall, the fee depends on the time involved. If you would like my best help and advice on a planning matter, contact me initially via my contact page. An exploratory chat is free.
Objections to planning applications
Every person has a right to object to any planning application anywhere. Objections are made in writing to the Local Planning Authority (Bolton Council) and they must be taken into account in reaching a decision. The Council's planning officers normally do this and list the reasons in an Officers Report to the Planning Committee. Public objections are not published on the Council's website. An applicant can ask to see them but that is no reason not to object if you have genuine reasons to do so. It is your democratic right just as the applicant has the right to make the application.
The number of public objections may be taken into account by the Planning Committee as part of the local democratic process. The number of objections itself however is not a 'material consideration' and not a reason to refuse a planning application in law. What matters are the reasons for an objection and the extent to which planning officers see them as material considerations.
Objections can make a difference but planning officers only take material considerations into account, so it's important to address those when making an objection. That means quoting the relevant policies that bear on an application and the ways in which it does not conform. Planning policies sometimes require a degree of subjective judgment and planning officers are not always right. So if you object to something, make the case.
The number of objections could also make the difference between an application being decided by planning officers and it being put for decision to Bolton Council's Planning Committee.
I can help you to object effectively if you feel strongly about a planning application, either because it affects your property directly (and its market value*) or because you believe it would spoil the town. The advice I give could help make a more effective objection rather than one that simply makes up the numbers.
Why Horwich? I have lived here for nearly 50 years. I like the town and its surroundings very much and have family connections with Horwich going back more than 100 years. I have always believed in good architecture and well-designed buildings set in a pleasant natural environment for everyone. I want that for Horwich and the people of Horwich.
About the planning profession
There is no legal requirement for a Planning Consultant when submitting or commenting on a planning application. It may help to consult one however. The success of a planning application (or objections to one) may depend partly on the degree to which it conforms with published planning policies, in particular the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published by the government, and also what is known as the Development Plan published by the Local Planning Authority (LPA). In Bolton's case the 'Local Plan' includes the Development Plan, the Core Strategy, and Supplementary Planning Documents. All approved policy documents are important. They have legal status in Town Planning law and are taken into consideration by Local Planning Authorities in reaching decisions on whether to approve an application or not.
Horwich, of course, is part of the Borough of Bolton. The Local Planning Authority for Horwich is therefore Bolton Council through its Planning Committee. It is that committee that decides planning applications in Horwich, not Horwich Town Council. Horwich Town Council is a consultee of Bolton Council and does not make planning decisions itself.
The Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) is the UK's professional body for planning. The RTPI is the only planning institute to award charter status to its members but Planning is not a protected profession as such. There is no restriction on who is legally allowed to call themselves 'planning consultant' or provide services. Only a professionally qualified planner however can refer to themselves as a Chartered Town Planner. The RTPI is their professional body and expects Chartered Town Planners to comply with a professional code of conduct.
The Planning Officers employed by the local Council (the Local Planning Authority) can be expected to be qualified members of the RTPI. Planning Inspectors work for the national Planning Inspectorate, not for the LPA. They adjudicate planning appeals, and are also qualified and highly experienced with an in-depth knowledge of planning law, relevant policies and an extensive body of planning case law and High Court judgments.
In practice, most planning applications in Bolton (including Horwich) are decided not by the Planning Committee but by Council Planning Officers under Bolton Council's Scheme of Delegation. The Scheme gives powers to the 'Directorate of Place' to decide on all planning applications except those of some types listed by the Scheme, for example: applications for major development, the demolition of a listed building, applications that are contrary to the Local Plan and the officer recommendation is to approve (and a few more examples). The more objections there are to a planning application, the more likely it will be decided by the Planning Committee, not by officers.
*Although I no longer produce design drawings (since I retired as a practising architect) I can still advise on design and suggest ways a planning application is more likely to be approved. I can also produce the required location plan and site plan.
*The potential effect of a planning approval on the market value of other properties affected by it is not a material consideration in planning.