Planning applications have become more and more onerous over the years as government and local authorities have increased their information requirements before they will validate an application.

Alongside the drawings the following are often required when submitting an application :

Design and Access Statement

These are required for all full planning applications, Listed Building Consent applications, and also for all house holder submissions where the property is within a “ designated area” (ie, a national park or other similarly protected areas). Design and Access Statements give a resumé of the project, how and why a particular design has been arrived at; the context of the design; access to the property including parking arrangements;  and the relevant planning policy constraints.

Heritage Impact Statement

This is required with every Listed Building Consent application and also where a project falls within a site  of national heritage importance such as the Tamar Valley World Mining Heritage site. The Heritage Impact Statement should describe the history of the building and its development over time. An assessment of the historical importance of the building should be included together with an evaluation of the impact that the proposed work will have on the building.  A justification of the need for the proposed works should also form part of the statement, as should a description of any mitigation measures proposed. Occasionally a specialist consultant is required to write the statement, but the information required should be proportional to the  historic importance of the building or site.

Preliminary Ecological Impact Assessment

A Preliminary Ecological Assessment is a survey carried out by a specialist consultant to determine whether any protected species such as bats will be harmed by a proposed building project. Local authorities require them as follows:

  • if a roof is affected by the proposals
  • if slate hanging or vertical boarding is affected by the proposals
  • where a roof is demolished
  • where building works are proposed on land greater than 0.1ha
  • where a hedgerow is demolished

Often a preliminary survey is carried out and evidence of bats is found. When this happens an emergency survey will need to be undertaken whereby the consultant returns to the property either in the evening or at dawn to count the number and type of bats seen entering and leaving a particular space. If the space is found to be a roost then a bat license will be required from Natural England. Most surveys require mitigating action to be taken, such as the provision of bat boxes or slates.

Drainage Assessment

This is required when planning application involves non-main drainage solutions. The information can be as simple as a written statement that describes the proposed method of drainage but in some cases, particularly where the building is located in a Flood Zone or Critical Drainage Area, a more detailed assessment is necessary. This can include percolation test results and even engineered soakaway schemes.

Structural Survey

When a proposal is but forward to convert a redundant building the onus is put upon the applicant to prove that the structure of the building is sufficiently stable to enable the conversion. The survey will need to be carried out by a qualified structural engineer.

Tree Survey

A tree survey is required where a project may damage existing trees on a site. The survey must be carried out by a qualified arborist. Where trees are protected by Tree Preservation Orders, it must be demonstrated that the roots and branches of the trees will not be harmed by the proposals.

The above is not an exhaustive list but represent the information we are most often asked for by the planning authority. A full list can be found on the relevant Authority’s website under the heading “Local Validation List”