Forewarned is forearmed – the costs and risks of planning applications

graph showing relationship between cost and risk in planning

At Plainview we have been fortunate enough to work on planning applications across England, ranging from householder projects to new build development and commercial sites. Whether it’s an application for outline or full permission, each project is unique, brings its own risk and needs to be dealt with on a case by case basis.

With that in mind, it is fair to say that planning can be an expensive and uncertain process, but it is important to understand that this cost and risk is graduated.

Managing planning risk and cost

For example, let’s assume that you own a site that has several technical constraints. In light of this you call in the professionals and receive quotes from an architect, planning consultant and technical background studies. It turns out that the cost to prepare and submit the application is going to be in the region of £75,000.


However, this cost will not be incurred on day 1. Planning is a very strategic process and the whole aim of professionals like ourselves is to ensure that we give your development scheme the best chance of planning success by assessing and responding to the risk profile at each stage of the planning process and ensuring we keep our clients informed every step of the way. 

From development concept to submission, an overview

Your first stage in the planning process will likely be to commission some initial reviews. These may only cost a few hundred pounds and should help you understand the development risks and how to mitigate them.

For example, the first piece of work we undertake on any application is a thorough review of the site context, planning history and local and national policy considerations.  This helps us to flag any potential pitfalls and positive aspects of the scheme with you early on and helps to inform our planning strategy to move the project forwards.

If you are happy with the initial site appraisal and the associated risks, then you may decide to have some draft sketches prepared and go to a pre-application meeting with the Council. As part of this process you will receive further advice, and the risks should start to narrow.

You may also take the project to a public consultation and receive (shock horror!) support from the Parish council. The risks reduce even further.

The big costs only really kick in when commissioning the detailed architectural plans and the technical studies for the submission of the application. However, you may feel more confident to do this if you have in your hand a positive feasibility study; a supportive pre-app report from council; and/or fledgling support from the local community.

How Plainview Planning can help

At Plainview we build our planning strategies to carefully manage project expenditure and risk profile. No planning application can be submitted with absolute certainty of the outcome, but our team are committed to presenting the best possible case for each planning application. A key part of our strategy is ensuring that we lay strong and informed foundations, through comprehensive site analysis, effective teamwork with third parties and early engagement with councils and key stakeholders.

If your development project needs professional planning consultancy input, then do drop us a line via or use our Landmark form, to see how we can best help and to obtain a comprehensive fee quote for our services.