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Planning wins, policy changes and a 10 year anniversary celebration – 2018 in review

Plainview Planning team group photo

What a year 2018 has been for the team at Plainview Planning! In the last 12 months we have worked on over 205 projects across 120 different authority areas, navigated the changes brought about by the revised NPPF, and enjoyed working on a wide variety of planning projects projects including 17 dwellings in Whitstable and a 56-bed hotel in Windsor;  and we also had cause to celebrate a milestone birthday with 10 years of Plainview Planning!

2018 was a year of change at The Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG)

We think it would be fair to say that 2018 has been the year of change.  In MHCLG terms January cracked off with Dominic Raab as the new Housing Minister, only to see him replaced by Kit Malthouse in July. Meanwhile James Brokenshire replaced Sajid Javid as SoS for Housing in April.

Planning application fee increases came into force with a 20% increase across the board, the revised NPPF was published in July and with it came promises of more consultations on PDR’s and a confirmed intent to publish a new housing delivery test and a standard methodology of calculating housing need.

As 2018 closes we are still waiting on the government’s new housing delivery test and can see an increasing focus on the importance of design and site context in decision making as the revised NPPF starts to take effect.

2018 – a year of celebration and reflection

Closer to home, we are delighted to announce that Plainview Planning celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2018. Starting off as a one-man band in the basement of our MD’s home a decade ago, we are now a thriving planning consultancy with a superb team across Cheltenham, Chelmsford, London and Horsham.

This is testament to the vision of our MD Ian Woodward-Court, who set Plainview Planning up with the simple message that he wanted to provide clear, effective and intelligent planning guidance to clients.  Our team continue to deliver on that message and our ongoing expansion, despite the current turbulent climate, is thanks to the personable, knowledgeable and quality service our dynamic team provide.

We celebrated our 10-year anniversary with a weekend away for the whole team and their families at Center Parcs. In the midst of all the zip-lining, cycling and feasting we had time to reflect on the past decade and think about how far the company has come and the changes we have seen in the planning profession along the way. We of course wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of our clients, who have given us the opportunity to work on such a vast array of interesting and eclectic schemes.

Top 20 project highlights from 2008 – 2018:

The video below captures just 20 of our project highlights from the past decade. It was a tough job trying to whittle it down to 20, from large residential schemes, to a student village, from inspiring self-build projects, to live/work rural developments, from urban housing projects, planning appeal wins, rural tourism sites, sport facilities and change of use applications– the past decade has been so interesting and rewarding and we are excited to see where the next decade takes us:

2018 and beyond – policy shifts and PlanTech

Whilst we wait for the outcomes of national planning consultations on the future of the high-street, a new housing delivery test and the government response to the Letwin report, on the ground we see an increasing shift towards the use of technology in Planning. Council’s have been responding in various ways, with Milton Keynes becoming the first council to use Artificial Intelligence to validate planning applications. Meanwhile the London Borough of Southwark will soon be requiring applicants to submit a 3D digital model on VU.CITY as part of their application.

At Plainview we have long been aware of the importance in harnessing technology to increase efficiencies in planning. We now have a dedicated GIS team in-house and we use mapping technologies to help our clients visualise the positives and pitfalls of their respective sites and flag development potential early on.  We have also finalised a database of all planning appeal decisions in England which updates in real time and can use free-text search, this has already been of huge benefit to our client projects.

Updates from the Plainview Hub

2017 saw 3 new members join our Plainview team, and 2018 has been no different.  We were delighted to welcome Alex, Conor and Emily to our Cheltenham office this year.

It is great to have them onboard and they are already adding value to many of our projects and we look forward to supporting them in their professional goals in the months and years ahead!

From all the team at Plainview Planning, we wish you a happy, healthy and exciting new year. To all our clients and contractors, THANK YOU! It has been a real pleasure working with you and we look forward to seeing what 2019 will bring!

A word from our clients:

No one could say it better – our clients are what makes this job so rewarding and so it feels only right to let them have the last word:

The project was brought to fruition on time, under budget, and in a most efficacious manner. Communication was first class. Helpful, friendly and supportive at all times, Alexandra not only demonstrated a totally professional understanding the issue, and commitment to achieve a positive end result, she also displayed another extremely important attribute, “empathy”. An aspect which left me wholeheartedly content to recommend Plainview Planning without any reservations whatsoever.

Thank you Guys, you did it!

Mr Guignard, London

Thank you so much to Catherine for all her hard work on our situation. We achieved the best possible outcome thanks to her dedication and hard work ethic. Catherine’s knowledge, judgement, flexibility and patience has been outstanding! Catherine’s pursuit of a positive outcome, despite what initially appeared to be a very poor prospect, was unwavering.

Mr Carlon, London

Thank you all for all that you did to achieve the planning permission. It is great that your experience and hard work – and indeed our nerves! – should be so rewarded.

Onward and upward!

Mr & Mrs Colquhoun, Gloucestershire

I would like to say THANK YOU!

The service was top class! The knowledge, advice, recommendation I have received from Andrew from the beginning to the end of my application was honest and professional! Thank you once again! I am beyond happy that this has settled in our favor!

Ms Jackowska, Essex

I am writing to thank you for making our dream come true! For almost 35 years, my wife and I had been trying to obtain planning permission to build our family home. After numerous refusals, we almost gave up hope but were recommended to Andrew Ransome at Plainview Planning.

It was an absolute pleasure working with Andrew and the team, who were professional, knowledgeable and effective throughout the process, successfully gaining planning permission for our new family home.

I would highly recommend Plainview Planning to anyone who needs expert planning advice and guidance.

Mr Tann, Essex