The importance of negotiation: planning approval for a new residential flat in Southend-on-Sea

Our recent planning approval for the erection of a new 2 bedroom flat with solar panels, associated refuse, parking and cycle storage, is a prime example of how planning consultants add value to the planning application process.

Site context and planning history:

The site consisted of a single storey nursery, to which a previous application had sought to add a full first floor extension to expand the business. This had been approved, although the permission had since expired.

Subsequently a new scheme had evolved, which sought to create a 3-bed residential flat above the existing nursery instead.  It was at this stage that our planning consultants were called in to assist, to make the case for a residential development on site.

Engaging positively with pre-application discussions:

The project commenced with a pre-application meeting with Southend-On-Sea Borough Council.  It was concluded that:

  • the principle of development for a residential site in the proposed location raised no objections and was perceived as an efficient use of land within a residential area;
  • and that the proposed design would complement the surrounding architecture.

However concerns were raised in light of the council’s recently adopted Southend Development Management Plan (2015).  It was a heavily constrained site and issues in relation to off-road parking, outdoor amenity space and access had to be resolved.

The evolution of a scheme:

We responded proactively to the feedback and a 2 bedroom scheme with balcony, revised parking and access was proposed which addressed the concerns of the council in full. The revised plans were submitted after extensive and productive engagement with the case officer.

The power of negotiation:

We were surprised therefore when the case officer advised a recommendation for refusal.

Our planning team wrote a robust response, which:

  • highlighted the benefits of the scheme;
  • reiterated conditions which we had previously proposed could be applied to planning permission, to enable a positive resolution for all parties;
  • identified how the case officer had misinterpreted newly adopted policies in making the case for refusal.

After a review of our comments, the case officer agreed we had successfully justified the proposed scheme and that our conclusions were correct.

The application was approved and planning permission granted for the proposed scheme.

 About us:

Plainview Planning is an independent urban and rural planning consultancy with offices in Essex, Sussex, Gloucestershire and London.  If you have a development scheme which may benefit from professional input, contact our innovative team of planning consultants and urban designers  to see how we can best assist.