How to avoid unexpected planning permission costs

By Samuel Okoronkwo

It is no secret that navigating the planning permission system requires plenty of research and preparation. Underestimating the cost of construction projects is a dangerous mistake, but being unable to secure planning permission at a reasonable cost can be just as detrimental.


The cost of planning permission will vary depending on the scale of your project, even without the threat of unexpected additional costs. However, this does not mean that securing planning permission at a reasonable expense is impossible. Just like any challenge you face in the planning permission process, ample preparation will ensure the most cost-effective solutions.


However, these aforementioned unexpected additional costs can also not be ignored. Let us explore some of the financial challenges that can be faced before, during and even after securing planning permission.


Challenges DURING the planning permission process


Before we can explore ways to avoid planning permission at an unnecessary cost, we must first understand the reasons why this so often happens.


In some ways, all the mistakes or challenges that develop when applying for planning permission can be pinned down to one action; not seeking professional advice or guidance before undertaking the task. As I previously mentioned, securing planning permission should not be approached lightly. Thorough planning and research are vital to understanding the costs that will be incurred.


Of course, some costs come from a lack of preparation before even applying, such as not knowing the type of permission you need to apply for or the correct fees attached. Other cost challenges can happen even after planning permission has been secured;


– Incomplete documentation

– Failing to engage with stakeholders

– Unrealistic timelines and budgets


Expert legal advice and guidance before securing planning permission will help you avoid all of the above.


Challenges AFTER the planning permission process


It is simple enough to say that navigating the planning permission process alone is a mistake. So, let us explore exactly how having the right legal advice and guidance will help you avoid unnecessary costs when applying for permission and even afterwards.


Aside from offering planning policy guidance prior to undergoing the planning permission process, you can also seek advice on how to handle issues after the process is complete. Many construction projects will be halted by a Planning Enforcement Notice – common reasons for these notices all fall within the realm of incorrect planning permission.


This does not always mean that something went wrong during the planning permission process but afterwards. Building a structure contrary to the permitted plans or changing the use of the property without further planning permission will result in a Planning Enforcement Notice.


How to handle a Planning Enforcement Notice


Failure to deal with a Planning Enforcement Notice can lead to prosecution, potentially even incurring daily fines until the planning breach is dealt with. In some cases, planning authorities can even remove the development in question – as you can imagine, all costly matters to be dealt with.


Apt planning and preparation during the planning permission process should ensure you do not receive a Planning Enforcement Notice. However, should you receive one even with the right planning permission in place, there is always the option to appeal. In cases of appeal, these must be submitted before the notice takes effect.


Therefore, having legal advice during the planning permission process will already have you connected with the right experts. This is even something that can be discussed during the preparation stage to ensure there is a plan in place should you ever receive a Planning Enforcement Notice.


Mercantile Barristers has a team of expert Planning Law Barristers who are regularly instructed to advise on all aspects of planning – from major projects to providing advice on planning enforcement.


Value Adding Approach

Our approach to legal practice is always to articulate creative and value-adding solutions for clients whilst delivering timely, efficient and affordable professional services. All clients conduct their affairs within a legal context and Mercantile Barristers’ role is to advise on the conduct of their transactions and affairs in ways that avoid conflict and disputes.


However, should a dispute become inevitable, then our prior engagement would have assured that all the necessary precautions have been taken and mitigating steps adopted. Thus, clients will begin any dispute resolution in a strong position to achieve their desired objectives.


Whether by adjudication, arbitration, litigation, members at Mercantile Barristers will adopt a firm, swift and decisive approach to achieve the best possible results for clients within the shortest possible time. We recognise that no two cases are the same, so we will adapt our style to suit the occasion.


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