Nelson says: "Study the playground"



If you have not made a planning application before, I would advise sitting in on a few committee meetings to get the flavour of the proceedings.  From this exercise you might identify those Councillors ready to apply common sense, rather than blindly agree officer recommendation.  You can also see what is approved and where.


If you are interested in a particular development or area, you can ask to see plans on file and speak to a planning officer.  I would  take a tape recorder and a camera - but you can kick yourself later.




If you can afford it, the obvious person to make your application is an expert Planner.  This could cost anything up to 10,000 before you go to appeal and of course you could lose.  An appeal to the High Court is an even more hazardous endeavour, and especially so where at the moment the planning system does not comply with Human Rights legislation.  An appeal may only be made on a point of law - whereas most appeals need to address some matters of fact.


If you anticipate any difficulty, it might be wise to make your application as a limited company.  Should there be any problems, for example if your application is refused - then costs - or rather costs awards could become major issues.  Bear in mind that a belligerent Council will use any means at their disposal to undermine your application.  This will include trying to bankrupt you.  Believe me the number of bankrupts, made bankrupt as a result of fighting a corrupt planning department are frightening statistics.


It costs 25 to set up a property management company.  A model set of company Articles of Association and Memorandum of Association are posted on this site free of copyright for your use.  Simply insert the name of your company into the blank sapces, put yourself down as a director and nominate a company secretary agreeable to the objects.  Then fill in Forms 10 and 12, swear the Statutory Declaration in front of a solicitor (5) and file the papers with Companies House (20).  You will receive your Certificate of Incorporation in about a week.  I send all correspondence by recorded delivery for to be sure.


If a company makes an application, it limits the liability of its directors to whatever shares they have agreed to take.  Hence in the usual 100 company, you might agree to take a 1 share interest.  About a year later you will be required to fill in an Annual Return and file a 15 fee.  Presumably as the company will not be trading, a simple statement to that effect negates the need to file accounts - you will be exempt.  I usually do a search at the Companies House website to make sure the name I want is available.  You cannot use the same name as another company.  It might also be a good idea to check the domain name is available with Internic or any other web hosting service.  If the companies planning application is approved - wind up the company.  if it isn't, that's when the fun begins.


A company can afford to and indeed exists to take commercial risks.  If it goes to appeal and loses, it can proceed to the High Court and the House of Lords.  Should it fail and be unable to pay creditors, it must of course go into liquidation or voluntary liquidation.  Although, this is unlikely.  The directors are not liable for the company's debts, except for the shares taken and presumably paid for.  A director may himself be a creditor to the company via directors loans.




A lot of tactical skill is required to know what to apply for in any given situation.  If the forms are not correctly filled in, it could cause problems later on.  The area of land has to be defined.  The fee is normally 220 for either outline or full planning permission per dwelling unit.  You can also apply for a Certificate of Lawful or Existing Use or Development for commercial uses having continued for 10 years or more.  In the case of  a dwelling, the time is just four years (see the four year rule).  


Most people believe that using a building for something without planning permission is unlawful.  That is not so.  A use only becomes unlawful if challenged and an enforcement notice is upheld by the Planning Inspectorate and/or the Courts.  The Council challenging you cannot breach your civil (human) rights in so doing...................................







I would just like to say to the growing number of affected members of the public who telephone or email me, that I am so very pleased if anything we have published can be used to further just decision making.  The encouragement is mutual!  Lastly, if you cannot find what you are looking for on these pages and need some help, please help me to help others by emailing first and see our contacts page.  Please reserve the telephone for emergencies only.