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How To Obtain Planning Permission In Medway
The UK has some quite complex procedures for obtaining planning permission, with a huge number of considerations to take into account.
For that reason, we've put together this series of guides for negotiating the issues around planning permission, and the hidden factors which no-one tells you about.
Your Local Planning Permission
Your local authority is Medway Council. Medway is fairly unusual, with an interesting recent history. Absorbing the former city of Rochester and the towns of Chatham and Gillingham, it's an amalgamation of different towns and villages all with their own unique aspects, charm and quirks of planning permission law.
The area is, in general, moderately well-off compared to the English median, but a significant portion of its wealth is tied to London – council efforts are focused on regenerating certain areas of the city and fighting deprivation, so planning applications to do with local businesses could have an advantage.
Rochester is particularly well-off, with a rich history and many old buildings, so you may face special problems of architectural sensitivity there.
To make a planning application, you just need to write out a form. This form is standardised, and you can get hold of it here.
The guidance Medway Council give is good, but if you want to give your planning application every chance of success you need to know more than what they tell you; you need to understand the council's goals, and show how your development can help them to meet those goals.
Your Local Development Framework
Image by Roland Turner
Your local development framework is almost like a cheat sheet. Your council is totally transparent, so you can see exactly what they want.
That means that you can give them what they want in your planning application!
Emphasise the parts of your planned work which gel perfectly with their vision, and explain why the parts which might seem problematic to them won't actually have any impact.
Too many people are coy when writing their planning applications – don't be afraid to directly address the key points, using the same language as the council does.
Some points that might be relevant for your development in Medway include:
- Population, housing and development are all expected to grow relatively quickly over the next few years.
- Reconciling the urban and rural in a sensitive way is important.
- Improving the image of Medway is important.
- Good quality housing is a must-have for all areas.
- The strapline of the plan until 2026 is "City of Medway: Rich heritage, great future.", implying that while respect for the past is important that should not stop sensitive new development.
- The economy is under sharp focus. Businesses that can engage with the local community should be more than welcome to make appropriate developments!
- Medway council is keen to increase the amount of energy it produces from renewable sources, meaning that planning permission relating to solar cells or wind turbines could be looked upon favourably.
- Medway's focus on sustainability also means that developments need to demonstrate that the materials used in construction did not take too much energy to create, that heat efficiency is high (so not much heating or cooling is required), that greenspace and plants are included in the development, and that the development meets National Sustainable Urban Drainage System Standards.
- Development of businesses focused on culture and night-life is desired by the council.
- Medway intend to support new tourist initiatives throughout the towns and villages.
- The shopping centres in Medway are considered to offer a limited selection of goods. A high-end supermarket or other high-end goods store might be looked on favourably.
- The most significant opportunities are thought to be in the creative industries, but construction, renewable energy and other more industrial businesses are also targets.
The local framework is really just a starting point for a watertight planning application, and the planning committee will be looking for reasons to turn down your planning application rather than reasons in its favour.
That said, these are the kinds of things you should be thinking about, and the local development framework is a very good starting point.
The Hidden Factors
There are factors in your planning application which are totally hidden from you – not because of any malice or lack of thought, but because planning application is a complex area, and because it's possible that your council has left confusing, misleading or contradictory passages in some of their documents.
If that's the case, you might be able to challenge decisions made by the council or support your planning application better.
This is what we're really good at.
We take the areas of ambiguity in the council's approach to planning permission, and we help to resolve them so that your planning application can go through.
If that's what you're interested in, don't hesitate to get in touch!
If you found it difficult to apply through the specific local council planning portals, you can try applying through the generic online planning portal.
If you've made a planning application in Medway already but it didn't go as planned, you can come to us for guidance and advice.
Or if you've got any more questions, ask away in the comments section and we'll do our best to answer them!