Town Planning

The Planning Team are engaged in a wide range of commissions for both private, public, voluntary and government clients, across all key development sectors.

We are very proud of our achievements and were delighted to be recognised as the National Town Planning Consultancy of the Year (Planning Awards) in 2016. We were shortlisted in the same category by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in the same year.

In addition to acting as Town Planning Consultants, we are an instrumental part of our Place Studio, working closely with Masterplanning, Landscape Architect, Urban Design and Architectural colleagues. We share a passion for creative and successful placemaking, and value the importance of meaningful engagement to shape our environment and leave a lasting and positive legacy.

We work hard to maintain our strong reputation, develop our expertise and grow our business relationships through designing and delivering land use strategies, securing planning permissions and being a trusted advisor to our clients.

The majority of our work generally falls into six key areas:

Managing Planning Application Strategies

Coordinating Masterplans

Strategic Commissions

Development Plan representations and Land Promotion

Consultation and Engagement Strategies

Undertaking Portfolio Commissions

Managing Planning Application Strategies

A planning strategy will be informed by the client brief and our Planning Policy Appraisal. Identifying the relevant Development Plan policies and guidance, Schedule of Planning Application Deliverables, risks and mitigation strategies, this will inform the Project Mobilisation Meeting and confirm roles, deliverables and inter-dependencies.

 Our Engagement Matrix will identify relevant and important stakeholders, and bespoke and meaningful approaches to elicit views.  A transparent engagement approach will inform the mandatory Statement of Community Involvement submitted alongside the application.

Informed by our Terms of Reference submission, topic based, pre-application Council meetings will involve selected co-consultants to offer technical clarifications. Minutes, actions and agreements are logged, creating an invaluable audit trail. A bespoke Planning Performance Agreement can be valuable to structure discussions and determination timeframes.

 Our integrated Planning Design and Access Statement will cover all relevant land use issues and non-technical impact assessment summaries generated by co-consultant partners. It will demonstrate scheme alignment with Planning Policies and other relevant material considerations.

Reviewing the Committee Report and draft conditions will ensure no inaccurate or onerous restrictions are imposed. Our Discharge of Conditions Tracker will be used to assign roles and responsibilities and monitor the coordination and determination of pre-commencement, pre-occupation and compliance conditions.

Coordinating Masterplans and Strategic Commissions

Our skill sets are ideally utilised to manage our design teams and the input of multi-disciplinary consultants in the preparation of large scale masterplans. We have developed a tried and tested robust methodology which involves Initial Site Analysis, Strategic Options and Development of the Preferred Option stages.

We ensure that spatial strategies are coherent, in accordance with planning policies, or are otherwise justifiable, and that deliverables are prepared in such a way as can be used for later formal planning submissions. Our Town Planning team has led and co-ordinated major masterplanning schemes with a cumulative construction value of over £2bn: many of these leading to outline and detailed planning applications.

We have coordinated University Estate Strategies and Campus Vision Statements, ensuring that a phased development programme is responsive to student and funding pressures, is supported by an objective evidence base and can be delivered through the planning process.

Strategic Commissions

We have delivered bespoke and coordinated multi-disciplinary strategic advisor commissions, such as:

  • Site Selection Studies for a major NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Planning Appraisals for Highways Schemes for the Valuation Office Agency
  • Successfully representing a University client in respect of a draft Community Infrastructure Levy (on grounds of commercial viability and proportionality)
  • Creating evaluation criteria to underpin future investment decisions.

Development Plan representations and Land Promotion

We prepare representations to Draft Local Plans, Site Allocations Development Plan Documents and Supplementary Planning Documents as part of local planning authority Local Development Frameworks, representing landholders’ interests. We represent clients’ views by responding to issues such as Community Infrastructure Levy Draft Charing Charging Schedules and Draft Tall Building SPD to protect long term development interests.

We regularly prepare Planning Appraisals to assess the key issues pertinent to a development project, identifying risks, mitigation strategies and next steps.

Consultation and Engagement Strategies

Consultation procedures will vary according to the nature of the project, the planning status of the site and the local area. We have, and continue to, adopt a flexible approach to consultation with local groups and the public. We have attended and presented complex and controversial proposals to public meetings, prepared and managed exhibitions and evaluated responses in a way cited by Local Planning Authority as a “best practice” in their area.

These commissions seek to devise and execute communication and engagement strategies, identifying relevant and important stakeholders via a Communication and Stakeholder Engagement Matrix.  We encourage constructive dialogue, listen to views and seek feedback through exhibitions, workshops, newsletters and the digital platforms, ultimately preparing Statements of Community Involvement that demonstrate how engagement has helped shaped development proposals.

Undertaking Portfolio Commissions

We have prepared in excess of 3,000 planning, listed building, advertisement, plant & machinery  and inclusive access applications for a major UK bank, securing over 95% overall success rate.  We are also retained by a number of NHS Trusts to deal with “business as usual” facilities and site management requirements needing planning permission.

We have built working relationships with many English and Welsh Planning Authorities and have prepared comprehensive databases to collate client property information as well as “tracker” reports to inform the client, contractors and managing agents in relation to the progress of multiple, simultaneous planning applications.

As a member of the Judging Panel this year, I have been impressed by the excellent planning work of many kinds going on all over the region. All the entries have been of a high standard, but, on balance, Heartlands, which has so many different facets to it, stands out as the overall winner.

RTPI Awards Panel

Summary Experience

Securing major planning submissions

We have secured numerous major planning applications across a number of development sectors. These include, but are not limited to:  (Projects in Bold should link to their respective Case Study)

  • Outline planning permission for 1,250 student study bedrooms as part of the Low Carbon Residences at University of the West of England, Bristol. (2021)
  • The redevelopment of Rusham Park, Egham as a 1,400 unit student village with ancillary facilities including an Energy Centre within the Green Belt for Royal Holloway, University of London (2021)
  • Full planning permission for the replacement and expansion of Grange Paddocks Leisure Centre in Bishop’s Stortford. Located in the Green Belt, we successful presented a very special circumstances case and are currently engaged to discharge for conditions. (2020)
  • Outline planning permission (on appeal) for a c420 residential unit scheme with public house and school at Inglewood, an extension of our earlier White Rock development in Paignton. (2021)
  • Full planning permission for the Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education at the former Rolle Campus, Exmouth. (2020). The site opened in 2021 and has recently won the Michelmores Project of the Year (over £5m) Award.
  • Working with The Bristol Music Trust and Willmott Dixon, we successfully coordinated multiple Listed Building Consents for the major internal refurbishment of the primary Music Venue in Bristol (formerly Colston Hall). Work continues to delivery discharge of conditions for the phased packages of sensitive works (2018-2020)
  • Full planning permission for the £35m Winchester Sport and Leisure Centre for Winchester City Council. We coordinated the application while preparing a Design Framework for the wider area in which the Centre would sit. 14 public engagement events over a 12 month period shaped the Framework and underpinned the application, granted in November 2018.
  • Full planning permission for 230 homes within the Hengrove Regeneration Area for Kier Living and Bristol. The scheme involved extensive workshop engagement with the community. (2017)
  • Outline planning permission for a 200 unit residential scheme at Trevarner Farm, Wadebridge (2017). This followed a land promotion strategy and appeal (on highway grounds) for a northern extension to the Town.
  • Full planning permission for the c£10M iAero in Yeovil for Somerset County Council, the result of a highly ambitious collaboration between Somerset County Council, six South West Local Enterprise Partnerships and the region’s leading aerospace players. (2016)
  • A hybrid planning permission for the £160m new Critical Treatment Hospital and Cancer Treatment Centrefor Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. We worked with architectural colleagues and BDP architects, collated the Environmental Impact Assessment process and collation of the Environmental Statement and led a public and stakeholder engagement strategy prior to submission (2016)
  • Full planning permission for the c11,000m2 new Central Library for Royal Holloway, University of London. We worked closely with external architects to address heritage issues and secured permission in 2015. The building opened in 2018.
  • A 20 year Masterplan and outline planning permission for a net increase of 55,000m2 of new build academic accommodation and 2,650 student study bedrooms involving a predominantly green belt site within the grounds of the Grade 1 Listed Building at Royal Holloway, University of Londonin Egham (2015).We have since secured the permission for the first projects generated by the Masterplan.
  • A mixed use urban extension of Paignton in Devon (White Rock) comprising 350 homes, 36,000m2 of employment space, a local retail centre, student accommodation, energy centre and extensive landscaping and public open space. The permission enabled the client to sell the land to Linden Homes. (2013)
  • Working for the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, we prepared an edge of City Centre mixed use waterfront masterplan extending over the former Swansea Docks. With a university at its heart, the masterplan represents a major regeneration scheme of sub-regional importance. The Masterplan underpinned a variation of condition application to amend an extant outline planning permission.
  • Working for East Devon District Council, we prepared a mixed use leisure based Masterplan and secured outline planning permission (including coordinating the Environmental Impact Assessment) for the redevelopment of the Queens Drive Leisure Area(3ha) in Exmouth, in readiness of the disposal of the site to the market.
  • Multiple listed building and planning applications leading to the RTPI National Award winning delivery of the Heartlands Regeneration Scheme for Cornwall Council.

Strategic Commissions (Local Development Order)

Leading a multi-disciplinary team, Stride Treglown led the preparation of the Dorset Innovation Park Local Development Order for Purbeck County (now Dorset Council) to stimulate local employment growth. We developed the Statement of Reasons, coordinated the Design Guide and prepared a bespoke submission form to enable the fast-tracked determination of compliant submissions. The LDO has been cited by tenants and interested parties as helpful to speed the delivery of their proposals and thus generate local jobs. This project was shortlisted for a National Planning Excellence Award in 2019.

We are framework Planning Consultants to the Valuation Office Agency and have prepared a number of Appraisals.

Environmental Impact Assessment co-ordination

We have coordinated the preparation of numerous Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Opinions, Scoping Opinions and Environmental Statements in support of planning applications or Masterplans. Environmental Statements have include, but have not been limited to:

Development in sensitive locations

We have a considerable experience in dealing with heritage planning issues including listed buildings, locally listed buildings and development in Conservation Areas. Our recent experience includes delivering the Heartlands project in Cornwall (Listed building complex within a World Heritage Site), and developing masterplanning proposals within the grounds of a Grade 1 listed building at Royal Holloway. Other commissions involve sites with wildlife habitats, SSSI’s, AONB’s and other environmental designations, where we have regard to their function and importance. We work closely with environmental consultants, more often than not appointing them to the project team, to inform the clients and assist the delivery of a robust planning strategy.

Planning Obligations – Drafting and Negotiations

Our experience in managing and negotiating Planning Obligations with Local Planning Authorities as part of a number of development projects places us in a strong position to consider the phased and cumulative impact of proposals and the nature and extent of works that seek to mitigate against those impacts. Phased planning obligations, or those linked to a sliding scale, are considered, wherever possible, in order to monitor actual impacts and refine obligations accordingly. We also consider potential planning conditions prior to submissions to ease the determination process by addressing issues “up-front”.

Appeals and expert witness

We are fully conversant with appeals procedures, pursuing written representation, informal hearings and inquires. We do, however, pride ourselves on securing planning permission “first time around” rather than rely on the appeals procedure to resolve issues of principle or design detail.

The Team can draw upon both Planning and other Inquiry experience, including Compulsory Purchase Order Appeals and Licensing Appeals.  We successfully represented the Government of the Republic of France at an informal Hearing in 2018 opposing a major basement proposal under an adjacent Listed residence on Kensington Palace Gardens.

Planning for Schools

We work extensively with our architectural colleagues and other architectural practices for contractor-clients but also for County Councils and other clients on a wide variety of school development programmes across the UK.  We have secured planning permissions for over 70 new build and/or school extensions under the following frameworks and procurement routes:

  • Priority Schools Building Programme (PSBP): 18 Schools
  • ESFA Regional Framework: 9 Schools
  • Building Schools for the Future: 1 School
  • University Technical Colleges: 2 Colleges
  • S106 School Provision: 6 Schools
  • 21st Century Schools (Wales): 22 Schools

In addition, we have secured 15 non-framework school developments, including independent schools such as the American Community School in Egham, and specialist education providers including The Exeter Royal Academy for Deaf Education.

Town Planning Projects

Masterplanning & Urban Design

The places around us shape us.

We are committed to creating places that leave a lasting legacy of enabling people to thrive.

Town Planning Clients

  • Swansea Housing Association
  • Talbot Village Trust
  • The Government of the Republic of France
  • The National Trust
  • Torbay Council
  • Treveth Holdings
  • University of Derby
  • University of Plymouth
  • University of the West of England
  • University of Wales, Trinity Saint David
  • UPP
  • Valuation Office Agency
  • Whiteley Village Trust
  • Willmott Dixon
  • Winchester City Council

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