You are mostly at the mercy of the planners. If they don’t agree with your proposal, it will be refused – even if you feel that you’ve met the criteria set out in their design guidelines and can demonstrate that there are similar developments within your immediate area.
Most local planning departments are over-burdened and don’t have the time to provide you with adequate pre-planning advice. High turnover of staff (we have a national shortage of qualified planners) creates major problems, especially if your planning officer leaves mid-way through the application process.
Keeping neighbours up to date in person is a great way of minimising written objections to your application. There is nothing neighbours hate more than first hearing about your development plans from the council. This is often more down to concerns about noisy builders than the aesthetic merits of your proposal.
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