5A: Planning considerations

It is difficult to estimate the time that the property development will take

Section 5 progress

Depending on the scale and kind of development involved, a construction process can take several years to develop and implement. However, a small scale refurbishment of an existing facility will be much shorter.

The first thing to consider is whether the local authority might undertake the work before handing over the site. This can have positive VAT consequences but might raise the costs of the work in other ways and leave you less in control, so there are arguments for and against this approach.

The Plan of Works

  • The Plan of Works means the process of the physical transformation of a building or land. The 8 stages that most development projects go through are covered in detail by the RIBA Plan of Work 2013 
  • The eight work stages each have clear boundaries, and detail the tasks and outputs required at each stage. RIBA provides an online tool that revolves around these eight project stages, providing a flexible ‘kit of parts’ that can be used to produce a focused practice or project-specific Plan of Work which will be of benefit to all those involved in the briefing, design, construction and post-occupancy process.

Planning permission

  • Planning permission is granted by the Local Planning Authority. Although they will decide whether planning permission is granted or not, it is still useful for you to demonstrate that you have the support of stakeholders, including Local Authority officers involved in sports services and, where appropriate, local people.
  • It is advisable to set up a preliminary meeting with the local planning department to talk through your proposal. This should let you know whether you are likely to be successful or not and can save you a lot of time and money.
  • The key to getting through the planning process unscathed is to do proper preparation, which in the majority of cases means appointing professional help. An architect will be able to draw up the required plans and advise whether a particular scheme is likely to get approval. For particularly complicated cases appointing a planning consultant might be required. The Royal Town Planning Institute has a list of its members.
  • Planning Aid England provides free, independent and professional planning advice to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay professional fees.
  • In the case of asset transfer, it is almost always a condition of the lease that any undertakings that might require planning permission must be discussed and agreed by the local authority freeholder first.