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Commercial Design and Build: Basics of the LPA Process

By John Parkinson

Your company is in the midst of an expansion project. You have found and acquired the ideal piece of property and now you are ready to begin the design and build stage. Understand that the easy part is over. You now have to engage with the local planning authority (LPA) before any substantial work can begin. Throughout the design and build stage, you will consult with government officials tasked with making sure things are done right.

A reputable commercial property adviser with experience in local planning permission is crucial on such projects. But commercial property consulting alone will not ensure a smooth design and build process. Any and all management team members with any project input need to have a basic understanding of the LPA process.

In a broad sense, the LPA process is a four-step process as follows:

1.Contact the LPA for information on the application process;

2.Submit an outline or full application, complete with supporting documents and the appropriate fee;

3.Supply any missing documents required to validate the application;

4.Wait for LPA acknowledgement of a valid application.

The LPA will then consider the application in consultation with the Planning Officer or Planning Committee. A denial can be followed up with an appeal to the Secretary of State, or the company can scrap the application and start over. An approved application gives the company the right to move forward. However, if permission is granted with conditions, those conditions must be met in order to proceed.

One of my responsibilities as a commercial property adviser is to lead clients through the LPA process. If necessary, I can manage the entire process while also maintaining a close liaison between the client and LPA.

LPA Review of Applications

In order for the LPA to effectively review an application, said application must be deemed valid. A valid application includes a completed application form, any information required by national standards (e.g., design and access statement), and any additional information required to satisfy local codes.

It should not take long for the LPA to validate an application. As a general rule, validation can be completed within 3 to 5 days for smaller projects. Larger projects should take no longer than 10 days.

After Application Validation

Once validation is complete, the LPA must publish application information for public view. Neighbours will be notified by way of a notice on or near the site or individual notices sent to each one. Neighbours will have the opportunity to express their thoughts or concerns during the planning process. Also note that anyone can comment on your plans.

The local Planning Officer or Planning Committee will then evaluate the application, its information, and any comments. A final decision is made after a full review.

If you’re planning a company expansion, I encourage you to strongly consider commercial property consulting to get you through this process. I have more than two decades of experience that I can leverage on your behalf.

By John Parkinson.

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