By James Podesta, Head of planning and environment, STRI Group.
Head of planning and environment, James Podesta, offers his advice on how to safeguard your development and investment options during coronavirus restrictions.
Whilst STRI Group, is very conscious of the current coronavirus restrictions, we also strongly believe it should not stop you operating and safeguarding your development and investment options for when business as usual resumes.
Many of your projects will have taken months and maybe years to get to a certain stage and you don’t want that to disappear in the next few weeks.
We know that there will be other pressures on you as a business, but this is actually a good time to look to ‘future proof’ your development proposals and not lose out to your rivals that will be looking for a competitive edge.
Keeping these projects ‘live’ and advancing through this period is crucial.
Whilst immediate construction and site visit work will have ground to halt during the isolation period, council and civil service departments are unlikely to be directly impacted. The staff that approve regulations, planning permissions, advance local plans, other policy documents and strategies will still be working from home.
They will be using this isolation period to be clearing a backlog of planning applications and considering evidence-based surveys and reports for the advancement of local plans that are under review. So, it’s a perfect time to strike while the iron is hot.
Your competitors will be looking for ways that they can continue to bring forward their projects during this time and STRI can help you keep yours on track.
Whilst construction work can, at the time of writing this, continue to work, it is even more important that planning permissions and local plan allocations continue to be achieved in a timely manner.
Ensuring your project can start on site without delay will help you guard against financial problems caused by project creep. Continuing with the planning elements of your development will reduce or remove delay and put you in the strongest position.
The key advantages of keeping your project on track:
- There are project time savings to be made by keeping projects ‘on track’
- Scope creep and project delay can be reduced or removed
- Costs can be better controlled by doing work now rather than delaying and trying to get work done in what will inevitably be a more saturated market when restrictions are lifted
STRI’s planning team can offer you advice and services that will keep these projects ‘live’ and advancing through this period:
- Pre-application discussions and enquiries
- Planning policy reviews
- Planning policy research
- Local plan policy preparation
- Planning application preparations and submissions (where site investigation works have been completed)
- Discharge of planning conditions
- Expert witness work at public inquiry (via the Planning Inspectorate’s technological capabilities)
Importantly, we can also still undertake the desk-based elements of ecology and environment work including:
- Drainage surveys
- Ecology surveys
- Draw together Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), where site investigation works have been completed.
The nature of planning and environment work means that we can continue to advance your development projects as we usually would through a wide array of technology that we can utilise including conference and video call capabilities to allow distance meetings.