STRI’s head of planning and environment, James Podesta, gives his top tips on how to advance your development plans during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Understanding the parameters of your site

You may, or may not, have been lucky enough to have survey work undertaken before the lockdown, but it’s about gathering all the available information that you do have to best understand your site.

What you are trying to do is get down to the net developable area, that is going to give you the basis on which to take your applications forward.

Engaging with statutory consultees

Seek their views. It is very important you get to know what they want from your proposal and then you can shape it accordingly.

Public engagement

Getting a strategy together about how you are going to approach different groups in the community so you can get on with that engagement piece as soon as possible. You might be able to do some of that now through slightly more innovative ways such as social media and across various digital platforms. Or you might want to think about how best you can do a more traditional campaign when you can get back to town hall and community meetings.

Submit pre-applications

Local authorities are still engaging, and they are finding different ways of doing that. Sometimes they are doing that through video conferencing, but it’s important you do seek their views that’s going to be the quickest way that you can progress your application through the process.

Design a digital model

If you have a major or large-scale project, you might want to think about pulling together a digital model. This offers certain advantages in terms of being able to optioneer and have a look at different aspects without fully committing to a scheme. It’s a really good way of being able to have a look at your development proposals from lots of different angles and find the one that’s best to take forward.

If you want to discuss your planning applications, or investigate our digital design modelling process further, then please contact us on or call 01274 545131