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Talking your way to a smoother planning process

Dealers should make sure they sit down with their local council before submitting their planning applications for an extension of a dealership or new build.

That’s the advice from Jonathan Vose, Rapleys associate partner at its planning division.

Vose said: “One of the main problems dealers are coming up against is finding a site you can move forward with that won’t give you potential road blocks in the future.

“Dealers should have a pre-planning meeting with the local council and plann- ing authorities before submitting applications.”

Vose said dealers were often surprised about the amount of time it takes for an application to go through.

“There are a host of assessments that need to be fulfilled, including ecology, flood risk and transport assessment.

“Dealers must also comply with their council’s demands on the sustainable materials to be used when building,” said Vose.

Dealers go through an eight-week waiting process after they have submitted there application.

During this time, the council can refuse, or ask dealers to withdraw and resubmit if parts of the application don’t meet its standard.

Vose said: “Plans can be heavily delayed if councils can find problems in an application, potentially putting work on hold for another six months.

“It’s extremely important that dealers don’t go in cold and meet with the local councils and planning consultants before going forward.”

Vose said he did not advise dealers to invite input from local residents from the offset: “If the councils suggest it would be a good idea that’s fine, but if you invite them from the start, you’re likely to double the number of complaints you’ll receive.”

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