Town planning can be complex. Taking into account the requirements of national legislation, local policy, commercial pressures, environmental issues and changing communities, it’s an ever-evolving process. With as many as 128,000 planning applications submitted between April and June 2021 in England, it’s important for developers and homeowners to ensure their applications are robust and that their plans meet guidelines. And working with a chartered town planner is one way you can help this process go more smoothly.

What is Town Planning and Why is it Needed?

Town planning looks at land development and building design, ensuring that any construction meets the needs of the community while preserving the area’s history and environment. It deals with all aspects of urban and rural areas including homes, schools, shops and transport infrastructure. 

Planning is vitally important because of its role in building sustainable towns and cities for future generations - environmentally, socially and economically. Adequate planning also aims to tackle important social issues like poverty through building better housing, for example.

The people that work in planning go by many different names depending on their specialism, but generally, the one you will hear most often is a town planner, or if fully certified, a chartered town planner.

What Does a Chartered Town Planner Do?

A chartered town planner works with various development professionals like architects, developers, politicians, community groups and environmental organisations to help them deliver planning applications and build sustainable developments. They can work with local authorities advising on whether permission should be granted. They can also operate in the private sector, in a consultative role, ensuring development projects are within planning guidelines, as well as preparing and submitting planning applications.

A chartered town planner has wide-ranging skills and knowledge including building design, ecology, sociology, flood risk and even arboriculture, so they can best advise on how sites or buildings should be developed to meet the current and future needs of the community, environment and economy.

As well as advising, chartered town planners are responsible for preparing, submitting and negotiating planning applications including arranging any required studies like topography, ecological, air quality and acoustic surveys or biodiversity net gain statements.

What Qualifications Does a Chartered Town Planner Have?

To become a chartered town planner, individuals must pass stringent tests of competence and experience to become a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). The RTPI is the national body responsible for setting and regulating standards within the town planning sector. 

To qualify for membership, individuals should complete an RTPI-accredited undergraduate or postgraduate planning course, have relevant experience and complete an assessment of professional competence. RTPI membership is globally recognised as the ‘gold standard’ accreditation of planning expertise. And to maintain membership, chartered town planners must also complete continued professional development throughout their careers.

When Do You Need a Chartered Town Planner?

Chartered town planners are generally involved in large scale urban developments, but homeowners can also enlist their services for smaller projects too. Planners can assist in any project that needs planning permission. They work with all kinds of professionals from architects to builders. They can also work closely with councillors, local businesses and environmental groups for presentations, consultations and negotiations. 

Here are the top 5 reasons why you should use a chartered town planner for your next project.

Why Use a Chartered Town Planner?

1. Get industry-leading advice

RTPI-approved planners are generally considered some of the best professionals in the industry. They are highly qualified, experienced, rigorously assessed and continuously developing to keep up to date with best practice and current legislation. Working with a chartered town planner, you can rest assured that you’re receiving the best guidance.

2. Gain specialist expertise

The planning process can be complicated, bureautic, frustrating, time consuming and at times, stressful. Using a chartered town planner means you have all the necessary knowledge and expertise on your team to ensure your project meets guidelines and that everything is in order for your planning applications.

A planner will have the relevant expertise and contacts to procure the specialist studies required for planning applications from ecology reports to landscape and visual impact statements (LVIA). They will also know the local community, planning policy and even have experience in similar projects, so they can assess and advise to make sure your project considers everything from sanitation to sustainability.

3. Improve your chances of approval

Involving a chartered town planner in the design process can improve your chances of gaining planning consent. A planner will continually audit the design against planning guidelines, local policy, environmental interests and neighbourhood plans, and advise on any potential changes or pitfalls. Working collaboratively with a technical design team, a chartered town planner helps design developments that meet the balanced needs of the community, economy and wider environment and as a result, the project may have a better chance of approval.

4. Save time

With a chartered town planner, you receive expert advice from day one of your project. This can avoid any potential delays down the track through design changes, extra studies or even permission refusal as a result of poor planning, so your project can stay on schedule.

5. Save money

Working with a chartered town planner can help you save money too. Firstly, involving a planner in the initial stages of your project can help you avoid unexpected costs because planning requirements will be addressed early on. And throughout the design process, a chartered town planner is on hand, guiding the design towards successful planning consent.

Secondly, a chartered town planner can stop you from investing in developments that are not feasible or deliverable by identifying any inhibiting factors related to a site and/or project.

Looking for a Chartered Town Planner?

Here at Rickett Architects, we have an in-house team of chartered town planners. Our experienced and highly qualified team are chartered members of the RTPI and have proven success working with both our own design team and many others. Our planners can assist with most aspects of planning from feasibility studies and applications to public enquiries.

For more information about our chartered town planning services, give us a call today.

A very good, proactive and knowledgeable company who we would work with again and would recommend to others.

Rebecca Costello Office Manager Edgar Taylor Ltd Buckingham

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