News 

Our approach to strategic land promotion

18 June 2020

Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are increasingly seeing the potential of strategic sites to solve their housing needs, and the advantages that come from working closely with landowners and their consultants.

As we adjust to a new reality of more people being able to work from home, it seems likely that the demand for medium density developments with access to bountiful open, green spaces will grow. Investors, landowners and developers will conclude, therefore, that the requirement for, and value of, strategic land looks set to increase.

Add this focus on open, spacious and green developments to the ever-increasing need for housing, topped with the scrutiny that councils and communities are finding themselves under when it comes to Local and Neighbourhood Plan Examinations, and it becomes clear that strategic land has a vital role to play. We believe this mix of converging trends present very exciting opportunities for the development of sustainable neighbourhoods.

Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) are increasingly seeing the potential of strategic sites to solve their housing needs, and the advantages that come from working closely with landowners and their consultants. Likewise, landowners are realising the benefits of investing to properly promote their assets, rather than taking a bullish approach and facing the risks and costs associated with appeals.

At Planning Potential, we are there to support our clients from the very beginning, with detailed appraisals. We don’t just look at planning policy, we use our collective skills to provide a holistic picture. From using our experience of housing land supply and housing delivery, to sharing our knowledge of local and national politics and the local stakeholder context, we provide our clients with a comprehensive picture of medium or long-term opportunity. Likewise, we’re not afraid to be upfront if there is little chance of the site being considered sustainable and therefore not supported, helping our clients to avoid unnecessary costs. 

LPAs have seen significant cuts in recent years, which has reduced their ability to assess sites fully. To help overcome this, we work closely with clients, council planners and local stakeholders to prepare the necessary evidence to support the promotion of land, giving sites the best chance of being allocated in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan. Collaboration and communication with officers throughout the process is vital to maintaining momentum with strategic sites. Our clients see the benefit of investing in ongoing engagement to engender genuine local support for development.

We play a key role in the overall management of site promotion, supporting LPAs as well as our clients in the evidence gathering, submission of detailed representations at all stages of a Local Plan, and then appearing on behalf of our clients at the Examination. It is a lengthy process, but one which is certainly worth the effort, as we have seen recently.

Clear, persuasive communication and a robust communications strategy is a vital piece of the strategic land jigsaw. Opportunities can only be turned into successful neighbourhoods  when clients – whether they are landowners, housebuilders, developers or promoters – understand the stakeholder context and work positively with the local community. Planning Potential’s in-house communications team, Communications Potential, is adept at unpacking complex planning arguments into simple messages for politicians, stakeholders and communities alike, and understands the nuances required for a strategic land promotion strategy.

There is a great opportunity to promote the development of strategic land. Don’t hesitate to get in touch should you wish to discuss the potential of a site.  

Heather Vickers, Associate Director, is a member of Planning Potential’s Residential team. For advice, insight, or to share your thoughts on Heather’s views above, get in touch on 020 7357 8000 or [email protected]