What are written statements?

Whether your planning matter relates to an application, appeal, objection or enforcement case, chances are you will need to supply some form of written statement. 

Planning Direct offers a wide range of written statements to cover a wide range of planning needs. Some information about the most common written statements we produce can be found below. 

However, if you require a written statement that does not appear on this page, please contact us. We provide bespoke packages to suit our clients’ particular planning needs so we can likely still assist you. 

Every written statement we produce is unique – we may recycle our winning arguments but never our statements!

What written statements do Planning Direct offer?

Planning statements– planning statements accompany applications for planning permission. 

They serve the following purposes:

  • To identify all national, regional, local and neighbourhood planning policies relevant to the application and ascribe them weight; 
  • To persuasively discuss the ways in which the application gains the support of all relevant planning policies; and, where relevant,
  • To describe any applicable material planning considerations and explain why these provide support for the application, especially if there are any policy conflicts. 

Planning statements are especially useful in cases where the development is significant (in terms of its scale or impacts), potentially contentious or the planning context is particularly complex. 

We often combine planning statements and design & access statements in one document. 

Design & access statements Design & access statements accompany applications for planning permission. They are a required document for certain types of applications, including applications for Listed Building Consent and planning applications for 10 or more houses. 

They serve the following purposes:

  • To describe the design of the development and any access arrangements;
  • To explain the design principles and rationale by reference to planning policies where relevant, including how the design responds appropriately to its existing context; and
  • To provide evidence that the access arrangements are highways compliant and would cause no harm to the functioning or safety of the surrounding road network. 

We often combine planning statements and design & access statements in one document.

Heritage Impact Assessments Heritage Impact Assessments are also known as heritage statements. They are a required document for planning applications that have the potential to affect a designated heritage asset or its setting. All applications for Listed Building Consent must also be accompanied by a Heritage Impact Assessment. 

They serve the following purposes:

  • To identify any heritage assets and/or their settings that have the potential to be affected by the development;
  • To describe the significance of the affected heritage assets;
  • To describe the likely impact of the development upon the significance of affected heritage assets; and
  • To balance any heritage harm against the development’s public benefits and/or identify opportunities to reduce or mitigate the harm. 

Appeal statements – Appeal statements are also known as grounds of appeal statements. They are a required document for all types of planning appeal, including appeals against a refusal of planning permission and appeals against enforcement notices

Appeal statements are quasi-legal written documents that aim to explore, in planning terms and by reference to the appropriate planning policies, those reasons why a council’s decision should be overturned.

They will normally serve the following purposes:

  • To provide critical assessment of the matter in hand including, for example, explaining the ways in which the proposed development achieves good design and so gains the support of relevant planning policies;
  • To offer a robust critique of the council’s decision and decision-making process including, for example, exploring why their reasoning is flawed, illogical or based on misinformation;
  • To investigate and discuss any relevant material planning considerations that weigh in favour of the appeal’s success; and
  • To suggest or secure minor alterations, mitigations or planning conditions that would neutralise any harm(s) identified by the council. 

The layout and content of an appeal statement will vary considerably depending on the matter under appeal. 

Costs applicationscosts applications are also known as award of costs applications. Costs applications can only be submitted with appeals, there is no opportunity to recover costs at application stage. Fundamentally, they seek to recover some or all of the costs associated with submitting a planning appeal, including any fee paid to Planning Direct.

Costs can only be recovered where a party (normally the council) has behaved unreasonably and this unreasonable behaviour has directly caused the party claiming costs unnecessary or wasted expense. Costs applications must therefore address the following:

  • How the council (or other party) has behaved unreasonably, having regard to national planning guidance on “unreasonable behaviour”’; and
  • How that unreasonable behaviour has caused you unnecessary or wasted expense and what that expense is. 

Objection letters – objection letters are submitted in response to planning applications, planning appeals and various other planning matters. They are typically submitted on behalf of neighbours of a site proposed for new development, parish/town councils and local associations (including historic societies, campaign groups and residents’ associations). 

The primary purpose of most objection letters will be to identify and explore those planning matters that indicate permission should be refused for the development in question. 

This will likely involve the following:

  • To provide critical assessment of the matter in hand including, for example, explaining the ways in which the proposed development comprises poor design and so conflicts with various relevant planning policies;
  • To offer a robust critique of the applicant’s case including, for example, exploring why their written submissions are flawed, illogical or based on misinformation;
  • To identify any gaps in the application including, for example, missing ecological surveys and discuss the serious implications of this;
  • To investigate and discuss any relevant material planning considerations that suggest the application should be refused; and
  • To suggest potential alterations, mitigations or planning conditions if you consider these would help to reduce or remove your objections to the application. 
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