Benefits Of Enlisting The Help Of A Town Planning Consultant For Your Next Development Project

6 January, 2020

When it comes to your next development project, town planning consultants can benefit you in several different ways. These professionals are qualified in urban town planning and work with multiple other disciplines. Melbourne based firms have in-depth knowledge of the local planning regulations and often act as consultancy services for local government and/or previously worked for Council. Therefore, they understand the process from both sides of the fence. This means planning consultants have existing relationships with local councils, understand the requirements of individual councils and their local polices and strategies which can help benefit your project in the following ways.

Pre-empting any problems

Foresight is a great thing and having town planning consultants who are well versed in all the necessary requirements and documentation is going to save you time and money. By involving them right from the very beginning, they are able to advise you on what Council’s expectations are from the start of your development project. You can then avoid potential pitfalls which can be costly if you have to go back to the drawing board.

Giving feedback and advice at the design stage

Seeking advice and help very early on in the design stages of your project is important and will save time during the post Council lodgement stage of the planning process, as this is where the experienced Melbourne town planner really comes in to their own. Spending time getting the relevant advice means you can shape the design and organisation of your development and bring in the key players you need to be dealing with from start to finish. In order to do that, you need to ask your town planning consultants a few key questions.

Questions to ask your town planning consultants

  • What is their planning perspective towards the development?
  • What town planning services do they provide?
  • What makes them different to other town planning firms?
  • Who has the right to object to the development?
  • If there are objectors, should there be a meeting with them?
  • Would they act as a representative if there was a Council meeting with the Councillors and objectors?
  • What is their experience in supporting applications to this Council?
  • Should there be a pre-application meeting with Council and if not, why?
  • What is the general timeline for a planning application with this Council?
  • If unsuccessful, what is the appeal process?
  • Who else has right of appeal if the project is successful?
  • What are the costs if it has to go to appeal?
  • Is there any additional documents that must be lodged to Council or local authorities and if so, what are the costs and process involved?
  • What is the cost of their town planning services?
  • Do you have connections with other consultants which we may require for this project?

Central point of contact

With a number of professionals involved in a development project, it is important to have one central point of contact to prevent miscommunication which can lead to costly mistakes. Some developers may not have had experience communicating with local government officials and working through the maze of documents and regulations that forms the planning process and trying to juggle a number of tasks is not that easy. This is a role that is very familiar to town planning consultants in Melbourne who will also respond on your behalf to Council throughout the planning process, and liaise with designers, architects and other relevant consultants should your plans need redrafting.

If you receive objections to your application, another key benefit of enlisting the help of a town planning consultant is they can act as your advocate. Their role includes preparing responses to objections and arguing the case on your behalf. Due to their involvement in your development project from the beginning and their knowledge of planning regulations, they can give a coherent representation of the project in an efficient and objective manner.

Dealing with local government officials and procedures

Once your plans are drawn up, your town planning consultant may advise if it is necessary to undertake a pre-application meeting with Council in order to discuss and/or resolve any planning issues early on. If it is a complicated project, then often your architect along with your town planning consultant will be present. The idea is to reduce time spent on the planning application and to iron out any problems early in the project, whilst obtaining Council’s perspective if the application was to be lodged in its current form.

Town planning consultants have the experience to be able to adopt the right diplomatic approach and talk the same language as the local government officials who will be involved in your project. They can review further information or requests Council requires and be the link between you and the designer/architect to communicate this message to address Council’s requirements. Getting the planners onside is only going to make life easier in the long run and avoid time delays which can put a further strain on your budget.

More importantly, town planning consultants have built a good relationship with local government officials, which will help when it comes to working through the Council application process. Consultants have a professional relationship with Council planning officers and in turn, they are respected for their knowledge and understanding.

Using a firm who is held in respect by the local Council will help when it comes to ensuring a straightforward and efficient development process, so enlist the help of the professionals and reap the benefits this brings.

For over 50 years, Barker Monahan has performed work on the development of projects, large and small, for residential, commercial and industrial properties. The team of certified and experienced planning consultants have established expertise and built strong long-term relationships with numerous councils to fulfil their clients’ objectives and implement their projects with as little red-tape as possible. Contact them today for more information.

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