Entering the Hotel and Leisure Market Dealing with practical issues: The challenge of securing planning permission Ian Blacker Head of Planning Consultancy, John Rowan & Partners
The challenge of securing planning permission
The good news
Hotel and leisure uses bring investment, employment and activity.
Planning policy supports the principle of new hotel and leisure development (in town centres).
Negative “impacts” should tend to be low.
The not-to-good news
Many councils struggle to see beyond a list of practical concerns.
Complexity of planning process unrelated to size of site.
Planning doesn’t recognise the concept of “open for Xmas”.
Latest national planning policy
PPS4 (December 2009)
Government objectives include to: “build prosperous communities”…”offering a wide range of services to communities in an attractive and safe environment”…[with] competition and enhanced consumer choice through provision of innovative and efficient leisure and tourism services in town centres”.
Local Planning Authorities should: “set flexible policies for their centres which are able to respond to changing economic circumstances…and [should] encourage high density development with access by public transport…encourage a diverse range of complementary evening uses…[and] make provision where appropriate for leisure, cultural and tourism activities…”
Key tests within the latest planning policy
“ Where appropriate”
LPAs should “set out the number and scale of leisure developments they wish to encourage taking account of their potential impact , including cumulative impact, on the character and function of the centre, anti-social behaviour and crime, and the amenities of neighbouring residents”.
Planning applications should be assessed against the following impact considerations:
a. carbon dioxide emissions/vulnerability to climate change.
b. access by a choice of transport.
c. high quality and inclusive design.
d. impact on economic/physical regeneration.
e. impact on local employment.
Effective planning: meeting those challenges
Establish planning strategy and objectives at outset of project.
Client objectives: What; by when; at what cost?
identify risks and know response position and alternatives.
Justify why you’re not doing something as well as why you are.
Essential that the planning approach is informed by an understanding of the complexities of the hospitality industry as an operating business as well as a property business.
Highlight the physical and economic regeneration benefits these can deliver to individual buildings, neighbourhoods and whole towns.
Do your homework
Planning themes and issues
Tend to be national/strategic and political
Should be readily identifiable
Client position needs to be fixed before scheme put together
Tend to be local and “neighbourly”
May come late into the process
Client position needs to react quickly, assess impact and respond
Know the local issues
Proposals for new champagne bar and members club.
New planning designation precluding additional bars and late night uses in the area.
Strategy: Identify key decision-makers within the Council, understand their objectives in creating the new policy and demonstrating how operational and management controls could address their concerns.
Planning permission achieved for incorporation of additional space into the hotel to create a champagne bar and private members club.
Identify decision-makers and influencers (officers + Members)
Know the local issues
Proposals to increase both the number of rooms and standard of offer.
Building considered by locals and council to be too tall and detract visually from Conservation Area.
Strategy: Focussed on enhancing local context through a radical change to the building’s unloved appearance secured support from officers/members/ neighbours.
Height retained and bulk optimised. Approval for the transformation of the 60-bed hotel into 120-bed hotel secured under delegated powers.
Design sensitivities + neighbourly issues
Optimising your chances
Dos and don’ts
Accept that it’s going to take longer than you want.
Under-estimate your neighbours (or their willingness to “do a deal”).
Ever assume that it’s all sorted.
Hotel & Leisure Projects Effective Project Management Andrew Nycyk Head of Hotels and Leisure, John Rowan & Partners