Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Preparation is everything...

SLR are the team of consultants charged with securing planning permission for Aggregate Industries at Straitgate. SLR’s Head of Marketing has recently written about "Why joined-up EIA de-risks planning".

It was, of course, after one of SLR’s joined-up Environmental Impact Assessment exercises that AI withdrew its planning applications for Straitgate and Blackhill. There's not much to smile about in AI's ongoing quest to quarry the living daylights out of the East Devon countryside, but perhaps local people would like to see how little they recognise in these claims from SLR:
... how can you ensure your development sails through in 13 weeks as opposed to being mired in costly battles?
Preparation is everything and it is absolutely critical to get the right players in place from the outset. Increasingly this means an experienced team with a joined-up approach so that issues are identified and proactively resolved from the outset. It means having the right creative approach to masterplanning and landscape so that development complements and enhances its surroundings, especially if AONB or Green Belt is a consideration. It means proven strategies in relation to flood risk and sensitive mitigation of ecology and archaeology. It means early and meaningful engagement with all stakeholders, especially local communities, by ensuring there really is something in it for everyone with development that enhances and becomes an asset to their community. It means designing-in a strong sense of place with sensory considerations like health, wellbeing and security as an innate part of the vision. It means using savvy planners who fully understand the best way to position the development and seamlessly pull together the EIA to support your application.
In short, an intelligent, sensitive 'one team' approach will leave little space for refusal. All local authorities want good development and 'good' is actually quite well defined; the key is ensuring you have the right team to guide you towards that consent.
If AI - before the countless delays and requests for further reports, information and clarification - had been taken in by this sort of talk, by the promise of an experienced team with a joined-up approach so that issues are identified and proactively resolved from the outset, they must surely be regretting it now.