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Why You Should Never be Pushy with a Planning Officer

Planning Applications are long winded, expensive, and as a result can be quite stressful. But you cannot "push" an application through a planning officer. You can push an application, but not the officer.

There are plenty of legal, and technical mechanisms that can be employed in order to obtain planning permission. But being pushy or rude with your planning officer will work against you every time. One has to consider that Planning Officers are in the business of enforcement. A comparison might be a police officer.


Bad Ideas

Good Ideas

Planning "Police"

If you intending to commit a crime, would you say to an observing police officer: "I am going to rob this bank whether you like it of not", and then expect them to be helpful? We have been involved in planning applications numerous times, where the applicant has taken a belligerent attitude with the planning officer:

The way to approach a planning Officer is with questions, everything outside of submitting documents should be questions:

Once you have "upset" an planning officer they will not be working with you, they will be working against you.

But This Makes You Look Weak?

Yes, perhaps. But it is the easiest way to get planning permission, and life is difficult enough. It is OK to swallow your pride, if it enables you to reach your goal. In any case most planning officers are quite helpful, but like any human being they resist if pushed.

What if this doesn't Work?

If a question is not answered in a constructive manner then this immediately places the negative emphasis on the planning officer. We are not saying that this is a "battle tactic" quite the reverse, these questions work, they help set out out a way forward, and in many cases the planning officer will like having the questions asked, it shows them that you recognise them as a source of knowledge, and we have had a great deal of helpful advice over the years.

In short you should consider planning officers as a resource, rather then an obstacle. Of course there are some instances where a question will not work, and in those cases there are other firmer routes to take. But in the vast majority of cases "kindness effects more than severity".

Image: Wheeler Cowperthwaite -  Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic