How to get planning permission to expand your business
If your business is growing, sooner or later it’s likely that you will need to expand into bigger premises.
Business owners are often finding that is easier said than done, with a limited supply of new industrial and office land and development in many parts of the South East. Senior management are also often reluctant to relocate their businesses, especially when they have built up a strong and loyal local workforce. Splitting operations across different sites can also often be inefficient and unviable, making that an unattractive solution.
DHA Planning has helped businesses in such situations to expand into new premises on adjacent sites, allowing plenty of room for growth whilst providing continuity and job security to existing employees. Even when local planning policies would appear not to support such expansion, it can often be worthwhile to get a professional opinion on whether there might be some flexibility applied, especially at a time when national planning policy is so supportive of economic expansion.
We’ve secured some important planning permissions in recent months for companies looking to expand in this way. Sussex-based Tesla Engineering, who design and build magnets from an industrial estate location on the edge of the South Downs National Park, employ around 300 people making them a key local employer. In 2011, DHA secured planning permission from Horsham District Council for a new factory on a green field opposite their existing site, even though planning policy protected it as countryside. Not only did this help retain the business locally, it allowed it to grow to the extent that Tesla came back to us in 2016 asking for two further factory buildings in the adjacent field. I’m pleased to say we secured permission for those too.
Kent-based bathroom products distributor Claygate Distribution have had a similar experience. After being scattered around several disparate buildings in Marden, DHA secured permission for a new state-of-the-art warehouse on land adjacent to their existing industrial estate, allowing them to combine all of their operations into a single building. The efficiencies of the new building enabled such significant growth that they too came back to DHA asking for additional floorspace, which we secured permission for shortly afterwards.
When Jacksons Fencing needed to strengthen their market leading position by consolidating their operations, improving efficiency and reducing reliance on off-site and outsourced parts of production, they approached DHA for help. We secured permission for 8,000 sqm of new offices, timber stores and a metal fabrication and powder coating plant in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Our Transport team also helped to demonstrate that lorry movements would not adversely affect the rural road network, and we secured planning permission with support from Shepway District Council’s planning committee.
Also in Kent, DHA have recently secured planning permission for a large warehouse and packing plant for one of the country’s leading soft fruit suppliers, Berry Gardens. Their chosen site was in open countryside, again adjacent to their existing operation. DHA put together a team of experts including ecologists and landscape consultants as well as using our in-house planning, design, transport and environmental impact expertise and worked with the local authority to secure permission for the 13,991 sqm facility, securing over 434 existing jobs and generating 500 new jobs over the next few years.
In order to secure these successes, we have worked closely with the planning and economic development departments at local authorities, as well as district and parish councillors, to help ensure that the importance of such projects to the local economy is fully understood. A full understanding of relevant planning and environmental issues is also essential, with all parties needing to work together to secure an end result that works for everybody.
This all takes time, so it is important to businesses to get an early view on what may or may not be possible, before devoting too many resources to the project. At DHA, we are always very happy to undertake planning appraisals of sites to give early advice on the prospects of success. Some businesses have also employed us to undertake an assessment of a wider range of potential sites, asking us to rank them according to planning prospects and likely timescales.
If you would like further advice on how we can help your business to grow, we would be very happy to hear from you. For a no-obligation chat, please get in touch with Jonathan Buckwell in our Crawley office by using our contact form or by calling 01293 763086.
Jonathan Buckwell, Planning Director