Who we are…

Smart Planning was founded by our Principal Director in 2002 who has over 25 years of experience working for both Local Authorities and in private practice. Although primarily based in Essex, our services can be provided nationwide. For instance we have represented clients in the South West, the North and Wales. In addition to providing planning services to clients, Smart Planning is also very engaged within the industry. Smart Planning is an RTPI Learning Partner and is ISO9001 registered and Investors in People accredited.

What we do…

Smart Planning’s approach is to deliver honest, reliable advice and planning outcomes in a timely and cost effective way. Although we can never guarantee success, we provide bespoke advice for each development proposal and offer a refined assessment regarding the likelihood of success as opposed to providing generic statements about the uncertainties of the planning system. We prefer to be upfront about what is achievable and tailor proposals to maximise the prospect of success, rather than proceeding with developments that have little chance of approval.


Smart Planning is structured to offer the most cost effective planning outcomes. Our Planning Consultants are Chartered Town Planners or working towards Chartered Membership of the RTPI and are priced at an hourly rate which reflects their education, training, expertise, and overall ability. All projects are supervised by an experienced Planning Consultant who ensures that projects are managed effectively and that any output is of the highest standard. The Planning Consultants are supported by a Planning Support Team (PST) whose members have a variety of technical and administrative skills relevant to the planning system. The PST includes members who possess Associate RTPI qualifications and others who are working towards this qualification. This structure allows for cost effective planning, as it ensures that Planning Consultants are not undertaking administrative tasks at an unduly high hourly rate.


Smart Planning offers a full range of planning services throughout the planning process from initial site appraisals and pre-application advice through to securing planning permissions and lodging appeals when required. I have listed some of the services Smart Planning offers below which is by no means an exhaustive list.


  • Site Appraisals. Assessing the possibility and likely success of achieving planning permission for proposed developments. This is done either during a meeting with the client or through desk studies with advice provided over the phone or in writing.
  • Constraints Checking. Establishing whether there are any constraints to development including Rights of Way, Proof of Title and ransom strips, planning history, policy designations, Tree Preservation Orders etc.
  • Baseline Studies. Initial reports and illustrative layouts to determine what might be achievable on a site and the possibilities for development.


  • Planning Applications (Operational Development and Change of Use)
  • Permitted Development Applications including Prior Approval and CLOPUDs
  • Lawful Development Certificates
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Advertisement Consent

Although we generally run projects in their entirety from start to finish, we are happy to provide individual reports and to work with other consultants and architects as required. Listed below are some of the individual services and reports we offer.

  • Planning Support Statements
  • Design and Access Statements
  • Design Services
  • Masterplanning
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments
  • Heritage Statements
  • Sourcing reports from external consultants as required


  • Discharging of Planning Conditions
  • Appeals  (written, hearings and public inquiries)
  • Confirming commencement of developments

Additional Services

Development Plan and Policy Representations

  • Development Plan Monitoring. Consistent and formalised approach for each individual Local Planning Authority to monitor emerging policy.
  • Formal Representations. Acting on behalf of clients to respond to emerging policy.
  • Submission of sites for allocation within emerging Local Development Plans.


Smart planning works with a range of clients in a number of different sectors. Below is an idea of the sectors we work in, which again is not an exhaustive list.

  • Residential
  • Domestic alterations and extensions
  • Replacement dwellings
  • Agricultural to residential conversions
  • Larger residential developments for multiple dwellings
  • Commercial
  • Leisure
  • Agricultural
  • Heritage