Negotiating the complexities of the planning process

The successful delivery of your proposed development will hinge on being able to successfully navigate of the complexities of the UK planning system. Expert planning guidance can make all the difference to the success of your project.

Our team of experienced planning consultants works with landowners, developers and their teams across the UK, to advise on the most appropriate planning strategy to achieve planning consent and deliver on your project objectives.

Whether you are a landowner, housebuilder, investor, real estate company, or local authority, we will work closely with you at each stage of the planning process, guiding your project from concept to design, right through to completion.

Our people, your partners

With experience of working with over 60 local authorities across the UK, we have the skills necessary to navigate each and every stage of the planning process – from site search to commencement to project completion.

Our planners are expert collaborators with a ‘can do’ attitude, and will work with you, the project team and LPA, to ensure a deliverable and viable end result.

We can see your project through from site identification to completion, but we are equally at home being brought in to consult on specialist requirements at any stage of the planning process.

Two words spring to mind when I think about my long and fruitful working relationship with Vail Williams. The first is “trust” which is vital when dealing with huge projects that impact on so many lives. The second is how much they “care” about my business and the projects we work on together. I see them as a responsive partner rather than a supplier.

Janet King, Former Director of HR & Corporate Services, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Our Services Diverse experience
Site identification
Site promotion
Pre-application discussions

We will engage with the Local Planning Authority (LPA), building relationships and negotiating with planning officers and others involved in the planning process, to help resolve matters prior to the submission of a planning application.

Consultation and engagement

Communication with key stakeholders is essential to aid your planning application. Our planning team is experienced in coordinating public consultation events, meetings with local interest groups and engaging with local councillors and other key consultees.

Planning application & project management

We project manage the planning application phase from setting the most appropriate planning strategy, engagement of the project team (including selection of key consultants) and preparing planning documents to support your planning application.

Planning permission granted

We work with LPAs and statutory consultees to resolve any matters arising through the determination period, to give the greatest possible chance of planning success, whilst minimising planning conditions attached to a decision notice.

Discharge of conditions

We will work hard to minimise the number of pre-commencement conditions attached to a decision notice, to avoid project delays, by providing technical details to support the development. Once the decision notice is received, we will manage the discharge of conditions, ensuring those on the critical path to implementing the development are discharged in a timely fashion.

Amendments to applications

After planning permission is obtained and a contractor is appointed, amendments can be required. We can make these on your behalf, including changes to programme timings.


We will advise you when you can put a ‘spade in the ground’ and when a planning permission has been lawfully implemented.

Completion of project

Once construction is complete, we will confirm whether all conditions have been complied with and the development has been constructed in accordance with the planning permission. We can also advise on any post-completion matters which you may have.

Strategic planning

Some development proposals require a longer term strategic approach utilising consistent and clear site promotion objectives throughout the plan-making process.

Our planning team can advise you on the complexities and significant benefits of site promotion and will actively engage with local authorities, parish councils, key stakeholders and other influential bodies, on your behalf. Drawing on expertise from our development, investment and building consultancy teams, we will scrutinise emerging local plans, submit representations and respond to LPA ‘Calls for Sites’.

Health, education & Leisure

We have particular experienced in the health, education and leisure sectors, where we have delivered everything from multi-million pound hospitals, to schools, university buildings, science parks and community buildings.

Our experience in the senior living sector extends to care villages, care homes, extra care / assisted living and retirement. We also advise on niche projects including port developments, beach huts, nature trails and other community projects, which often have unique challenges requiring innovative planning solutions.


We represent many local, regional and national housebuilders as well as individuals and local authorities, on residential planning matters – from large developments of several hundred houses, to new or replacement single dwellings.

We also have specialist expertise in affordable housing, build to rent, student accommodation.


We advise many developers, investors and owner-occupiers in identifying sites across the UK for commercial development, supporting clients through all stages of the commercial planning process to deliver a variety of schemes, that are British Council for Offices compliant.

Public sector

Our planning consultants have a wealth of public sector experience and a thorough understanding of the political background and decision-making process within which local authorities work.

We have delivered integrated planning and development services for over 60 local authorities across the UK, from promoting sites for development and undertaking development appraisals, to commercial advice to maximise development value, as well as representations on local planning policies and projects.

Expert witness

We also act as Expert Witness, acting for Councils at planning appeals. We often provide advice in conjunction with our other disciplines such as valuation and development to provide a rounded assessment of development options and viability.

In this case, we offer expert planning advice on the best way to proceed in the event that a revised submission, appeal or combination of the two is required, and can provide Expert Witness representation for all stages of a planning appeal. We will advise on the most successful course of appeal, engage with legal advisers where appropriate and provide high quality, well-written evidence.