44 Leigh Road, Eastleigh (J/17/80435, F/17/81222)

Instructed again by RT Homes, I prepared an application to Eastleigh Borough Council, seeking its prior approval for the conversion of former offices to 5 flats. It was necessary to fully research the planning history of the site to establish the lawfulness of the existing Class B1 (a) office use, so as to trigger the relevant permitted development rights under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015 (as amended). I prepared the necessary floor layouts to support the application, which was quickly supported by the council under reference J/17/80435.

The client then instructed Nicholas Jenkins of Wildem Architecture Ltd and myself to add value to the project by utilising the main roof void and exploring the potential of a first floor rear extension.  This was quickly submitted for the council’s consideration.

The council case officer considered some adjustments were necessary, to protect the light and outlook to a neighbouring first floor flat and improve overall headroom within the top flat.  Whilst I would not normally promote such a wide dormer window, its relative lack of visibility in the wider public realm was accepted by the council.  Planning permission was granted under reference F/17/81222.

Former Battle of Minden PH, 127 Mary's Road, Portsmouth (17/00034/PAPA04 & 17/00865/FUL)

Representing Kipcroft Properties, who found me via my LinkedIn webpage, I brought in Chris Flint Associates and Transport Consultant Paul Denyer to engage with Portsmouth City Council’s pre-application planning service. The former pub was about to cease trading and the client wanted to pursue redevelopment and conversion options, including a partial change of the bar area to a shop, with a number of flats in the remainder of the building. The potential to extend and use the main roof void was also explored.

The client gained valuable insights into what the council would be likely to accept, including the amount of on-site parking likely to be sought.  This crystallised the options to one of adaptation of the main roof void, first floor infill extension and conversion of the building to 6 flats. ACHIEVE then coordinated submission of the formal planning application, supported by a transport statement by Paul Denyer of pdt (Hampshire) including overnight surveys to identify parking stress, to justify the level of on-site car parking being put forward.

A number of residual issues emerged from the monitoring of 3rd party representations and the case officer wanting the roof infill profile modified.  I was able to co-ordinate these adjustments, including quickly having the client commission John Poland of Hampshire Ecological Services Ltd, to confirm no bats were roosting at the site. I also liaised with the council’s Highways Officer to tease out how two additional car parking spaces might be accommodated on site, before Chris Flint properly amended the submitted plans.

These amendments were then reported to Members via a list procedure and attracting no request to bring the application to the Planning Committee, Officers were able to grant permission under their delegated powers.

“The service offered was well informed, helpful and proactive in identifying potential solutions to problems.

Client DM (27.6.2018)

75 Portswood Road, Southampton (16/01787/FUL)

Working for client RT Homes and their architect Nicholas Jenkins of Coast Architecture Ltd, added value was created at this property by building an extension, developing the main roof void and re-configuring the property from 3 flats to 1 x 3 bed house and 3 x 2 bed apartments. Apart from a modest adjustment to cut back the width of the rear first floor addition, no further amendments were necessary and planning permission was granted.

4 Havant Road, Emsworth (APP/16/01222, APP/16/01224)

Instructed by my client who had recently relocated his private dental practice in Emsworth, Hampshire, Havant Borough Council were persuaded to accept revised designs for a non-illuminated, applied letter sign and a forecourt sign. Prominently located on a gable wall of a Grade II Listed Building just outside the north-west edge of the Emsworth Conservation Area, council officers needed to be persuaded that the revised proposals were respectful of these important heritage assets.

A full supporting planning and heritage statement was prepared and close dialogue kept with the client and his signage concepts prepared by Clear Signal of Cliddesden, Hampshire.


These were superimposed on dimensioned photography I had taken.

Being satisfied, Havant Borough Council granted both Express Advertisement Consent (APP/16/01222) and Listed Building Consent (APP/16/01224) for the new signage, which is now in place.  The client also has placed an informative text of the property’s history on the reverse of the forecourt sign.

“Steve from the outset was accommodating, quickly arranging a site meeting to discuss possibilities. He was easy to keep in contact with and realistic when suggesting suitable plans, accounting for our preferences. He made the process much less stressful than it would have otherwise been as he knew all the appropriate procedures and current legislation. The planning was achieved on the first submission which was extremely pleasing.”

Client Testimonial (28.1.2018)

Land rear of 105 Whites Road, fronting Deacon Road, Sholing (15/00180/FUL, 16/01359/FUL)

The client owned a semi-detached, corner property with a large rear garden.  Sanders Design Services got me on board with this project to advise the client on the best way to overcome a refusal for a pair of semi-detached houses at the site under Southampton City Council reference 15/00180/FUL.

Liaising the council’s case officer to fully understand the council’s concerns, a site concept for a part single and part two storey dwelling was devised and shared with the client.

The client then instructed Sanders Design Services Ltd to fully work-up the scheme for submission by myself, with a clear design and access statement setting out how the 15/00180/FUL reasons for refusal had been addressed.  It was also essential that an adequate garden space would be retained for 105 Whites Road itself.

Close dialogue with the client then led to further design adjustments and the submission of a full application under council reference 16/01359/FUL.

Cues were taken from nearby dwellings to inform and articulate the final appearance of the dwelling, creating a spacious 3-bed, family home with wrap around, private garden space.

Keeping a close track on public comments made on the council’s webpages, I was able to comment on their concerns and convince the case officer that the revised proposals had fully addressed previous reasons for refusal.

Permission was then quickly granted under Officer delegated powers and the proposals have subsequently been commenced and were nearing completion when I last passed the site on 3 November 2017.

Land rear of 70-72 Bath Road, Harefield (17/00658/FUL)

Although I took an initial look in 2015, I was instructed in 2017 to apply for planning permission for a single bungalow on a challenging backland site.  Not least so, because an Appeal for a similar proposal had been dismissed in 1991.

However, the character of the area had changed since that time and a favourable pre-application response to the client via Malcolm Stevens of Metroscape, encouraged the client to instruct me to co-ordinate the submission of a full planning application.

With a narrow, long access point and sloping site, various matters had to be overcome, including the commissioning of Sophie Rogers of SJM Ecology to prepare a phase 1 habitat survey of this now overgrown site.  Careful positioning of the dwelling footprint also had to be considered to accord with the council’s recommended window to window separation distances, whilst achieving on-site turning and not impinging on a legal right of way enjoyed by a neighbouring property.

Ultimately, the council planning officers wanted the inter-relationship of properties improved, such that each occupiers’ privacy might be safeguarded.

This entailed a novel design solution of partially terracing the site and using a summer-house to create a ‘no vision’ zone to achieve the desired privacy, all demonstrated with sectional drawings prepared by Malcolm Stevens of Metroscape and informed by a full topographical survey.

Given complicated land parcels comprising the site, it was considered necessary to issue ownership Certificate ‘C’ and place an advert in the local paper to ensure the application was correctly made and thereby any favourable decision not open to later challenge.

Despite waiting some time to see the council re-notify amendments to neighbours, whose concerns were addressed in further correspondence with the council, planning permission was obtained, giving the client confidence to realise an option to purchase the site.


The council had been persuaded that matters of concern to the 1991 Planning Inspector, were either materially different now or had been satisfactorily addressed by the bespoke design solution. 

“ACHIEVE Town Planning and Urban Design Ltd provided the ultimate solution to my planning nightmare. With their expert advice and guidance they obtained planning on a very difficult site that tested all aspects of the planning process. Steve Lawrence (Director for Achieve) used his vast experience and knowledge of planning and architecture to provide a first class professional service and project information that could satisfy the requirements of the Council planners. It was a great pleasure to have worked with ACHIEVE and I would have no hesitation in using their services again or recommending them to others.' Many thanks for your efforts and hopefully we will be working together soon.”

Testimonial (17.1.2018)

2 Doncaster Road, Eastleigh (F/16/77972)

Consulted by Sanders Design Services Ltd, I met with the client and took their instructions to seek to address a seemingly incredulous decision by Eastleigh Borough Council not to renew a lapsed permission.  This permission had proposed to extend and part convert a ground floor hairdressing salon to create a further flat, whilst also extending an existing separate first floor flat above.

A full design and access statement and modestly adjusted scheme were prepared in close consultation with the client, to demonstrate the proposals were actually compliant with the (out of date) Development Plan for the Borough.

Negotiations were then entered into to bottom out what developer contributions would meet the statutory national tests, reasonably related to the development sought. Permission was finally granted, with the client satisfied with this outcome.

Havant Rugby Football Club, Fraser Road, Bedhampton (APP/15/00832)

Securing its future as part of a strategy to grow participation in rugby football union, the Club - (established in 1951) - was looking to make better use of its clubhouse, to generate income to develop its sporting ambitions, including returning its 1st XV to the RFU’s national leagues.

I was brought in (just as I had been in 1997/1998 for a project to floodlight the 2nd XV pitch) to submit a planning application to secure flexible mixed use of the clubhouse, including a ground floor space for a children’s day nursery and extension to the main 1st floor function space, by converting a pair of under-used squash courts.

Externally, elevational changes, a new spectator balcony that would oversail storage space and an outdoor, enclosed playspace created for the day nursery were proposed.

Finally, an external underused council MUGA play court was to be resurfaced to form a qualitative enhancement of that playing surface to enable rugby skills training when grass pitches were waterlogged/unplayable.

It was possible to convince Sport England and Havant Borough Council that loss of the squash courts - (whose use and membership had been in decline for some time) - would be compensated for by the qualitative improvements of the MUGA and by preparing an assessment of remaining squash facilities in the locality.

Planning permission was granted under Officer delegated powers without needing to report the matter to elected Members.

“Happy to support your business.”


Alan Newton

Commercial Director

Havant Rugby Football Club Ltd. (23.1.2018)

Opposing a domestic extension, Horndean (53580, APP/M1710/D/16/3145640)

“I am very happy to recommend the planning services of Steve Lawrence.  His advice, research of the area and carefully crafted correspondence to the Council was very good value for money and definitely contributed to the successful result that we were hoping for.


Client Testimonial (13.1.2016)

Wishing to safeguard the residential amenities of their 1879 (but unlisted) home, I was instructed to write a letter of objection to a neighbour’s proposed extension, submitted to East Hampshire District Council (Reference 53580).

Their detached home (left in the first photograph to the left), originally a farmhouse, had seen its surrounding farmland subsequently developed for housing (see in second and third images to the left of this text).

Details of the applicant’s extension can be viewed by going to –

A comprehensive review of the Development Plan was used to test the proposals for a first floor and two storey side extension with single storey rear extension.  A detailed letter of objection was drafted for the client’s approval, making full reference to all relevant local plan policies.

The Council’s Conservation Officer was approached to comment on the impact of the extensions on the setting of my client’s home – an undesignated heritage asset, whilst the client sought to lobby the local Ward Councillor, to request that the application be brought to the Planning Committee for debate and determination be elected Members.

Whereas Officers ultimately recommended the scheme for approval, I was instructed to speak against the application when it came to Committee.

Acting on the clients’ instructions to read an agreed for-shortened deputation, I was able to deliver the salient points of objection in the allotted 3 minute time slot.

There was a very close 7-6 vote to refuse the application and the client was very satisfied with this outcome. This was not the end of the story though. An Appeal was lodged (APP/M1710/D/16/3145640)  and as is the case with Householder applications, no further written submissions from third parties or the council would be entertained by The Planning Inspectorate.

In dismissing the Appeal 13.6.16, the Inspector opined –

“…the extension would appear to be of contrived design that does not relate well to the existing building. The extended building would also appear to be cramped on its plot and unduly close to and dominant in relation to the adjacent property, notwithstanding that property’s siting on higher ground. It would therefore be a discordant feature in the street scene and harmful to the setting of the former farmhouse and to the character and appearance of the surrounding area generally.”


A permission was subsequently granted under reference 53580/001 for a single storey wrap around extension, which did not have the same harmful effects on the client’s property.  For reference, details of those reduced proposals can be viewed by going to –

Groundworks as part of implementing the development were seen to be underway  7-1-2018 and the differing site levels to the client’s property can be seen in the last image on the left.

11 Bournemouth Road, Chandlers Ford (F/15/76768, F/15/77662)

Facing non-renewal of their lease, in premises just a short distance away from the application site (since demolished), the client - goPhysio ( - sought my help to secure planning permission for mixed use as a private physiotherapy clinic and shop selling products related to the rehabilitation of patients.

Notwithstanding the mixed use not being a pure Class A1 use and a percentage of such non A1 usage already exceeding the prescribed Policy level, I was able to argue –

  • The obvious merits of the use taking pressure off the NHS and already operating successfully in the area;

  • The premises having been empty for 3 years and making no contribution to the vitality and viability of this local shopping centre;

  • The fact that the local plan was very out of date, given the National Planning Policy Framework to first and foremost promote economic growth; and,

  • Emphasising the retail element of the mixed use, with retained shop display windows.

These arguments were accepted by the council and planning permission was granted by Eastleigh Borough Council under reference F/15/76768.

Fresh instructions were then taken from the client to seek a further permission to extend the property at the rear above the existing rear, ground floor projection.  This was to provide a Pilates studio space for sessional treatment classes and additional supporting administrative accommodation in the roof-space.  Malcolm Stevens of Metroscape was quickly brought on board to prepare supporting plans.

Although initially a flat had been proposed in the roof-space, to be made more commodious by a large side rear dormer, those elements were subsequently removed from the proposals to secure officer support to application reference F/15/77662, following concerns about overall levels of car parking to support the enlarged premises and overlooking a neighbouring dwelling.

The client has subsequently moved in and is now successfully trading from the enlarged new premises.

“I would have no hesitation in recommending Steve from Achieve. He was methodical, focused and calm, making the whole planning process easier. His level of knowledge and understanding enabled us to achieve the best possible outcome from our planning application. Kind Regards, Fiona (

Client Testimonial (16.1.2018)

87 Above Bar Street, Southampton (15/01887/FUL)

Planning permission was obtained for the client to convert 4 levels of a core retail street premises to a restaurant within Class A3 and related kitchen extract flue.

The premises had been vacant for some time and the widening of potential uses was seen as a means of more effectively marketing interest in the premises to a wider number of potential occupiers.

Careful survey work needed to be undertaken to address the council’s policy tests relating to non-Class A1 uses in defined primary shopping frontages.

The client ultimately found that potential restaurateurs did not wish to lease 4 levels of accommodation, so a revised strategy of utilising new permitted development rights to create up to 3 flats in 150 sq.m of most of the first and all the second floor was sought under reference 16/02191/PAC3.  The council’s prior approval was granted and it is understood the flats have subsequently been implemented.

'Diegos', 10-11 Bedford Place, Southampton (15/01470/FUL)

Planning permission was obtained for the family restaurateur specialising in Portuguese cuisine to operate a flexible mixed use, encompassing eating, dining, dancing, drinking, dance tuition and live entertainment within Use Classes A3/A4/A5/D1 and D2.  A covered roof terrace structure was also secured for patrons who wanted to smoke at the premises.

Careful research of the site history (whose Class A3 hours of trading had never been controlled by planning condition) and council approach through the promotion of the late-night economy in the City Centre Masterplan, were brought to bear to persuade the council’s Planning and Rights of Way Panel to support the application.

A deputation was made for the client, given a small but vociferous group of local residents who sought to oppose the application painting the use to be contributing to anti-social behaviour in local side streets.  Member support was unanimous for the mixed use sought.

“Dear Steve, First of all a big thanks to all the hard work you have been doing for me and on my behalf. Despite the outcome of the last case - (17/01831/PLDC) - I just wanted to say that I have been recommending you and your services to other people, obviously this shows how pleased I am with your work. Please feel free to publish my case on your website. It was a great pleasure working with you and I would always ask for your services again. Kind Regards, Luis

Client Testimonial/Restaurant Proprietor (15.1.2018)