Every building project, however large or small, and no matter whether it is being undertaken by a professional outfit or an amateur individual, requires planning maps. So what are they? Maps, clearly – but of what nature and for what purpose? Knowing the basics can save a lot of time and trouble at the planning stage – which, as we all know from experience, in one form or another, is where the majority of delays in building projects occurs.
Maps for planning purposes fall into two basic categories. On the one hand, we have the site plan. The site plan is a map depicting the actual place in which the proposed build is to take place. A local authority needs to see a site map as one of its planning maps so it can determine the suitability of the immediate area in which building is to take place. Site plans allow local authorities to forecast what kind of visual, civic and practical effects a new building will have on the buildings in its immediate vicinity. Things like light blockage, fitting in with local character, obstruction or otherwise of sight lines from and on roads, are all considered. The site map allows a planning permission officer to clearly see what kind of change a building will make to its immediate environment.
The other types of planning maps all local authorities require, when a planning permission application is launched, are location plans. A location plan shows an overview of the area in which a proposed project is to take place: so, while the site plan shows, say, the actual plot of land on which a building is to grow, a location plan will show the town or village in which that plot resides.
The purpose of a location plan is much the same as the purpose of a site plan, only on a larger scale. Take the example of a supermarket. If a person or company proposes the building of a new supermarket, their planning maps will provide the following information. The site plan will give local authority employees a good idea of two things – what the proposed supermarket will look like, in its immediate vicinity – and whether or not the land chosen is suitable for building a supermarket on. The location plan will show local authority employees more detailed things: like how many other supermarkets there are in the area already; what kind of road access is currently in place to support the proposed location of the new supermarket; and so on.
Getting hold of maps like these used to be pretty tricky, because there’s no standardised scale for them. A local authority in one area may require its planning maps to be of one scale; while a local authority at the other end of the country might want different scales again. Fortunately, thanks to the Internet and its miniaturisation of the world of information, prospective developers can find not only the scales they need, but the actual maps: in one convenient location. Sites like GetMapping, are operating sophisticated programmes that deliver the right scaled location and site plans for whatever area of the country one is interested in. Planning maps are tricky no more.