Coffee Shop Drive Thru Permission

Project Summary

Graham + Sibbald were instructed to obtain Planning Permission for a drive thru coffeeshop in Carlisle.

Why G+S

If you are looking for a Planning team that take a pro-active approach and has a highly successful track record of securing Planning Permission, then we are the company to contact.

We work on a mix of commercial and residential planning projects throughout Scotland and England, providing a full range of planning services (including appeals) for both private and public sector clients.

We work with specialist technical consultants and public affairs consultants to ensure that any issues (such as complaints from the public) are dealt with professionally and in good time. We are practical and business- focused, always looking for ways in which we can help our clients maximise the value of their assets.


The initial contact was held with Carlisle City Council Planning Department to establish acceptability of the proposal. After positive feedback on the proposal, the project timescales were drawn up. During the design phase, the scheme subsequently changed after viability concerns were raised surrounding the refurbishment of the existing building, with our planners advising on the likelihood of gaining consent for the revised scheme.

A second round of consultations were held with the planning department where further positive feedback was received. This proposal therefore progressed to preparation of a planning application. It was identified that the site was located in an employment area, and therefore G+S provided planning justification emphasising the financial contribution and employment- generating aspects of the development, along with compliance with all other relevant planning policies.

G+S provided continuous engagement and contact with the planning officer to ensure a positive decision. The team also produced provision of additional information (in this case a Sequential Assessment) at short notice on the planning officers request.

We gained receipt of approval verbally before a formal decision was issued to allow the client to instruct work.

Due to the length of the Section 106 legal process, there was some delay in the previously estimated timescales for obtaining the decision. Communication was maintained between the Planning Officer and the client throughout this, in order to ensure that the client remained informed about the progress. A decision was ultimately achieved with minimal delay due to continuing discussion and engagement.

Key Challenges

Originally it was planned to convert the existing building (car showroom) into the drive thru coffee shop/co-working space, but this proved economically inviable. G+S advised that the existing building be demolished and erect a new structure in its place.

This meant navigating the separate consenting processes for demolition of the old building, and planning permission for the new building (these were carried out separately). There were added complications due to separate negotiations over a Section 106 legal agreement that delayed the issuing of consent.

G+S had to be flexible to respond to the changing nature of the proposal to fit the clients needs/budget, and provision of additional information to planning officer requests. There was a challenging tight timescale for the client due to availability of contractors and to ensure a decision was made on time.

Services Provided

Some of the services that were provided throughout this project:

  • Engagement with local authority
  • Planning advice to allow client to make informed decisions on best options for the site
  • Preparation and submission of planning application
  • Preparation of Planning Support Statement, and sequential assessment
  • Continued engagement with local authority to ensure a decision was delivered as quickly as possible


Planning consent obtained in line with project timescale to allow works to proceed on time and as scheduled.

This project has created 20 new jobs and 13 Electric Vehicle superchargers.

Key Message

Frequent communication with the project manager and the rest of the team was a key part of the success of this project as well as using existing relationships with other team members, such as the architect and transport consultant, to help move the project forward.

Having regular engagement with the planning officer and a swift response to any planning issues that arose during the determination period of application helped to make the client trust the process with G+S.

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