What types of properties do you find in most towns? For many people, houses will be the first feature that comes to mind. A good mix of homes for different sizes of families, but many other buildings and features will form an essential part of every town. Working with a town planning consultant can ensure that your development is well thought through and won't run into any obstacles during the planning or approvals stage. In addition to housing, the town planning consultant can help you think about a suitable blend of retail outlets, open spaces and community assets.

Planning the development as a whole should ensure the success of the project. Treating each element separately will lead to disconnects between each part and a town that lacks cohesiveness.

Housing - Thinking about who will live on or near your development will help to decide not just the number and size of the homes needed, but also many of the other features that may be required.

Retail - How big will your development be? A selection of smaller shops may be necessary to accommodate local shops, but do you also want to include larger chain stores that occupy larger retail units.

Community spaces - In addition to shops and houses, a community needs spaces for people to come together. These might be cafes, churches, community halls and even youth clubs and bars. Consider both where people will spend their free time and how their daily needs will be met. Any area that can't meet needs locally will soon die as people move away to somewhere that doesn't involve so much travelling. A town planning consultant can examine the area around your development and see whether more schools, hospitals, surgeries or similar facilities must be included in your plans.

In the open-air - A living community is about more than buildings. You may want to include trees, parks, open squares or other spaces that people can gather and spend time playing or talking.

Processing the project - No town planning project can proceed without official planning, and local approval isn't always easy to obtain. A town planning consultant can conduct valuable research and help you to demonstrate how your project will benefit the area. If there are any consultations or planning meetings, the town planning consultant can speak publicly in favour of the development and answer any questions posed by sceptical local residents.