Pre Application Planning Advice
As a Council, we are committed to providing an efficient and effective planning service, which seeks to secure appropriate forms of development to promote regeneration and improve the quality of the District's built and natural environment. As part of this process it is key that decisions at all levels are taken in a timely manner. With this in mind, we recognise the value of pre-application discussions for the efficient handling of subsequent applications, and therefore encourage applicants, developers and their agents to engage in this process, particularly on major development proposals.
Open and constructive pre-application discussions are an opportunity for the Development Control Service and developers to work together to achieve developments that deliver benefits to the community and the economy. This can save time, costs and frustration along with optimising the potential of a site. A formalised pre-application process for certain applications will provide a better service for applicants and help to filter out speculative or poorly thought out proposals.
The provision of pre-application advice can be time consuming and expensive, and to date has been provided free of charge to developers, agents and applicants. However, the service does have a cost, which in the past has been met by the District's council tax payers, many of whom will never engage with the planning service.
The Council took the decision to introduce fees for Pre-Application Planning Advice from April 1st 2011. This will mean that there is a fairer process in place, with the users of the service being asked to pay for the work associated with the process. From the 1st April 2013, the Council will be introducing a charge for Pre-Application Advice on Householder Developments (alterations and extensions to a domestic property) and for Tree advice on works to trees covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) or trees in a Conservation Area.
How to seek Pre-application planning advice.
Any request for pre application advice must be made on the Pre-application Planning Advice Request Form, you can download this from the Planning Forms page. As part of the application the following information should be provided:
- detailed site address
- details of the current use
- description of proposal to include scale and use
- site location plan
- plans of any proposals (if appropriate) to include sketch drawings providing details of the layout and elevations that are sufficient to indicate the initial architectural approach and details of proposed materials, existing elevation and floor plans proposed elevations and floor plans, existing and proposed site layout including parking details, access arrangements, outline of landscape principles for the site.
- any other supporting information such as photographs, design statements, materials street scene images and consultation responses;
If it is considered that elements of the information requested are not necessary by the enquirer, this must be justified in an accompanying statement.
What we will do
Acknowledge receipt of the pre-application submission by letter or email within 5 working days from when the request is received by the Development Control Service.
Review the information submitted, and issue an acknowledgement if the application is valid or request further information if required.
Valid applications will be allocated to an appropriate officer.
The case officer will respond within 28 days from the date the application is confirmed as valid, unless in the case of major or complex proposals, an extension of time is agreed.
Provide an officer's considered response to the proposal in a letter including the planning policy context, any relevant history, internal consultation responses, any other relevant material planning considerations any potential planning obligation requirements.
Give details of any documentation/reports/assessments which will be required as part of any formal planning application, based on the information provided the enquirer.
If a meeting is requested for any of the categories, this will be arranged for a mutually convenient time within 10-15 working days from the date of request.
Status of Advice
Any advice that is given by Council officers, whether paid for under this service or not, is given in good faith and to the best of our ability. Any views or opinions expressed by officers are done so without prejudice to the formal consideration of the planning application. Any subsequent application for planning permission or consent relating to the pre-application proposals will be subject to full statutory consultation and determined by the Council's Planning Committee or by the Head of Planning, Community Safety and Regulatory Services under the scheme of delegation authority. You should therefore be aware that officers' advice would not guarantee planning permission or consent relating to the formal consideration of your planning or related application by the Planning Committee or the Head of Planning, Community Safety and Regulatory Services.
We seek to process all applications within the periods set out above, unless an extended period is agreed with the applicant.
We would expect that formal applications which have been subject to the pre-application advice process, should normally be dealt within the 8/13 week period.
Schedule of Fees
Please use the link to our PLANNING AND BUILDING CONTROL FEES and CHARGES page for more information, the fees are to be reviewed annually.