Pre-application advice

We encourage agents, developers and householders to discuss their planning proposals with us before applying formally.

Charges for our pre-application advice service

Like most other councils, we charge for providing pre-application advice to developers and householders. We introduced these charges on 1 February 2017 so that we can recover the cost of providing the service and to reflect the officer time in responding.

Our planning officers continue to be available to discuss development proposals informally and to provide initial advice over the telephone.

However, if you want us to provide a written response, review submitted draft schemes or meet to discuss proposals, you will need to pay a charge in advance.

 Any advice we give before, or while we are considering an application, will be without prejudice to the outcome of any subsequent planning application..

Householders - domestic extensions and minor developments

We will continue to be available to speak to you by telephone and give informal advice on your project.

If you reach the stage where you'd like us to assess and give an opinion on a draft proposal, there will be a standard charge of £35 (inc VAT) to deal with your enquiry.

You will need to provide sketch proposals. When we have received these and your fee, we will begin to assess you pre-application submission.

We will provide you with a response within four weeks of receiving the proposals and fee. 

Smaller to medium-sized developments

If your proposal involves a change of use, creation of between one and ten new homes, or up to 1,000sqm of commercial floorspace, we charge £200 (inc VAT) for pre-application advice.

Our ability to provide detailed and valuable advice will depend on what you submit to us.

Before seeking pre-application advice, you should make sure you are aware of the policies and standards that apply, including those that relate to our Special Protection Area (SPA) avoidance and mitigation strategy. You can find details of our planning policies and standards on our planning policies pages.

You should also prepare a sketch proposal, which aims to comply with these policies and standards.

Once we have received your initial proposal and the fee, we will begin to assess your submission.

A planning officer will visit the site and, within four weeks of registration, supply a written assessment of the draft proposal. This will be in a standard format and will give an opinion of whether we would recommend the granting of planning permission.

The case officer will decide if there needs to be a meeting or to involve other specialist officers.

The advice will also include suggested measures which might make an unacceptable proposal satisfactory. Where applicable, and where it is available, residential proposals would receive an allocation of special protection area (SPA) mitigation in accordance with our avoidance mitigation strategy, as part of the response.

Major developments

If your proposal is for a major development, we charge a fee of £600 (inc VAT).

We consider a major development to be: 

  • More than ten homes
  • A residential site of of 0.5 hectares and above
  • 1,000sqm of commercial floorspace
  • Other sites of one hectare or more

You should make sure you are aware of background information on our planning policies and standards and, for residential development proposals, the requirements of our Special Protection Area (SPA) avoidance and mitigation strategy.

You should then contact us and we will invite you to submit sketch proposals, together with the fee.

An officer will visit the site and we will invite you to a meeting with either the Head of Planning or the Development Manager, together with a case officer and transportation strategy and policy officers, where appropriate.

Within four weeks of the meeting, we will provide you with a written assessment of the draft proposal. This will be in a standard format containing an opinion on whether we would recommend planning permission.

We will also provide an explanation of measures we consider necessary to make an unacceptable proposal satisfactory. Where applicable (and available), residential proposals would receive an allocation of special protection area (SPA) mitigation in accordance with our avoidance and mitigation strategy.

What advice we can give you

We will give you accurate and objective advice in good faith to try to make sure your application is complete when we receive it, and your proposal is good development with the best chance of a successful outcome.

Preparing for our discussions

You will need to do some preparatory work before seeking pre-application advice. This will help you and us, as the quality and value of advice we are able to provide will depend to an extent on the background information you put before us.

Before seeking pre-application advice, we would ask you to:

  • Investigate the planning history of the site
  • Check the Local Plan for the site and any policies relevant to your proposals
  • Familiarise yourself with our Car and Cycle Parking Standards and Transport Contributions supplementary planning documents, and consider issues such as good design and access for people with disabilities
  • Visit the site and assess its characteristics, surroundings and any constraints. In some circumstances, we may need accurate site survey plans and tree condition surveys
  • Prepare a draft scheme showing what you would like to do
  • When you have completed the background preparation work and produced a sketch of the scheme, please phone using the contact details on this page
  • Once you have spoken with a case officer, he or she will ask you for plans and details of your draft proposal
 
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