Pre-application planning advice for householders
The Council is committed to providing a swift and effective planning service and endeavours to determine planning applications as far as possible in line with Government targets. The majority of applications are dealt with in 8 weeks. However, whilst the Council endeavours to deal with all applications as quickly as possible, delays can occur when applications are submitted with inadequate documentation or which fail to reflect Local Plan policy or detailed advice on design and layout.
The Council therefore welcomes and indeed, encourages all applicants to seek advice before submitting a planning application. The terms “planning application”, “planning permission” and “development” include proposals for Listed Building Consent, Conservation Area Consent and Advertisement Consent. The advice includes alterations to existing dwellings. It does not include proposals for the development of new houses or conversion to flats.
There is a different pre-application advice system in place for developers. Follow this link for developers information.
Why make a pre-application enquiry?
- The submission of a pre-application enquiry will enable you to acquire clear, impartial professional advice, at an early stage, regarding any key issues that should be addressed prior to submitting a formal development proposal.
- This advice can help to prevent unacceptable schemes from entering the formal planning process and as a result can assist in speeding up the determination of your planning application and improve the quality of the development proposal.
- The submission of complete and accurate applications can greatly assist in providing third parties with a clear and concise development proposal on which to make comments. This can help to streamline the consultation and notification process, to the benefit of both applicant and third parties alike.
- Applications submitted without pre-application discussions or without regard to advice given at pre-application stage will normally be determined as submitted, as officers are unable to entertain significant discussion and negotiation during the consideration of a formal application.
- It should be recognised that comments and advice will be given on an informal basis only, and will not prejudice any subsequent decision by the Council on determination of any formal application.
To maximise the effectiveness of pre-application enquiries, we would ask you to:
Be aware of the limits of pre-application advice
- Pre-application advice is a legitimate way to obtain informal, unbiased advice as to the merits of a development proposal. It will not be formally binding upon any future decision, nor will it necessarily identify all issues that may need to be taken into account during the Council’s formal consideration of the submitted application.
- Planning guidance is reviewed over time, and some issues may arise following consultation/notification processes and/or detailed technical appraisals (in respect of the more complex applications).
- However, in situations where an applicant has undertaken pre-application discussions and submitted an application in accordance with such discussions, the Council will endeavour to continue to negotiate an acceptable solution.
Clearly identify the proposed application site, and be clear about your development proposal
- Clearly identify the property or site you are interested in, avoiding suggestions for numerous alternative sites. In order to obtain meaningful guidance, try to have a clear idea about precisely what you want to develop on the site, avoiding introducing multiple or vague, ill thought out ideas for your site.
- Adequate information should be submitted to allow for a reasoned discussion. However, you should be prepared to consider amending a scheme where suggested as part of the advice given.
Planning history and plan policies
- A detailed planning search of the site can be useful in identifying details of previous planning applications on the site, details of any development plan proposals for the site and details of previously stated views from all significant and relevant parties and statutory bodies where necessary.
- It may help to check the published development guidance on the Internet or at the planning reception. If your proposal is clearly contrary to planning principles or the Council’s policies, it is unlikely to be supported by the Council.
- Such details can be obtained from planning reception 2nd floor, Civic Centre. Any relevant planning history of the site will be included as part of any discussions regarding the development of the site.