Guidance for pre-application advice
Pre-application advice on proposals is part of a positive and proactive planning process. It can be critically important and provide both parties with a clear understanding of the objectives and potential constraints of development.
We have discretionary power to charge for pre-application advice. The income raised must not exceed the cost of providing the service. There needs to be a clear definition of the responsibilities of both sides and of what is expected. Written responses should be as constructive as possible and charges need to be easy to understand and administer. A range of charges gives the greater flexibility for both sides. Exceptions from paying should be clear from the outset.
The Council have prepared a Guidance Note for Pre Planning Advice, which aims to explain the process. When you are ready to submit your pre-application submission please use the form available here. An explanation of the appropriate fees which are required for a submission is available here.
Freedom of information
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000/Environmental Information Regulations 2004 it is possible that we could be asked to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application or permitted development advice and to provide copies of any correspondence or advice we have given. We can only withhold this information if its disclosure could prejudice commercial interests, inhibit the provision of advice or exchange of views during the planning process, or could prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs.
Those seeking pre-application advice should provide a covering letter that sets out the reasons why, and for how long, any information relating to the case needs to remain confidential in their opinion. It will be for us to decide whether information can be treated as exempt from disclosure. Generally, notes and correspondence relating to pre-application discussions will not be treated as confidential once a planning application has been submitted and the case is in the public domain.
Details of requests for pre-application advice and advice on whether a particular proposal requires planning permission may be shared with elected members of the Council. This information will not however be published on the Council's web-site.
- No chargeable advice will be provided, or your request considered, without receipt of the relevant fee.
- Meetings are not a compulsory element of the pre-application advice service and will only be arranged where agreed by both parties.
- Unfortunately no refund or reduction in the fee will be available should a meeting not be taken up.
- The attendance of consultees at meetings cannot be guaranteed, however wherever appropriate invitations will be issued.
- Where a meeting is held in the first instance prior to initial written advice, a timescale for the follow up written response will be agreed at the meeting. Wherever possible, the first meeting will be held within the response times noted above. Subsequent meetings will be dependent on the progress being made on the proposals and subject to availability of the Planning Officer dealing with the request for information/ advice and relevant consultees.
- Where significant new information comes to light during the course of a planning application that was not considered at pre-application stage, the Planning Officer will alert the applicant to this and may seek additional information if appropriate.
- Development carried out on site without the benefit of planning permission (where it is required) is at risk of enforcement action and applicants and their representatives should be mindful of this at all times.
- Free and independent professional advice on the planning process, and assistance with planning matters, may be available to you, depending on your circumstances.
- For further information, contact the local branch of Planning Aid.
Any advice given by Council officers for pre-application enquiries does not indicate any formal decision by the Council as Local Planning Authority. Any views or opinions are given without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application.
The final decision on any application that you may then make can only be taken after the Council has consulted local people, statutory consultees and any other interested parties. The final decision on an application will then be made by the Planning Applications Committee or by the Head of Development Control under delegated powers in accordance with the Council's approved Scheme of Delegation, and will be based on all of the information available at that time.
You should therefore be aware that officers cannot guarantee the final formal decision that will be made on your application(s). Any pre-application advice that has been provided will be carefully considered in reaching a decision or recommendation on an application; subject to the proviso that circumstances and information may change or come to light that could alter that position. It should also be noted that the weight given to pre application advice may decline over time, subject to changing material circumstances.
Last updated Thursday, 18th February 2016