Wealden District Council

Pre-Application Advice

Wealden District Council offers various types of pre-application advice. A pre-application advice sheet (pdf) is available containing further information on the Surgeries available for different schemes.

Pre-Application Advice and Freedom of Information Requests

All pre-application discussions will be treated in confidence. However, if requests for information about pre-application discussions are received under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and/or the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), the Council will ask the applicant/agent to confirm whether they consent to the disclosure of any written information and, if not, why in their opinion it is in the public interest not to disclose the information, i.e. what would be the adverse effects of disclosure. The Council will then consider whether or not it is in the public interest to disclose the information.

Should a planning application be submitted where pre-application advice was sought, once the application has been determined the Council will, upon receipt of an FOIA/EIR request, disclose the information. Further details relating to exemptions under FOIA/EIR can be found on our Freedom of Information Exemptions webpage.

Development Management Duty Officer

Contact the Development Management Duty Officer to speak to a planning officer regarding small domestic and commercial queries. This is for basic questions about procedures and minor schemes.

If you want an authoritative view as to whether a scheme you have in mind requires planning consent, (e.g. a small domestic proposal), you should apply for a Lawful Development Certificate - Proposed Use. The Duty Officer will be able to advise you further on this:

Telephone 01892 602011. This service operates between 9.30am and 12.30pm Monday to Friday.

Surgeries

To book a Surgery appointment telephone 01892 602010. Basic information will be required at the time of booking all surgeries including the address of the property or site location and the nature of the proposal.

Please note that a charge may be levied and you are advised to read the Guidance note on Charges for Pre-Application Advice (pdf) before making an appointment. Any payment will be required in advance of the meeting.

Written confirmation will be provided, following the meeting, on the main issues agreed/discussed. Potential applicants are advised that the Council will decline to arrange meetings where a proposal will clearly conflict with national and/or locally adopted policy guidance, and that all meetings that are arranged will be held strictly on a 'without prejudice' basis.

Householder and other minor domestic/commercial applications

For members of the public/agents wishing to discuss in detail a householder or small commercial development, or similar, a half-hour bookable surgery appointment is available on Tuesdays commencing 9.30am at Vicarage Lane, Hailsham.

Non-Householder - Complex small housing or commercial developments

For a project which may be more complex eg. a one-off house or a small housing scheme of up to 9 units or for a commercial development, an hourly appointment to discuss your scheme is available on Wednesdays commencing 9.30am at Vicarage Lane, Hailsham.

Listed Buildings/Conservation Areas

For members of the public/agents wishing to discuss proposals affecting Grade II listed buildings and buildings within a conservation area, a one hour appointment is available on Wednesday mornings at Vicarage Lane, Hailsham.

For members of the public/agents wishing to discuss proposals affecting Grade II* or Grade I listed buildings and buildings, a site visit will be required due to the exceptional quality and interest in these buildings.

For general advice on small scale repairs or works to a Listed property, a Listed Building Enquiry Form is available to be submitted by private owners of Listed Buildings or planning agents acting on their behalf.

Appointment Requirements:

At least 7 days before the appointment date (14 days for Listed Building surgeries) further information will be required to be submitted so that time spent with the planning officer, (and specialists as appropriate), can be productive and worthwhile. This will include:-

  • A written description of the proposal
  • Block plan showing current layout of the site
  • Site plan
  • Sketch plans/details, etc.
  • Photographs
  • Block plan/layout of the site
  • Illustrative drawings showing elevations and internal layout.

Note: Listed Building Surgeries
In order for Officers to be able to provide the most constructive advice possible in relation to listed building surgeries, it is helpful for specific information on the history, significance and development of the building to be provided in advance, along with a statement on how this has helped to influence the pre-application proposals to be discussed. Officers are finding that it can be difficult to provide constructive advice at surgery meetings in cases where no detailed information about the specific listed building is provided to help to identify whether historically important elements are likely to be affected by proposals, or to enable Officers to provide any other advice about how a building could be altered and extended.

Basic research into a building can include investigation of old maps, including tithe maps and Ordnance Survey maps, which are available on the internet, old photographs of the property and an investigation into the previous planning history of the property. This can all help to identify the historic elements and the more modern alterations and additions. The more recent planning history can be accessed via the Council's website, and older history by emailing planning.information@wealden.gov.uk  (a fee may be applicable). In some instances, previous research into the property may be available which could also be very helpful. Any detailed photographs of areas to be affected, and/or detailed plans, including the proposed alterations, relating to areas to be affected will also aid discussions. Historic England have also produced two advice notes that are very helpful in explaining the need to understand significance (external website) and how important the consideration of setting (external webpage) of historic buildings and other assets can be.

For conversion proposals, it may also be necessary to provide a statement of the structural integrity of the building and a specification for any identified works that may be required to stabilise the building. This will help Officers to understand how works are likely to affect the building and its significance.

Please see Appendix 4 of the Local Validation Criteria for further information and guidance on these requirements.

Development Team Approach

For businesses/developers considering a large or complex development proposal, it will be likely to need a number of development consents from Wealden District Council.

These consents can include planning permission, listed building consent, building regulations and possibly other approvals/licences. With the increased complexity of information and legislative requirements involved in submitting applications for planning & building regulations in particular, it is often advisable to discuss in advance your proposals with planning officers and other related officers prior to submission, (ie. Highways Officer, Tree/Landscape Officer, Conservation Officer, Building Control Surveyor, etc.).

A separate leaflet is available on this service entitled Development Team Approach (pdf). For sites which involve only Affordable Housing (Exception Sites) - see also the Affordable Housing Protocol (pdf). All Exceptions Housing will follow the Affordable Housing Protocol and DTA approach, and meeting arrangements will be agreed by an appropriate senior officer, (Team Leader/Assistant Team Leader/Senior Planning Officer or Affordable Housing Co-ordinator).

To make a Development Team Approach appointment please email planning@wealden.gov.uk, alternatively please call 01892 602010. This service is by appointment only and to be agreed by an appropriate senior officer.

Please Note: Wealden's Building Control provide a full advice service on all Building Regulation matters. Contact: 01892 602005 for any general enquiries. If it is for a major or complex scheme, then please contact either the Building Control Manager, on Tel: 01892 602489 or the Assistant Building Control Manager, on Tel: 01892 602493.