Wealden District Council

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Pre-Application Advice

Wealden District Council offers various types of pre-application advice details of which are included below. The planning surgery system has recently been upgraded and the number and type of appointments amended. This scheme is an interim measure until an online system goes live later in 2019. See the Pre-Application fee schedule (pdf) for details of charges.

The new appointments will be as follows:

Tuesday AM - Householder (30 mins)

  • For members of the public/agents wishing to discuss in detail a householder, small commercial development, or similar.
  • Fee £75
  • Telephone 01892 602010 (Option 2) for an appointment. This service operates at the Vicarage Lane offices in Hailsham, on Tuesday mornings commencing at 09:30. 

Tuesday AM/PM - Minor (60 mins)

  • Types of project include 1-2 Replacement or new dwellings/Change of use up to 2 dwellings or units/ Small commercial or retail.
  • Fee determined by size of scheme. See fee schedule (pdf)
  • Telephone 01892 602010 (Option 2) for an appointment. This service operates at the Vicarage Lane offices in Hailsham, on Tuesday afternoons commencing at 13:00.

Wednesday AM - Larger Schemes (60 mins)

  • Types of project include 3-20 Houses/Large Industrial or Commercial
  • Fee determined by size of scheme. See fee schedule (pdf)
  • Telephone 01892 602010 (Option 2) for an appointment. This service operates at the Vicarage Lane offices in Hailsham, on Wednesday mornings commencing at 9:00.

Wednesday AM- Listed Buildings (60 mins)

  • Fee £235
  • Telephone 01892 602010 (Option 2) for an appointment. This service operates at the Vicarage Lane Offices in Hailsham, on Wednesday mornings commencing at 10:15.

Bespoke Appointments - Majors

  • For 21+ Houses/Extensive Industrial or Commercial
  • Fee determined by size of scheme. See fee schedule (pdf)
  • Booked on an individual basis
  • These appointments will be undertaken by a senior officer and arranged on a bespoke basis. Please email planning@wealden.gov.uk giving details of any proposals outside the parameters listed above.

The booking process will also be amended as follows:

  • Provisional booking made via the Technical Team (01892 602010 Option 2)
  • Confirmation email sent out to Agent advising the reference number and fee
  • Payment of fee to be made within 48 hours or appointment automatically cancelled
  • Plans to be provided no later than 14 days prior to the appointment or the meeting is cancelled
  • Cancellations between 1-14 days before the meeting will be charged at the full fee.

Basic information will be required at the time of booking all surgeries; the address of the property or site location and the nature of the proposal.

Please note that a charge will be levied and you are advised to read the Guidance note on Charges for Pre-Application Advice (pdf) before making an appointment. Payment will be required within 48 hours of booking the meeting otherwise the appointment will be cancelled automatically and reallocated.  

    Please note: After 31 March 2019, the Council will no longer be accepting cheque payments, so the fee will need to be paid by debit/credit card transaction or by BACS. Further details regarding how to pay are available on the Online Payment Page.

At least 14 days before the appointment date, all required must be submitted so that time spent with the planning officer, (and specialists as appropriate), can be productive and worthwhile. Should the information not be submitted by this time, the meeting will automatically be cancelled. 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.

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.

A minimum of 14 days before the appointment date, all required information must be submitted so that the time spent with the planning officer (and specialists as appropriate), can be productive and worthwhile. Should the information not be submitted by this time, the meeting will automatically be cancelled. The information required will include:-

  • A written outline of the proposal
  • Site plan
  • Sketch plans/details etc.
  • Photographs
  • Block plan/layout of the site
  • Illustrative drawings showing elevations and internal layout
  • A statement of heritage significance of the building, to include consideration of the particular areas of the building to be affected and how this has influenced the proposals for discussion
  • For conversion proposals, it may 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 it's significance.

Please see Appendix 4 of the Local List of Information Requirements (pdf) for further information.

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) and how important the consideration of setting (external) of historic buildings and other assets can be.

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.

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.