Preparing to carry out a development can be expensive. To help you minimise the cost of this process, we provide a chargeable pre-application advice service.
Pre-application advice is provided by planning officers employed by the council helping you to understand how we are likely to determine any subsequent planning application, and any changes that are likely to be needed, if any, to give your scheme the best chance of being granted a planning permission.
It’s important to note that the guidance given is informal advice and does not bind the council in any future decision it makes. However, in our experience where pre-application advice is obtained and incorporated into any scheme, developments are more likely to be granted planning permission and decisions are made significantly faster.
We provide a range of chargeable pre-application advice services dependent on your needs which range from householder advice including listed buildings to major development and applications for Commercial and Retail development.
The service will help you:
- Understand how policies will be applied to your proposal
- Identify potential problems and possible solutions before you make an application
- Reduce the burden of additional costs and time consuming amendments to submitted applications
- Provide input from specialists where appropriate
We offer an option of written advice or a meeting with written advice as detailed in our categories and fees schedule.
Details of our response to your enquiry can vary depending on whether it is a small or large development.
Our response will generally cover:
- The main issues
- Site constraints, for example, Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Area, Listed Building, flood risk area.
- Whether the proposed development is acceptable in principle
- Comments on particular details of the proposal, scale of development, design, highway implications, amenity, environmental issues such as noise, contamination, biodiversity, flooding, and drainage.
- Additional supporting information or technical reports that may be required to accompany an application.
Any subsequent changes to planning legislation or planning policies may affect the advice given which means the weight that can be given to pre-application advice could diminish over time.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any subsequent planning application submitted is properly detailed and complies with council adopted guidelines and policies, together with national and other relevant policy guidance.
You should be aware that any advice given by the Council in relation to pre application advice will be based on the Officers professional judgement and without prejudice to the formal consideration of any subsequent planning application. Favourable pre application advice cannot guarantee that a subsequent application will be successful. This is because when we receive a formal application it will be subject to further consultation and publicity which may raise other issues.
The following information and plans should be submitted when you apply for the service as information provided at a later date may not be considered. The information we require as minimum includes:
- A site location plan at an appropriate scale, usually 1:1250 or 1:2500
- Details of current use and site history if known
- Details of the nature and scale of the development proposed
- Photographs of the site and its surroundings
- Sketch drawings of the proposed development to include a proposed layout, floor plans and elevations, sufficient enough to indicate the scale and height of development proposed.
If insufficient information is submitted we may be unable to provide pre application advice.
A fee is charged for pre application advice as set out and will depend on the level of service chosen and the number of meetings requested.
A further supplementary charge will be applicable where officers from the Environment Agency or ESCC Highways are required to attend meetings. We will advise you of this charge before we proceed.
The fee and any accompanying information must be received before any work on answering the request is undertaken. The cost of the service depends on its category and whether the type of service being provided is written advice or written advice with a meeting. Prices quoted include VAT and meetings are carried out online.
|Category||Proposal||Written Advice Fee||Written Advice and Meeting Fee|
|A||Householder Enquiries||£60||£80 with 1 meeting|
|B||Applications to alter or extend a listed building (more complex proposals will attract a high fee)||£190||N/A|
|C||1 dwelling or equivalent, 100-499m2 commercial floor space including retail and change of use up to 499m2||£190||£240 with 1 meeting|
|D||2 – 9 dwellings or equivalent, 500-999 m2 commercial floor space or change of use (excludes retail)||£345||£440 with 1 meeting|
|E||10 – 19 dwellings or 1000-1999 m2 commercial floor space or change of use (excludes retail)||£450||£570 with 1 meeting or £940 with up to 2 meetings|
|F||20 – 99 dwellings or 2000-4999 m2 commercial floor space or change of use (excludes retail)||£740||£930 with 1 meeting or £1670 with up to 2 meetings|
|G||100+ dwellings, 5000 + m2 commercial floor space (excludes retail)||£1090||£1360 with 1 meeting or £2780 with up to 3 meetings|
|H||Application for retail stores 500 – 1499 m2||£740||£930 with 1 meeting or £1570 with up to 2 meetings|
|I||Application for retail stores 1500 – 2999 m2||£1090||£1360 with 1 meeting or £2570 with up to 2 meetings|
|J||Application for retail stores 3000 m2 +||£1330||£1660 with 1 meeting or £3380 with up to 2 meetings|
|K||Supplemental examination of details post-surgery appointment||N/A||£70 per 30 minutes|
|L||Variation or deletion of S106 Agreements||£190||£240|
For pre-application advice where written advice is requested we will aim to provide you with written advice within 28 days of the receipt of a valid request
For pre-application advice where a meeting is requested we aim to set up a meeting within 21 working days of your request being received.
Following a meeting we will provide you with written advice and aim to do this within 14 days of the meeting. Where this is not possible, for example due to the issues being more complex, a specific time scale will be agreed with you at the meeting.
We offer an Enquiry Service which can help you to understand whether listed building consent is required for works to a listed building or whether planning permission is required for works in a conservation area. This service is charged at £48 + VAT.
The enquiry service cannot be used if you are looking to submit a planning application and require detailed advice to alter or extend a listed building. In these cases use our chargeable pre-application advice service as outlined on these pages for advice on your proposal including design and other planning issues.
Requests for advice and payment should be made by completing the online pre application advice form and submitting the accompanying information. Your request will not be processed without the appropriate fee.
Once your request has been received and checked, we aim to contact you within 5 working day. If we need further information at this time we will let you know what we need when we contact you.
While all pre-application discussions will be treated in confidence the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) requires us to make documents available to the members of the public upon request however there are exemptions for example where the information is of a commercially sensitive nature. If this is the case mark your documents accordingly upon application.
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 FOI request, disclose the information.
The final decision as to the release of any information is the responsibility of the council.
Further details relating to exemptions under FOI and how we use your data can be found on our data protection page.
To apply for the service use the online form. Your request will need to be accompanied by a series of information including but not limited to:
- A site location plan.
- A description of the proposal including proposed uses, floor area, number of units.
- An indicative layout plan
- The relevant fee
- Any other information you consider relevant
Further information on what you need to submit is detailed on the online form used to apply for the service.
In response to service requests for pre-application advice we will:
- Allocate the request to an appropriately experienced officer and inform you of the name of the officer dealing with your request.
- Inform you of any additional information required before a meeting is offered (where applicable).
- Advise of the date of the meeting (where applicable).
We will normally set up a meeting where applicable within 21 working days of your request being received. The time taken to respond will depend upon the availability of officers and the complexity of the case. At any meeting, we will aim to provide a comprehensive assessment of the proposal.
Note: where officers from the Environment Agency or ESCC Highways are required to attend meetings, a further supplementary charge will be applicable.
Following any meeting we will provide you with written advice. We will aim to do this within 14 days of the meeting. Where this is not possible, for example due to the issues being more complex, a specific time scale will be agreed with you at the meeting
For cases where a meeting is not part of the pre-application advice service, we will aim to provide you with written advice within 28 days of the receipt of a valid request.
The advice given will vary depending on the nature of the proposal and any advice will be given in good faith on a ‘without prejudice’ basis. The advice given cannot bind or oblige the council to make any particular decision. The advice is no substitute for applicants undertaking their own investigative or surveying work.
It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that any subsequent planning application submitted is properly detailed and complies with council adopted guidelines and policies, together with national and other relevant policy guidance, as appropriate.
The Council reserves the right to decline a request for pre-application advice where the proposals are contrary to policy or deemed not appropriate or necessary. Fees are non-refundable.