Wealden District Council
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Fast Track Advice Service

We have launched a pilot service to offer two free fast-track planning advice services for businesses in our district and for small house builders. 

The free fast track planning advice service differs from our paid for pre-application advice service intending to provide you with a high level assessment with a quick turnaround time. It may be that your proposal requires more detailed discussions and in these instances we recommend or will recommend you apply for the paid for pre-application advice service.

You can find out more about the fast track advice pilot service including how to apply using the drop down menus.

As a business you may been keen to know if you need permission to extend your hours of operation or may have thought about making the frontage of your business more attractive by changing the signage. 

You might be thinking about extending your premises and don’t know how to go about it or looking to expand and considering relocation but not sure if planning permission is required for a vacant unit.

This free service for businesses based in our district is aimed at those who are planning to make changes to a property that may require planning permission.

When we receive your request we will consider whether planning permission would technically be required and if required whether there are likely to be any significant impacts on:

  • amenity / noise for example potential impact on neighbours if an outside venue is used for late-night drinking
  • highway safety issues for example blocking parking spaces or roads which will also include accessibility issues in the highway
  • any hindrance to service routes for other commercial premises for example preventing deliveries

As part of our assessment we will take account of any relevant existing or historic planning permissions or enforcement cases affecting the site and we may identify limits to any changes you are proposing such as limiting the times of operation to reduce noise to neighbours.

We will always seek to work pragmatically with you to overcome any issues.

As part of the service we will also provide you with a short and targeted note of advice which will be no more than one side of A4 and we will confirm the outcome to you in writing. 

While we will approach the assessment of all proposals in a positive and proactive manner a positive outcome is not necessarily guaranteed.

Any written advice is no substitute for formal confirmation that works do not require permission., this can only be secured through a Certificate of Lawful Development.

This free service is for small house builders who are proposing between three to five dwellings on land in the district and can commit with evidence to early delivery and implementation.

This service cannot be used where proposals of three to five dwellings are shown in larger plots of land and there is clear potential for more development. 

You can still use the paid for pre-application advice service for development that does not meet the criteria this free fast track service applies to.

When we receive your request we will assess your proposals and provide you with some initial informal advice taking into account any relevant existing or historic planning permissions affecting the site and area.

While we will approach the assessment of all proposals in a positive and proactive manner a positive outcome is not necessarily guaranteed.

All pre-application discussions are given in good faith and are intended to be helpful however they are expressed on a without prejudice basis.  There is no substitute for a formal planning application that is subject to a detailed site visit and public consultation.

For both fast track services you can apply online by completing the online pre-application advice form and selecting the relevant fast track service option.

Your request will need to be submitted with key information to help us assess your request such as a location plan and details of your proposal. 

For fast track advice for business you will need to submit:

  • a site location plan with an outline of the site area
  • a block location plan showing the location of any proposed structures or any outside area that you are planning to use differently clearly marked
  • a description of any proposed structure or a description of the changes you are proposing for example increased use of outside space or changes to hours of working/construction
  • photos of the site including any area where a new structures if applicable, will be located
  • a brief overview of what any structure or outside area will be used for including the hours it will be used for
  • you will need to explain why the change to operations is required and how it will enhance your business

For fast track advice for small house builders you will need to submit:

  • a site location plan with an outline of the site area
  • a block location plan showing the location of the proposal and access points
  • a description of the proposal including size and scale of works
  • a description of any related landscape works and tree felling
  • photos of the site where possible.
  • advise if there has been any discussions held locally such as with neighbours and/or parish/town council(s)
  • If a legal agreement is required details of how advanced you are on matters; and
  • an explanation of how you can deliver the site quickly such as examples of other sites you have delivered with time frames or measures you would include with a full submission to enable the Council to weigh up the timely delivery of the units

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.