For all but the simplest of projects we recommend that you speak to our planning department before submitting a planning application, if you already know that you need planning permission. If you are unsure whether you need planning permission please go to the ‘do you need planning permission’ page.
Firstly you should contact the planning department (see the Contact us section), providing sufficient and accurate details of your proposal so that a proper assessment can be made. These should include a scaled sketch plan of the project and a location plan identifying the site.
We will then provide you with contact details for future correspondence.
In providing advice we will:
- research the history of the site and do a site visit if required
- look at the application against Council policies and standards
- discuss the proposal with the applicant or their representative, if needed. This could be a telephone discussion or meeting
- look at the need for further investigations or key groups that need to be spoken to
- seek the views of the Council’s Development Team where the development proposed is major (defined as, in the case of residential development, ten or more dwellings or, if the number of dwellings is not known, a site area of 0.5 hectares or more; and in other cases development involving floor space of 1,000 square metres or more, or, if floor space not given, a site of one hectare or more)
- let you know whether we think you should continue with your planning application either orally or in writing
In all cases, advice will be given to the best of an officer's professional judgement based on information available in an accurate and objective way, but without prejudice to the formal consideration of any future planning application which will be subject to wider consultation.
What are the benefits?
There are a number of benefits of pre-application discussions. Some of these include:
- Saving time and money
- Reducing the number of unsuccessful planning applications
- Making sure you provide enough information to support your final application
How much does it cost?
The Council does charge for pre-application advice. The fees can be found in the pre-application fees schedule that can be accessed to the right under the heading ‘Useful Documents’. It may, however, be possible to obtain free advice from Planning Aid England (External Link).
The Council does not publish information that relates to pre-application enquiries on the website, but the confidentiality of information held by the Council on such matters can’t be guaranteed. We may receive requests under the Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations to disclose information about pre-application advice requests and the advice that we have provided. If you consider your inquiry to be confidential, please provide us with your reasons for this and the time period you consider that the information should remain confidential. Where we receive an application for disclosure, we will take into account requests for confidentiality when deciding whether to release the information, whilst complying with the requirements of the legislation concerned.
Last updated 19 July 2018