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Pre-application advice

We offer a pre-application advice service to anyone wanting help with a development before the submission of a planning application.

The aim of our pre-application service is to provide responsive, consistent and timely advice that de-risks the application process and reduces the time taken to deal with your application through the formal decision making stage.

Pre-application advice will provide you with the following benefits:
•An understanding of how our policies will be applied to your proposal
•Identify the need for specialist input at an early stage e.g. for listed buildings, transportation, trees, landscape, noise, health, ecology, contaminated land or archaeology
•Assist in the preparation of proposals for formal submission, which, if you follow our advice, should be handled more quickly and be more likely to result in a positive outcome
•Help to reduce the time that you or your professional advisors spend in working up the proposals
•Identify those proposals that are completely unacceptable, so saving you the cost of pursuing a formal application.


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Complete the appropriate application form, available in the downloads section and send it to us with the relevant plans and correct fee. Please see the form for details of which area office you should return it.

We will acknowledge receipt of your request, inform you who will be dealing with the enquiry and tell you when you can expect to get a response.

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We recommend that all developers work with a telecommunication partner or subcontractor in the early stages of planning for any new development to make sure that Next Generation Access Broadband is a fundamental part of the project. Access to superfast broadband should be thought of as an essential utility for all new homes and businesses and given the same importance as water or power in any development design. Is your development ready for superfast broadband?

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Frequently asked questions

No. The planning application fee only covers work carried out in relation to the proposal once an application has been submitted. The government has recognised this fact by advising that local planning authorities are able to charge separately for pre-application advice.

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In broad terms, a pre-application enquiry form requires less information to be attached to it, does not go through a full consultation process, and will provide you with an indication of whether or not your proposal is likely to acceptable to officers. (Any advice given is not legally binding, and does not give you any permission to commence development.

A planning application is a formal request for planning permission which goes through a statutory process leading to the issue of a decision notice, either approving or refusing your development proposal. If an approval is given, you are able to commence development provided you comply with any conditions or legal agreements attached to that permission and, if necessary, securing any building regulation approval.

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A Certificate of Lawfulness application will provide you with a legally binding determination on whether the development requires planning permission or not. A letter will answer this question in a less formal way but is not legally binding. However, this is usually accepted by solicitors in the conveyancing process.

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No, however the benefits of doing so have been outlined above. There is also a considerable amount of free guidance available on line and if you simply want to find out if your proposal requires planning permission in the first instance you may wish
to visit the planning portal website www.planningportal.gov.uk which contains a wide range of advice and interactive guides.
There are also a number of professional planning agents operating locally who will also be able to offer a wide range of planning advice.

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Whilst this cannot be guaranteed, it is likely that where pre-application advice has been followed there will be less need for officers to ask for changes to plans or for additional information. This invariably leads to delay and additional rounds of consultation.

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Yes, for the majority of requests this will be the case.

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Yes, amendments submitted within 3 months of the date the original response will be free of charge provided that:
• the enquiry is made by the same person as the previous enquiry
• the enquiry relates to the same site or part of the same site as the previous enquiry
• the development is of the same character or description as the development to which the earlier enquiry related.

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For householder or minor applications we would suggest you should submit pre-application advice as soon as possible, once you have an idea what it is you want to do.

However for a major application we suggest submitting pre-application advice at a much earlier stage, at least 3 months before you intend submitting an application.

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Yes. The forms for pre-application advice, planning permission and the fees we charge can all be found online.

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For household proposals it is generally sound advice to let your immediate neighbours know in advance about what you are planning and, if the development is likely to be particularly sensitive, your parish or town council.

This normally means showing them any plans that have been drawn up so you can establish and try to address any concerns early on in the process. Experience shows that early consultation or discussion by an applicant with neighbours often smoothes the passage of the subsequent planning application.

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This will be worked out on the floor area of the proposal and the number of dwellings. The fee is calculated for each use proposed and the charge will be for whatever is the highest fee.

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Last updated: 10 August 2017 | Last reviewed: 10 August 2017