Why seek pre-application advice?
We encourage prospective developers to enter into pre-application discussions. This gives an opportunity to discuss proposals before formally submitting applications; helping to identify any potential problems and speeding up the decision-making process. A pre-application discussion is capable of:
(a) confirming the scope of the information in an application;
(b) addressing whether a proposal may need to be amended to comply with policies in the Development Plan and other officer advice; and,
(c) seeking a view on whether planning permission is likely to be granted.
- gives the opportunity to understand how policies and guidance will be applied to a proposed development, looking at the planning history and relevant constraints for the site
- can identify at an early stage whether specialist input is required, for example, advice on listed buildings, trees, landscape, noise, transport, contaminated land, ecology or archaeology
- may lead to a reduction in the time spent working up proposals, identifying potential problems and sorting them out before an application is submitted
- may indicate that a proposal is completely unacceptable, saving you the cost of pursuing a formal application and
- will ensure that you provide all the necessary information and drawings to enable the application to be registered as valid, and prevent further delays within the application process
The National Planning Portal (correct at 20 March 2019) advises,
"It is often a good idea to meet a planning officer for an informal discussion before you submit an application. Some local planning authorities charge for this service so it's a good idea to check first. It is also a question you have to answer in the application form and can assist the local authority in dealing with your application.
Pre-application advice is encouraged as it can:
- verify the list of local requirements each planning authority can require
- reduce the likelihood of submitting invalid applications and
- help you understand how planning policies and other requirements affect your proposals
It goes on to say,
"If you are meeting a planning officer you should be fully prepared to describe your proposals and show plans. You can:
- ask for an assessment of whether there seems a reasonable chance of getting permission
- discuss site problems such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers and telephone lines and
- ask about potential problems such as noise and traffic and whether the council might impose conditions to overcome these problems rather than refuse planning permission
The level of preparation required depends on what you propose to do. In simple cases, it should be sufficient to look at the main issues governing the grant of permission and decide which of these are relevant to your application.
It is important that you say why you think your proposed development should be allowed to go ahead. Please bear in mind that planning applications will normally be decided in accordance with the development plan, therefore you will need to justify any proposals which would constitute an exception to the plan.
For larger schemes, a prospective developer may decide to enter into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) with us and, should this be the case, please make enquiries through our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Prospective developers are also encouraged to carry out a pre-application public consultation with appropriate sections of the public (for example, neighbours directly affected, Parish/Town Council or specific interest groups) in accordance with our published Statement of Community Involvement (pdf / 933 KB). Prospective applicants for major or sensitive development are encouraged to carry out pre-submission publicity and consultation with the local community and, while the methods to be used will be at the discretion of the applicant, the use of such methods as public meetings, public exhibitions and presentations, presentations to Parish Councils, leaflet drops and publicity in local media is encouraged. Any feedback received when finalising development proposals should be taken into account. Early community engagement can help identify new issues, help allay concerns, and allow for amendments to the proposals before formal submissions which can speed up the planning application process. However, it is recognised that pre-submission consultation may not always be possible due to practical, timescale and/or financial restraints. When considering whether or not to engage in pre-application consultation, applicants should be aware that seemingly minor proposals can sometimes be significant, or even controversial, for local people. Therefore, it is often advisable to take a precautionary approach and to engage with those that may be affected whenever possible.
What guidance is available to support the receipt of pre-application advice?
The County Planning Authority has adopted a local list of validation requirements for planning applications (pdf / 980 KB). This is a detailed guide to the information that may be required when submitting a planning application.
Other useful guidance which may help those involved in the planning process includes:
- planning permission: a guide for state-funded schools
- description of development guidance: how to describe your development proposal within your planning application and
- trees and development guidance on the impact of development on trees
Our planning process flowcharts provide additional guidance in an easy-to-understand format:
- development process flowchart (pdf / 50 KB)
- non-environmental impact assessment minerals and waste developments process flowchart (pdf / 54 KB)
In order to assist the pre-application submiss ion stage, the Planning Authority has produced enquiry forms that should be completed as comprehensively as possible to get the most out of the pre-application discussions. These include one for minerals-related development and another for waste-related development:
Contact us for a paper copy of a minerals development enquiry form or a waste development enquiry form.
Any enquiry made in the absence of a completed enquiry form will be returned to the enquirer with a request to complete the information contained in the relevant form. Similarly, a submitted enquiry without an accompanying fee will also be returned.
The allocated case officer will acknowledge the receipt of your pre-application enquiry form within five working days and aim to respond to your request within 20 working days; however, if the information provided is insufficient with which to provide a response, the case officer will write advising what additional information is required in order to provide a response.
Not all pre-application enquiries will necessitate a meeting with a case officer and, in many instances, enquiries can be handled through an exchange of correspondence. However, some pre-application enquiries can vary from being quite short discussions between applicants, agents and ourselves to larger meetings that involve a wide range of officers including, for example, expert advisers on heritage, landscape and ecological matters.
What could the advice include?
- an assessment of the development in relation to 'permitted development' rights
- a review of the planning history for the proposed development site
- identification of applicable constraints for the proposed development site
- identification of the relevant planning policy, guidance and main considerations
- a view on the potential need and extent of pre-application consultations with other parties
- advice on pre-submission community engagement
- details of planning application requirements and how to access forms and guidance, including confirmation of the information requirements to accompany any future application, such as ecological surveys or transport assessments for example
- advice on the relevant planning fee
- advice on whether any changes to the proposed development may, if appropriate, be warranted
- an indication of the likely need for a legal agreement such that ‘heads of terms’ may be included with any future application
- advice on whether the proposed development might give rise to a financial contribution having to be made on the part of the applicant such as a commuted sum for highway works for example
- an estimate on the timescale for determination and
- an initial ‘in principle’ officer view based on the information provided
Depending upon the nature, scale and location of a proposed development which is the subject of the enquiry, the written response will be checked and counter-signed by either the team leader or an appropriately qualified and experienced senior planner in the team.
Every endeavour will be made to ensure that the advice provided will be timely and as comprehensive as possible at the time of provision. However, applicants are encouraged to also undertake other pre-submission consultations with technical consultees, such as the Environment Agency, Yorkshire Water, Natural England, or Historic England for example. Such pre-submission advice from other technical consultees would add value to the pre-application advice provided by the Planning Authority and, therefore, applicants are encouraged to undertake technical consultations as early as possible.
The advice is given in good faith and without prejudice to (and therefore not binding upon) the final recommendation on any proposal, which will be made in the light of consultation responses and detailed consideration of the application. Any advice provided does not constitute a formal response or decision of the Authority. The Authority will not be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, resulting from the use of the advice. Any advice provided, while intended to be as comprehensive as possible at the time of being provided may not necessarily be exhaustive. Should any details of the proposed development change, further advice should be sought prior to the submission of any future application. Any advice provided will reduce both relevance and materiality during the passage of time. Please also note that the availability of this Pre-Application Advice Service may have to be prioritised dependent on available staffing and other resources.
Whilst the authority does not routinely publicise the details of pre-application discussions, disclosure of information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice may be requested by a third party, under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (subject to certain exemptions, such as commercially sensitive and confidential information) and the Authority is under these circumstances, obliged to provide the requested information. Should there be any information that could be considered to be prejudicial to commercial interests, if disclosed, or would breach confidentiality, this should be made explicit and in writing setting out the reasons why, and for what period, this information needs to remain confidential. It is then for us to decide whether it believes the information falls into these exempt categories if a Freedom of Information request is subsequently received.
Information on the cost of planning is available.