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Planning and building control - coronavirus

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Pre-application advice service

We offer a pre-application service for applicants to help speed up the planning application process. The service allows applicants to receive formal advice and/or to meet up with planning officers before submitting a formal application.

The service is intended to provide you with an indication as to whether your proposal is likely to gain planning permission or not, what the key planning issues are likely to be and what you'd need to submit with any application that you make.

In the case of advice on permitted development rights, the service is intended to provide you with an officer opinion as to whether planning permission is required for your development proposals. However, this is informal advice and does not have the same status as a Certificate of Lawfulness.

We'll assign the pre-application enquiry a case officer, who will be responsible for a proposal and will be the lead contact for the development.

Where applicable, the case officer will arrange a meeting within three weeks of receipt of the enquiry. A decision will then be taken whether it's worth following up a proposal, with either a single meeting or a series of meetings under a Planning Performance Agreement.

The case officer will then:

  • be the point of contact, who will be responsible for project managing the pre-application process
  • identify all the relevant officers required in the development process and ensure that a coordinated response is provided
  • arrange meetings promptly to an agreed timetable, including presentations to the Design Review Panel
  • keep to agreed timescales and deadlines for providing responses
  • help identify key national, regional and local policies that need to be addressed at an early stage, thereby affording the opportunity to ensure that a proposal complies with the spatial policy framework
  • help identify and advise on key urban design principles, so that proposals are developed properly and respond to contextual setting

For larger proposals the case officer can:

  • help identify and agree Heads of Terms for any s106 agreement prior to the submission of an application
  • assist in facilitating the involvement of the local community and councillors in the development of proposals

In turn, we'll expect applicants to:

  • provide the necessary degree of expertise to provide the information that is necessary to describe the development fully to a standard that meets the council's validation requirements
  • identify a single point of contact within the team (usually a planning consultant or architect)
  • keep to agreed timescales and deadlines for providing responses

For larger proposals the applicant should:

  • arrange public engagement at an early stage of scheme development, using specialist consultants where necessary
  • agree a schedule of meetings, if necessary, and ensure that appropriate material is produced in a timely manner in advance, including presentations to the council’s Design Review Panel
  • provide high quality illustrative material in various forms suitable for presentation to a wide range of audiences
  • provide draft notes of meetings that shall be agreed by both parties

Written responses

The case officer will provide a full written response of the matters discussed at the meeting if requested by the applicant. The written response will be commensurate with the amount and detail of information provided by the applicant.

The letter will be signed by a Group Manager or the Director of Planning and will be a material planning consideration in the determination of any planning application. It will be provided within 10 working days of the meeting.

A bespoke service specification will be prepared for larger schemes where a Planning Performance Agreement is required by the council.

Page last updated: 06 April 2021

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