The council's face to face advice service which can be used before making a formal planning application.
Advice is provided by an individual planning officer, but it is agreed by a more senior colleague before being issued, and advice provided through this service cannot prejudice the council's formal decision if you make an application
We can provide different levels of advice depending on how much detail and support you want. Due to levels of workloads priority will be given to determining planning applications. However, we will still aim where possible to provide advice within the timescales provided below.
Levels of service
(a) Householders - this service is available through the duty planning officer between the hours of 9am - 11am Monday to Friday. It is appropriate when you want general advice about the principle of a proposal and meetings will last up to 15 minutes. We will not visit the site. We will provide a written summary of our advice within 30 working days.
Other Developments - This gives the simplest level of advice and is appropriate only where you want very general advice about the principle of a proposal. It will suit you if you wish to avoid the time and expense of getting detailed plans drawn and do not want detailed advice. We will not visit the site. We will provide a written summary of our advice within 30 working days.
We will advise only whether the principle of the development you want to do is acceptable. Examples might be asking us about the principle of extending the roof of your house or the principle of converting a building into flats.
(b) This advice will enable you to have a meeting with a planning officer to discuss your proposal. The meeting will last no longer than one hour and no written advice will be provided following the meeting. Level 1(b) service is appropriate for agents and developers who are familiar with national and local plan policy and would like to know whether the principle of a scheme is acceptable and where changes to the scheme should be considered. Indicative plans and details should be provided.
This will provide you with much more detailed written advice than level 1, including on the detail of your proposal, within 30 working days of your request. We will not include a meeting to discuss your proposals or explore alternatives, but to provide advice accurately we will visit the site before we advise you.
This is the same as level 2 but also includes a meeting to explain our advice and explore improvements and alternatives with you. Following the meeting we will issue our advice in writing.
Your planning officer will advise whether the meeting will be best held on site at the time of the visit or later in the process at our office. The meeting will normally be for no more than 1 hour for developments up to 5 dwellings, 6 dwellings and over for no more than 2 hours, but for larger proposals the meeting may be longer.
It is rarely necessary for anyone other than your architect or planning agent to attend the site visit. Once you have requested advice, your planning officer will advise if anyone else should attend.
Level 2 and 3 follow-up
Once you have our advice through levels 2 or 3 you may amend your proposals and want updated advice.
The fee for this is lower than the initial advice and you can choose whether to have it without a meeting (level 2) or with a meeting (level 3).
This is designed for larger and more complex proposals where ongoing advice is required from a range of officers, possibly over many months or years. We would ideally manage the process through a Planning Performance Agreement with you, following an initial inception meeting to agree the objectives of the agreement including timescales, key milestones and scheduled meetings. In some cases, it might include preparing a brief or Supplementary Planning Document to guide development of the site. The cost of this will depend on the nature of the scheme and will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.
Should either party not wish to enter into a PPA, a fee will be calculated by the Development Management department on a case-by-case basis, which will cover officer time as well as any expert advice required.
Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environmental Information Regulations 2004 we may receive a request to disclose pre-application advice requests and the advice we have provided. Please note that any information provided may have to be disclosed.