The value of pre-application planning discussions is recognised and considered to be an important part of the planning process.
Providing advice prior to the formal submission of a planning application could ensure that the quality of a development is improved and that certainty in the outcome can be increased for the application.
We encourage and promote engagement through pre-application advice, and accordingly we have formalised the procedures for requesting advice, including introducing a range of charges with effect from the 1 April 2011.
- An understanding of how national and local guidance and policies will be applied to your development
- Potential for reducing the time your professional advisors spend in working up the proposals
- An indication of those proposals that are completely unacceptable, so saving you the cost of pursuing a formal application
- Written confirmation of the advice given to you at the pre-application stage
- Advice that is consistent, reliable, up-to-date and tailored to the specific development
- Comprehensive information on what you need in order for your application to be validated and considered by the authority
Why do we charge for this service?
The council has decided that the cost of providing this service should be recovered directly from the developer and not fall as a general cost to the council taxpayer. It should be noted that the current statutory planning fees do not cover the cost of pre-application advice given by the council.
What are our charges?
For each type of development a charge will apply for pre-application advice given by the authority. The charges that will apply are as follows (all charges are inclusive of VAT):
- Category A - large scale major proposals - £1,750
- Category B - small scale major proposals - £1,000
- Category C - minor proposals - £500 *
- Category D - other proposals - £80 **
* A single dwelling will be charged at a flat rate of £200.
** Applications for minerals & waste schemes will be subject to a separate charging regime in recognition of the complexity of such schemes.
Please see the attached document to find out which types of development fall into which category.
Is it mandatory?
No, you do not have to obtain pre-application advice from the authority. However, if an application is submitted which requires significant change where pre-application advice has not been sought or followed, then it is likely that decisions will be taken without further opportunity to amend schemes. This is likely to incur further costs to you through submitting additional applications.
What do I need to provide?
Complete the pre-application advice form and send it together with the following documents:
- A location and site plan (giving post code where appropriate)
- Sketches of the proposal
- Photographs of the site and surroundings
- The appropriate fee (see above)
- A brief summary of the proposals
- A list of any key issues for which you require a specific response
We also recommend for Category C and D proposals that a preliminary or draft design appraisal is submitted
A CD ROM of all documents submitted should also be supplied, to enable faster internal consultations by email and to help us provide you with a more rapid response.
Plans should be at a reasonable scale and should be as accurate as possible. The planning officer considering your submission will be reliant on the information that you submit as they will not necessarily make a site visit.
Site location and block plans can be obtained from the Planning Portal by clicking on the 'Planning Portal - Site Location Plans' link at the bottom of this page.
Where do I send my enquiry?
Please see the attached contact list at the bottom of this page for information on where to send your enquiry.
What can I expect for my money?
As a minimum we will:
- Acknowledge receipt by letter or e-mail within three working days and notify you of the allocated case officer. If further information is required, this will be requested at this time
- We will respond within 21 working days from the date of receipt. If further action is required we will advise you at this stage
- A final response will identify the relevant planning policy context, constraints of the site, and offer an informal opinion on the likely success of an application. It will also identify external consultees who are likely to have an interest in the proposal, and provide advice on the information required to validate the application. This will constitute the advice of officers
- It may be necessary to arrange a meeting in the Council Offices or on site. If a meeting is necessary it will be arranged for a mutually convenient time within 21 days from the date of the initial submission. Any costs associated with the meeting are included in the initial flat rate fee
Will I get specialist advice on specific technical issues?
The council has a range of technical specialists in the following areas:
- Highways and Access
- Green Travel Plans
- Cycling Provision
- Rights of Way
- Conservation & Design
- Public Protection
Your appointed lead officer will co-ordinate the input of these specialisms, dependant on the scale and nature of the development proposed. They will be invited to attend meetings as considered necessary by the lead planning officer.
Further information on some of the above technical areas can be found in the links on this page.
Are there any exemptions?
The council will not charge for pre-application advice for the following:
- Works to a listed building and for conservation area consent (where there is no requirement for planning permission)
- Works to trees in conservation areas
- Works to protected trees
How can I get an input from the community?
It is critical that pre-application discussions for major and/or significant proposals also involve appropriate member and community involvement. You will therefore be offered an opportunity for a co-ordinated meeting with the local member and a representative from the relevant town or parish council. This will not be mandatory for customers given that some schemes will be subject to confidentially agreements. It will also be for individual members and/or town/parish council representatives to decide if they wish to be involved in such discussions.
Officers will also provide customers with advice on best practice on the requirements for community consultations.
In the Shrewsbury and Ludlow area customers will also be given the opportunity to present their schemes at pre-application stage to a Development Management stakeholder group.
What if I need additional meetings?
Our commitment to you provides a meeting, on site if necessary, to discuss your development proposals. Proposals for large or major schemes will often require a series of meetings or pre-application discussions. Such requirements should be discussed and an approach agreed during the initial pre-application meetings. Additional fees maybe required.
Additional meetings will only be attended where all action points agreed at the previous meeting have been addressed to the satisfaction of all parties.
If I pay for the advice will it secure my planning permission?
No. All advice is given without prejudice to the outcome of any subsequent application. Your application will be subject to consultation with interested parties and, dependant on the views expressed, this may affect the outcome of your application.
Notwithstanding the above, our approach will always be proactive and positive and should be consistent with any subsequent advice you may be given by officers.
Who can I contact for further information?
We aim to provide an excellent service to our customers, and if you have any feedback on either our pre-application guidance notes or any good or bad experiences of the pre-application process you can send your comments by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to:
Planning Area Manager