Guidance Note on Pre-Application Discussion and Advice to potential developers
1. What is Pre-Application Advice?
Pre-application advice is the information given by the Local Planning Authority before a planning application is submitted. The Authority does not charge for this advice. This guidance note however sets out the kind of service customers can expect when they enter into discussions about a development proposal before submitting a formal planning application. It is specifically aimed at giving advice to prospective applicants where it has already been confirmed that some form of planning application is required.
2. What is the benefit of the advice?
The SNPA is aware that the planning system can be complicated, potentially costly and time consuming for applicants. Good early preapplication advice can give greater clarity to potential customers on whether a particular proposal is likely to receive planning permission, or whether further information is required before a planning application can be submitted. Potentially it can prevent would be applicants in unnecessary expense on professional fees and studies. It can also assist the SNPA in the timely processing of a planning application, if the pre-application advice has been followed and also in reducing the number of planning refusals and appeals.
3. What information will be supplied in the pre-application advice?
The advice could take several forms depending on the nature and complexity of the proposal. Normally the advice will cover the following areas:
• What local or national planning policies are relevant and how they will be applied to the proposal together with any Supplementary Planning Guidance the SNPA has prepared
• The need for specialist input and further information/studies that will be required with a planning application
• Depending on the level of detail supplied advice on design issues or the materials that should be used
• Issues relating to affordable housing proposals including information on who is eligible for such housing
• Whether the proposal is acceptable or whether it could be made to be acceptable with changes or if further information was supplied
4. How can the pre-application advice be obtained?
There are various forms in which an individual can obtain the advice. The more information that is supplied to the Authority, the more precise the advice. You can obtain pre-application advice by:
• Writing to the Authority
• E-mailing the Authority at: email@example.com
• Visiting or submitting information at the various Planning Surgeries held at Aberdyfi, Betws y Coed and Dolgellau
• Making a specific appointment with a Planning Officer through speaking firstly to the Planning Duty Officer
5. What information needs to be supplied by you?
The customer should supply as much information as possible to the SNPA. However it is recognised that some approaches will be on an initial informal basis where fairly limited information is available. Normally the SNPA will expect information on the following to be supplied
• A description of the proposal and what kind of planning permission is being sought
• A location plan and any other drawings/plans or sketch details you have available
• The current use of the site or building
• Supplementary photographs of the site or buildings and of the surrounding area
• Any other relevant information
6. What service will be given back to you?
The information supplied back by the SNPA in the form of pre-application advice will depend on the approach by you. Normally a written response will only be supplied where the Authority has received a written e-mail, letter or detailed meeting supplying sufficient information. A written response from the Authority will provide information on the following:
• Relevant planning history of the site
• Identification of the relevant planning policies and guidance and how these will be applied
• Identification of possible constraints on the site
• Information regarding the need for planning agreements
• Identification of other organisations which you may have to consult before submitting an application
• Other studies which you may be required to undertake in order to submit a valid planning permission
• Informal advice, which will not be binding on the Authority, expressing views on the proposals and suggestions on any possible measures which could make the proposal acceptable
The SNPA will not normally consult with other organisations on pre-application advice unless this is considered necessary with more complicated proposal or in order to give a more complete response. The Authority may suggest that the developer contact organisations directly to obtain more information and guidance. Previous historical comments by statutory consultees will be included, if relevant.
It is likely that a brief verbal request will not be recorded and therefore will be of limited use for future reference in dealing with a planning application. All written requests and responses will be recorded and filed unless of a confidential nature.
If it is considered necessary, a Planning Officer will visit the site in question and make arrangements to meet the developer/landowner on site.
7. When will a written response be given by the SNPA?
• A formal detailed response, based on the information supplied, will normally be given within 10 working days. During this period we will acknowledge receipt if the response requires a longer period or we may request further information, and if this is the case the response will be supplied a further 10 days from the receipt of any additional information.
8. How will be the pre-application advice be taken into account?
The SNPA will expect any advice given to customers to be acted upon when a planning application is submitted unless there is good reason for not doing so or circumstances have changed. In return the SNPA will seek to ensure that:
• Any pre-application advice given is carefully considered in reaching a recommendation on a planning application unless the situation has changed or new information supplied and to;
• Determine the application in a way that is consistent with the advice given at the pre-application stage or set out clearly why this may not be the case if other material planning considerations have arisen in the meantime
A record will be kept of all pre-application advice and will be available for the public to see unless the customer has stated clearly that the enquiry is commercially sensitive or confidential
Any advice given by the Authority will be the views of planning officers only and will not be binding on the Authority, in the determination of a subsequent planning application which will need to take into account the views of the public, organisations and elected members on material planning issues
9. Useful Information and Links
• Planning portal: www.planningportal.gov.uk
Click on the link below to view a pdf leaflet: