For very many projects, the planning questions posed are best answered by a formal pre-application dialogue. Councils offer paid-for advice which is like the development appraisals which we provide but is inevitably more cautious and less positive in approach. The Council are unlikely to explore opportunities presented by your site unless they are specifically requested to do so in your pre-application submission. The advice provided by Councils should be based on up-to-date and intricate knowledge, not only of Council policies, but how they are implemented in practice, so it can be very valuable. In our pre-application submissions, we seek to invite Councils to support your proposals so that a subsequent planning application can offer greatest benefit to you.
Unfortunately, the quality of service offered by Councils in terms of pre-application advice is inconsistent and does not always represent value-for money for you. This is principally because of a lack of resources at many Councils, (the officer advising you may have little experience). Sometimes a formal pre-application can take many weeks. Nevertheless, it is a process that is strongly encouraged at government level and is seen as demonstrating that you as applicant wish to work in a spirit of co-operation and compromise to achieve a well-designed and appropriate development.
Our formal pre-application service typically includes:
- an understanding of your objectives via a strategic briefing
- a measured survey and drawings to illustrate the existing site
- planning research and analysis of critical planning policies
- a developed concept design plan and indicative elevations of the proposal
- a pre-application planning support statement
- submission of pre-application and follow-up
- recommendations for next steps after receipt of the Council’s pre-application written advice.
If the Council are in support of the proposal at the pre-application stage, then you can move to a full planning application with some confidence. Alternatively, dependent on the soundness of any resistance to your proposal, Get Planning and Architecture may suggest a further round of pre-application, or more likely a modified proposal responding to the planners’ concerns. In rare cases you may decide that the planners’ resistance renders your project too risky, leading you to abort your proposal and thus save the cost of a full planning application. In other rare instances, perhaps where the potential development rewards are significant, you may decide on a more assertive response, such as 2 different planning applications in parallel, giving you options to negotiate one proposal and appeal another to the Planning Inspectorate.
Most successful approvals of new build projects are achieved via a pro-active dialogue with planners through paid-for formal pre-application service. We at Get Planning and Architecture believe that the benefits for applicants are increased by taking an informative and transparent approach and by offering Councils as much detail as you can. In addition, please note that most Councils will accept putting 2 different proposals forward, (for example, houses or flats) and the feedback received can generally only be gained via a formal pre-application.
Please be wary, because we receive a lot of feedback from our clients saying that the Council pre-application they received was not worth the money and was very slow. In addition, dependent on the sensitivity of your project and its location, the advice you receive from the Council is limited by the level of detail you submit. For example, they may not comment on matters concerning trees or parking unless details are included in the Pre-application submission that we prepare.