Planning advice

Coronavirus (Covid 19) update - 30 July  

We recognise that the Coronavirus continues to impact on all aspects of our daily lives.  While our offices remain closed to the public, staff are continuing to work remotely to provide a full range of planning services, ensuring we are determining planning applications, dealing with formal planning enquiries, giving planning advice over the telephone and email, and, monitoring development on the ground.  However, due to our current circumstances responses may take longer than the usual 28 days we state below, please be patient, we are trying to keep disruption to a minimum and will aim to keep applicants and the public informed as we progress through the coming weeks.  We are committed to providing the best service we can in the current situation.

For the foreseeable future we are still only be able to receive new planning applications electronically through the planning portal website. We will not be able to deal with planning applications or correspondence that is received by post until further notice. We are validating new planning applications submitted to the Authority, and if valid, a site notice will be sent to the applicant to display at the site.

There are some limitations as to what we can do under current COVID guidelines - the safety of our planning staff and the public is our priority.  We are now able to carry out site visits for new applications where the site can be seen externally. But at present we are unable to undertake internal visits.

We have produced a coronavirus planning advice note for businesses, advising on some development types and their need for planning consent.

> Coronavirus planning advice note for businesses

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

The planning system can be complicated. Getting the right advice early can save you time, money and significantly improve your chances of gaining planning consent.

You can obtain planning advice from an architect, planning consultant or our planning team.

The planning advice we offer

Our Planning Advice service is aimed at shaping your ideas so they receive a positive response. We will also give advice to prevent you wasting time and money on proposals that are unlikely to be acceptable.

Whether you are a developer with big ideas or an individual with a plan to improve your home it pays to talk to us first. Some enquiries are easily answered by a quick phonecall however, for those related to larger sites we will expect you to provide sufficient information to be able to give you a detailed response.

Before you ask for planning advice please:

> read our FAQs for answers to common planning questions

> read our planning policies and guidance and familiarise yourself with policies relevant to your proposal.

Our advice service will deal with development proposals related to larger sites, commercial opportunities or changes of use.

If your proposal attracts a fee through our paid planning advice service, we will:

  • Research the site's planning history and, if required, complete a site visit
  • Appraise the proposal against local and national planning policies and local planning guidance
  • Be available to discuss the proposal
  • Consider the need for specialist information or consultation with particular bodies (e.g. Historic England, Highways, Environmental Health etc.)
  • Provide a written response with advice on whether we think planning permission is required, the proposal has a good chance of gaining planning permission, amendments are necessary or further specialist information is required
  • Provide guidance on what will be required to accompany your application in line with the Planning Validation Guide

How to request planning advice from us

If you would like planning advice from us, you will need to:

> complete a planning advice form

> calculate the appropriate fee and pay online

> include additional information (description of development, drawings and photographs) to help us understand your proposal (please be aware that our Mailbox has a limitation of 6mb)

The more information you provide the better our advice will be.

Please note

Once submitted, we aim to answer your enquiry within 28 days, some more complex schemes may take up to 42 days due to site visits and/or specialist involvement - you will be advised how long this will be.

The advice given will be based on the information submitted and upon current planning policies. If a planning application is necessary it will be considered on its merits, and the planning advice given will not prejudice the final recommendation of the Authority or the Development Management Committee.

We are in the process of reviewing the Local Plan. Emerging policy may soon become relevant in decision making, and as the Local Plan moves through examination and to adoption the current Local Plan will be replaced. You should consider emerging policy as you plan your development, and seek further advice on the weight of emerging policy before submitting any application. The draft Local Plan is available to view on our Local Plan Review page.