Planning advice

Planning advice

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 architectplanning consultant or our planning team.

The planning advice we offer

We are currently experiencing high demand on our service coupled with unexpected staff shortages. We are trying our best to meet all demands, however there may be unavoidable delays in responding.

As an interim measure we are currently unable to field general enquiries for householder/minor development/permitted development.  We have updated our web pages to compensate – many simple enquiries are answered on our FAQ page. Please take a look before calling us.

If you still need to contact us please be aware that mornings are our busiest time. You may find it easier to call us after the lunch period.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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.

Before you ask for planning advice please:

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 (external viewings only)
  • 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

  • Complete a planning advice form
  • Calculate the appropriate fee and pay online
  • Please ensure that you include information such as description of development, a site location plan (can be Google Earth image) 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.

What happens next?

Once submitted, we aim to answer your enquiry within 42 days; some more complex schemes may take longer due to site visits and/or specialist involvement.

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.

Coronavirus (Covid 19)

Throughout the last year we have maintained our planning service with staff working remotely.  As restrictions are relaxed we look forward to a phased return to our office base and continuing the benefits realised by full electronic delivery.  Where possible we will continue to use electronic means of communication to support our commitment to the climate change agenda.  We are also looking forward to renewing face to face contact with all of our customers.

The planning team are continuing to provide a full range of planning services; determining planning applications, dealing with formal planning enquiries, giving planning advice over the telephone and by email, and, monitoring development on the ground.

While we readjust, responses may take longer than the usual 42 days; please be patient, we are trying to keep disruption to a minimum and will aim to keep applicants and the public informed when there are unavoidable delays.

All new planning applications should continue to be submitted through the planning portal website. We no longer accept planning applications or correspondence by post. When new planning applications are validated a site notice will be sent to the applicant to display at the site.

The safety of our planning staff and the public continues to be our priority.  We will continue to carry out site visits, where necessary, for new planning applications but only where the site can be seen externally. We are unable to undertake any internal site visits until the roadmap for easing restrictions allows us to do that in safe manner.

Please see the following coronavirus planning advice notes for advice on some common development queries during the pandemic.

Coronavirus planning advice note for businesses

Pop Up Campsites Guidance Note

Thank you for your patience and understanding.