Before you apply for planning applications

Advice and guidance

Most enquiries made to the Council ask: “Do I need planning permission”, or “If I submit a planning application will I receive permission.”

Planning Portal

The nature of the planning process and the checks that have to be made are such that the Council cannot give a definitive view other than by consideration of a formal application. However the national Planning Portal website is an important source of general advice regarding the need for planning permission and the process of submitting an application.

Pre-application advice

We can provide you with advice and information on a variety of matters that you will need to consider before you make any application for permission to us.

Pre-application advice is of benefit to any prospective applicant as:

• It gives you an opportunity to understand how our policies will be applied to your development and you can identify potential problems and resolve them before an application is submitted. This can help prevent costly and time-consuming amendments to schemes later

• It may indicate that a proposal has little or no realistic chance of success, thus saving you considerable time and money

• It may lead to a reduction in time spent by your professional advisers in working up the proposals in more detail

• It can identify at an early stage whether any specialist advice is necessary (e.g. listed buildings, trees, landscape, transport, ecology or archaeology)

• We can give advice that can help you prepare a better planning application so we can process it more quickly and give you a decision sooner

To find out more about the service and charges that apply go to the Pre-application.

Planning applications can be complicated

When making an application it is very important that you submit all the information necessary for the Council to be able to accept the application as valid and complete, and then proceed to consider and make a decision on your proposals. The Local Validation List clearly identifies the information that we will normally require to be able to register, assess and determine your planning application.

In addition we have produced a list of top tips (PDF) to consider when making an application.

For major structural changes we suggest you employ an agent who knows the intricacies of the planning system and can draw up plans that meet our planning requirements as well as your needs.

Contacting your neighbours

We will tell your neighbours about any application you make and it is therefore wise, as well as courteous, to tell them what you plan to do now.

It may be that you can overcome any objections they may have by making minor adjustments to your proposal.

Take the following steps first

Whether you choose to employ an agent, seek our advice or work alone, we expect you to take the following steps before drawing up your proposal:

1. Assess the character of the surrounding area and consider how your proposal could respect it. The character of an area is influenced by:

  • the appearance of existing buildings, their mass, height, and architectural details
  • the materials used in the buildings
  • spacing between buildings
  • trees and hedges and their relationship with buildings and the street
  • road layout and design
  • the dominant land use, e.g. residential or commercial.

2. Identify natural and built features within and adjacent to the site that should be preserved (e.g. listed buildings and significant trees).
3. Consider the likely transport impacts of their proposal and how these may be mitigated.
4. Consider the likely neighbour amenity impacts of their proposal and how these may be mitigated. 
5. Identify planning policies relevant to your proposal.
6. Select a design approach that addresses the above points.
7. Consult your neighbours, local businesses and community groups if appropriate.
8. Consider recycling and waste implications of the proposed development. For further advice, please see recycling and waste developers' guidance.

Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

The Council commenced charging of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on 1 April 2016. Applications determined after this date may be liable for CIL.

CIL is a non-negotiable levy on new development so you may wish to assess - or seek advice on - the amount of CIL which your development may be liable to pay before proceeding with a planning application or proceeding with the purchase of land or property. You may also wish to seek advice on whether any relief is available. For more information, please visit the CIL webpage.

See also

Planning application forms to download