The benefits of a pre-application

Many Councils offer a pre-application advice service, which can be very beneficial to applicants and developers; potentially saving you time and money.

Full and outline planning applications can often involve a large fee, depending on the size of the scheme, however a pre-application allows you to understand the Council’s initial standpoint on a project. This will help to determine where complications could arise before making a potentially substantial investment of a planning application. 

What are the benefits of a pre-application?

The full benefits of pre-application advice submissions are:

  • It tests the limits of what would be acceptable at a particular site;
  • Further clarification on desired design and layout, to ensure a successful application;
  • Clarification regarding the Council’s validation checklist;
  • Potential to save money by ruling out various technical reports;
  • Far greater level of certainty surrounding constraints and unknown factors;
  • Feedback from the Council regarding the acceptability of a scheme;
  • Opportunities to establish a good repour with Council Officers;
  • Gain a further understanding of the political environment and policy drivers;
  • Opportunities for early local engagement (e.g. Parish Council) alongside Council engagement;
  • Opportunities for discussing entering into a Planning Performance Agreement for a subsequent planning application, which can speed up the planning application process. 

Here’s an example of how important and helpful a pre-application can be:

Case study – Tudor Stud Farm

Streetscene plan prepared by Hives Architects LLP for Tudor Stud Farm

ET Planning were able to utilise the pre-application service offered by Buckinghamshire Council in order to understand the opportunities for a residential development for four dwellings at Tudor Stud Farm which is situated within the Wycombe area.

The outcomes of the pre-application submission included:

  • A positive response for scope for residential development
  • A discussion around density and character led to the LPA suggesting that more dwellings could be proposed (in the form of smaller properties), meaning that an enhanced scheme for six dwellings was then proposed in the subsequent planning application
  • A Highways pre-application also submitted to the County Council, who provided confirmation that a single access point would be acceptable giving certainty over the design of the wider layout, and this also ensured that the impact on the existing hedgerow could be minimised.
  • Positive engagement intiated with the Parish Council, in respect of how the site sits within the Parish’s made Neighbourhood Plan.

On larger sites, we would also recommend exploring promoting your site through the Local Plan or Neighbourhood Plan process before submitting a pre-application. Further detail can be found at https://www.etplanning.co.uk/land-promotion/

If you are considering a full or outline planning application and would like to discuss the opportunities of starting with a pre-application, contact ET Planning today and a member of the team will be able to discuss this further with you.