Pre-application advice

Introduction

This document provides guidance in respect of the council’s charges and procedures for pre-application advice. The council’s development management team deals with planning applications and appeals in relation to the use and development of land and buildings within the town. On average the team deals with around 800 planning applications and 15 appeals a year. The team currently devotes considerable time and effort to offering pre-application advice, seeing it as a key part of delivering a good planning service, even though it is not a statutory duty. Many requests for advice however, are of a speculative nature and do not lead to the submission of an application. Charging for pre-application advice allows the Council to recover at least some of the costs incurred through this service.

Why make a pre-application enquiry?

We want to promote the use of early discussions about a proposal to enable, as far as possible, the issues associated with the proposal to be identified and if possible for those issues to be resolved. There may be cases where it is not possible to resolve the issues and this process could therefore save further abortive work.

The key benefits of pre-application discussion are seen as:

  • The customer will have a better understanding of how their application will be judged against the policies in the Council’s Local Plan and other planning considerations eg. guidance

  • The process should enable early identification of the need for specialist advice for example

  • The process could give the opportunity to modify a proposal to make it potentially acceptable

  • The process could save time for both the customer and the Council

  • The process should raise the quality of development

  • The process could reduce confrontation and frustration

  • The process should enable poorly thought out proposals to be identified and prevent the cost of submitting an application

If you have pre-application discussion regarding a proposal the Council will expect the advice given by its officers to have been taken into account in submitting the proposal as a planning application. If it is evident that the advice of the Council’s officers has not been taken into account the Council may determine the application as submitted without any further discussion/negotiation.

What if I am only looking for very general advice - do I need to go through this process?

The Council will continue to provide a general level of advice to members of the public about the planning application process without the need to pay a fee and examples of this are listed below:

  • How to submit a planning application : what plans are needed; how much the fee would be; what other supporting information is required

  • What happens once the application has been submitted

  • What issues can be taken into account in considering the application

  • Whether the application would be determined by officers or the Council’s Planning Committee

What do we charge?

We will charge for both written advice and for meetings (see schedule of charges below)

Significant major applications

‘Significant Major’ development proposals include:

  • Residential schemes of over 50 units or, where the number of dwellings is not specified, a site area of over 2.5 Ha.

  • Retail, commercial and industrial schemes with a floorspace of 2000 sq.m or more or on sites of 2 hectares or more

  • Educational, hospital, leisure and recreational schemes on sites of 2 hectares or more

  • Schemes with 2 or more land uses on sites of 1.5 hectares or more

  • Changes of use of building(s) with a gross floor area of 1,500 sq. m. or more

  • Schedule 1 or Schedule 2 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) development

£840 for a meeting (£420 for a subsequent meeting)

Major applications

'Major' development schemes include:

  • Residential schemes of between 10 and 49 units or, where the number of dwellings is not specified, a site area of between 0.5 and 2.499 Ha

  • Retail, commercial and industrial schemes with a floorspace of between 1000 sq .m. and 1999 sq. m. or on sites of between 1 hectare and 1.999 Hectares.

  • Educational, hospital, leisure and recreational schemes on sites of between 1 hectare and 1.999 hectares

  • Schemes with 2 or more land uses on sites of between 1 hectare and 1.499 hectares

  • Changes of use of building(s) with a gross floor area of between 1,000 sq. m. and 1,499 sq. m. (10-49 houses/sites of between 0.5 hectares and 2.49 hectares/ floorspace of between 1000 and 1999 square metres)

£540 for a meeting (£270 for a subsequent meeting)

Small scale development

(less than 10 houses/sites of less than 0.5 hectares/ floorspace of less than 1000 square metres/ changes of use not listed above)

£240 where a meeting is required (£120 where no meeting is required)

Listed buildings / Conservation areas

£120 where site visit/and or meeting required (£60 where not)

Works to trees

£72 where site visit and or meeting required or £36 where not

Telecommunications

£120 where site visit and or meeting required or £60 where not

Advertisements

£60 where site visit and or meeting required or £30 where not

Vehicle crossings

£36

Householder development enquiries 

£50 (please note need to complete separate form)

 

Charges for abortive work done on applications which are invalid on receipt and are not subsequently made valid are now a sliding scale of fees depending on the size and nature of the application

 

Significant/major application

£90

Minor application

£60

Householder/advertisement/CLUP/CLDE/Listed Building Consent

£30

How should the fee be paid?

Once a request for pre application advice has been accepted, the form and all relevant details have been submitted and the relevant fee has been paid (payment may be made on-line through the council’s website, by phone using a debit/credit card or by cheque (payable to ‘ Blackpool Council’). We will contact you to inform you which member of the development management team the enquiry has been allocated to (case officer).

How does the process work?

To enable a detailed response and/ or for the discussion to be constructive the council needs you to provide certain information and this is detailed below. This information should be submitted with the council’s pre-application advice request form, which allows you to identify the nature of the advice sought (ie with or without a meeting/site visit)

  • Site Location Plan at an appropriate scale (usually 1:1250 or 1:2500)

  • Details of current use(s)

  • Draft design and access statement

  • Photographs and/or sketch drawings of site and surroundings

  • Draft/sketch drawings showing height and scale of development

  • Draft/sketch drawings showing layout of development

  • Freedom of Information Statement (if applicable)

If you have requested a meeting you will be contacted within 10 working days of receiving the application form to arrange a meeting. The meeting date will, where possible, be set within 28 days of the receipt of the request. Meetings will normally be held at the Municipal Buildings in a private meeting room. Any request for specialist advice should be confirmed at the time the meeting is arranged and subject to their availability, the necessary officers will be asked to attend.

Once the meeting has been confirmed, the case officer will, prior to the meeting :

  • Research the history of the site

 

  • Undertake a site visit

 

  • Identify and assess the prospective application against council policies and standards

 

  • Arrange and attend the meeting

 

 

The Head of Development Management will normally attend the initial meeting if it is a pre-application enquiry about a significant major or major proposal (see details above).

After the meeting the case officer will:

  • Within 10 working days, provide a detailed written response in the context of the plans provided and meeting discussions, which shall be issued in the name of, and signed off by the Head of Development Management

  • Invite follow up meetings if considered necessary

 

The written response will make it clear that any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, and it shall also be made clear that subsequent alterations to local and national planning policies might affect the advice given and may affect the consideration of any applications, particularly if applications are submitted some length of time after pre application discussions take place.

If you have not requested a meeting the case officer will respond to you within 21 days.

If a scheme put forward for pre-application discussion is, in principle unacceptable, you will be informed in writing. If, after you have been informed of the council’s view, you still wish to proceed with a meeting the charges as specified will be applied.

The advice that officers will give you is given in good faith but it is not binding on the council. This is because there may be new information that comes to light during the consideration of a subsequent application or as part of the notification/consultation undertaken on the application.

Contact details

For further information in regard to pre application discussions, you may contact us via:

Telephone: (01253) 476193 Email: planning@blackpool.gov.uk