Seeking pre-application advice can help a project

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Seeking pre-application advice can help a project

Submitting plans at the pre-application stage can often be a good idea, especially where there might be specific issues to address or even slightly controversial elements to consider.

In my last blog I looked at the planning consent process – here I want to focus on how applying for pre-application advice can be very useful.

Presenting early designs to your local planners before embarking upon the full process can help save time and costs on projects ranging from extensions and renovations to new builds.

It can ensure you have the support of the planners before you find yourself too deep into your project and it can allow you to take their thoughts, observations and suggestions into account.

Wherever I feel pre-application advice is a good idea I recommend it to my clients.

I then work with them on the design concept and draw up a set of simple plans to submit.

These take less time than a full set of drawings and are therefore less costly.

The outline drawings are submitted and, again, this is where the client can save money.

Some local authorities make no charge at this stage while others ask for a much lower fee than they do for full planning consent.

The plans are looked at more quickly than they are when going through the full process and there is no public consultation.

But you do then receive a written statement from the authority highlighting what they like and do not like about the designs.

Firstly, this allows you to address any potential problems (eg moving windows if there are concerns about neighbours being overlooked) which might result in fulling planning consent being declined.

Secondly, it gives your full application more strength if the planners can see you have either taken their views into account or that they were happy with your proposals at the pre-application stage.

I don’t suggest seeking pre-application on a standard project, but it really can be invaluable in certain situations.