The Council welcomes the opportunity to meet with applicants to discuss planning proposals before a formal planning application is made.
The National Planning Policy Framework also encourages engagement with Local Planning Authorities and local communities to achieve early consideration of planning issues and improved outcomes for local development.
Early discussion can help applicants to gain a clear understanding of the proposal, to receive advice regarding relevant local and national policies relating to the application, to understand the planning history of the site concerned and to gain specialist, technical advice in regard to the application.
It helps to indicate the likely success or otherwise of a proposal and ensures a good healthy dialogue early in the process. These discussions will also allow the appropriate planning officer to set out relevant information requirements that should be supplied with any application for planning consent. Overall this process should assist in speeding up your application through the planning system and offer you a level of comfort before embarking on your project fully. Having written advice will provide clarity of the proposal to all parties.
Entering into pre application discussions can help save time and wasted expense. The guidance given by the Council’s officers can then be taken into account in the preparation and working up of your proposals, which makes them more likely to comply with policies and guidance.
A written reply setting out the Council’s pre application advice will be provided in every case. One meeting with a planning officer will be arranged if we consider it to be necessary. Subsequent meetings for ‘major’/’large major’ schemes will be arranged as we deem necessary. The fee payable does not include the cost of specialist advice on design, historic buildings and archaeology. this is provided by Essex County Council. If this advice is to be provided there will be an additional fee payable to Essex County Council which the applicant would be required to pay.
For the most significant schemes or strategic scale development, a Planning Performance Agreement (project management plan) may be appropriate in which the process of dealing with the proposal in accordance with a timetable, principles and procedures are agreed together. A Planning Performance Agreement would be drawn up at the pre application stage and would lead the process through the application stage.
Requests for pre application advice should be made using the online form.
Supporting documents and plans should be emailed to Planning@castlepoint.gov.uk. Please note this is not a mailbox for general enquiries.
When you submit the pre application request form you will be given a reference number. Please ensure you quote this when you email your supporting documents and plans.
Upon receipt of your request and payment for pre application advice, we will aim to contact you within 10 working days either to request further details or to confirm that your request is complete and has been allocated to a planning officer for action.
We will endeavour to deal with all requests for pre application advice but there may be occasions when conflicting workloads do not allow sufficient time to commit to the preapplication process, If we are unable to accept an application you will be advised within 10 working days.
Payment of the relevant fee must be made by Debit / Credit card to the Councils Customer Services Team 01268 882200. All fees are inclusive of VAT.
For Strategic developments you will need to submit your request online and the officer will inform you of the fee once determined
We will expect the following to be provided to enable your request to be actioned:
To ensure that requests for pre application advice are as productive as possible, applicants or their agents will be expected to provide sufficient information and plans to describe and explain their proposals. On receipt of the pre application request officers may require further information before they are able to proceed. In such cases, the pre application process may take longer in order that we are in a position to provide a comprehensive response.
Please note that you can submit as much detail above the minimum requirements as you feel is helpful.
Supporting documents and plans should be emailed to Planning@castlepoint.gov.uk . Please note this is not a mailbox for general enquiries. When you submit the pre application request form you will be given a reference number. Please ensure you quote this when you email your supporting documents and plans.
Requests for advice will be allocated to a planning officer according to their complexity. Major schemes will normally be dealt with by a senior officer. To ensure that the process is as seamless as possible, the planning officer will usually also deal with any subsequent planning application.
We will aim to arrange a meeting within 25 working days from the date your request is accepted as complete, except for the more complex proposals where we may need to agree a longer timescale with you. We will endeavour to reply to householder enquiries quicker than this where possible. Where a meeting is held, a written summary of the main points will be sent within 10 working days of the meeting. The written summary will be sent by email.
In the case of major development proposals, it may (at the officer’s discretion) be necessary to consult statutory consultees and other groups prior to providing advice. Some consultees will not respond to pre application queries, those that do will charge for the service. These charges would be in addition to the pre application fee and would have to be paid by the applicant. In such cases, the pre application process may take longer in order that we are in a position to provide a comprehensive response.
The planning officer will assess the submitted information and will aim to provide you with constructive comments on the scheme in relation to the following so far as they are relevant:
Some consultees will not respond to pre application queries, those that do will charge for the service. These charges would be in addition to the pre application fee and would have to be paid by the applicant. In such cases, the pre application process may take longer in order that we are in a position to provide a comprehensive response. Please note, we may be unable to give a definitive answer on some aspects without the cooperation and responses of consultees.
We will indicate the likely information requirements (plans and supporting details/studies) to assist with the validation of any subsequent planning application. We will also explain how the development management process operates, the consultation process, decision making arrangements including committee information and the likely timetable for assessment of a planning application.
Advice given will be based on the case officer’s professional judgement and assessment of the information provided. Pre application advice whether favourable or not is given on a ‘without prejudice’ basis since the Council must on submission of an application go through the statutory procedures and formal consultations and assess the outcomes before a decision can be made Whilst advice will be given in good faith, we cannot guarantee that a subsequent planning application will be successful. We nevertheless believe that pre application advice is an extremely important part of the planning process. Fees for pre application advice will not be refunded and do not affect any statutory planning application fee subsequently required.
We recognise that you may not like the advice you receive and it remains open to you to reject the advice and submit a formal application for determination. Except where additional meetings are deemed necessary for major and large major proposals, pre application advice is provided for the scheme submitted only. Significant changes to a submitted enquiry may need to be the subject of a new enquiry and may require a further fee.
You can withdraw your application and request a refund, at any time up to and including the day you receive confirmation of your request and that it has been allocated to a planning officer for action . The refund will be subject to a £20 administration fee If you do not withdraw your request within the timeframe specified above, the full fee will remain payable and is non refundable.
Requests for pre application advice and the response provided will not be placed on the Council’s website. There is however the possibility that under the Freedom of Information Act, we will be asked to provide information about enquiries for advice and copies of any advice given. We will need to decide whether such information can be treated as exempt from disclosure, for example if it is clear that its release could prejudice commercial interests. You are therefore encouraged to indicate whether and for how long any information needs to remain confidential when making your request for advice.