Pre Application Advice? Should you bother?

How useful is pre application advice from most planning departments suffering from reduced budgets? Should you bother?

Most Local Authority planning departments now offer this services for a fee. It ranges from;

1. written advice following a written submission

2. a meeting with written follow up

3. a meeting with written advice

These can run into hundreds of pounds with various or undefined time scales.

Feedback from various sources suggest that its a very mixed bag. The advice obtained can take a long time as there is not pre set turn around time. Also the advice is not binding and there are many stories of advice being a standard response to being contradicted once an application is submitted.

A recent story is a planning consultant submitting a scenario to replace an existing dwelling in the greenbelt in a less sensitive location and away from the working farm. The detailed submission was responded to favourably. The subsequent application for planning permission was refused. An example where the quite detailed pre application submission was pointless.

With less and less staff available many professional are suggesting a two application scenario is easier and more effective.

This entails submitting best effort with subsequent refusal. The good thing this does is that the planners have to deal with it in the allotted 8 weeks, and also you get a detailed report why it was refused. A second application that addresses these issues should be successful.

Depending upon the nature of the application the second submission would be free from a planning fee. Assuming that the scheme does not change radically other consultant fees would be minimal.

So maybe in the current climate a two application process is more prudent than pre application advice.


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