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Planning

Biodiversity Net Gain

From Monday 12 February 2024 all major applications must be accompanied by a Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment via the latest version of the DEFRA Biodiversity Metric spreadsheet. This must be supplied to make a valid submission.

The Outline and Full application validation checklists have been updated to reflect this.

Planning Application Amendments

In order to ensure timely decision-making for all our applicants, the planning department (Development Services) will not accept amendments to planning applications.  Once a planning application is made valid it will be publicly available on our Public Access webpages with full details of expected timescales for determination, within statutory timescales.

Please continue to monitor the Public Access webpages for updates including consultee responses to a planning application.

Public Access - Essential Maintenance 20 July 2024

The Public Access website will be unavailable on Saturday 20 July 2024 due to essential maintenance being carried out. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

We have relaunched the pre-application service following its pause due to COVID-19 and limited resourcing. One of the key elements of the new service is the introduction of an electronic process - pre-application enquiries will now be submitted and paid for using an online form. 

 What is pre-application advice?

Pre-application advice allows the local authority to provide an initial view on a development proposal before a planning application is submitted.

We will provide:

  • advice on the acceptability of a proposal in principle

  • detailed comments on a development and

  • advice on what documents are required to accompany a planning application.

We welcome pre-application discussions and they are encouraged in national guidance, as a means of dealing with any issues at the first stage of a proposed development that is being considered.

Requesting pre-application advice does not guarantee that planning permission will be granted, but it can provide advice on what would be required to ensure certain issues are addressed.

What are the benefits of seeking pre-application advice?

Submitting a formal planning application can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming, especially if it is refused for reasons that could have been overcome before submission.

Pre-application advice enables you to:

  • avoid delays caused by invalid applications

  • save the cost of pursuing applications that are unacceptable in principle

  • avoid the application being refused, or needing to resubmit, for issues that could have been resolved before submission

  • reduce the time (and fees) of your professional advisors

  • understand the relevant policies that apply to your development

  • identify the need for specialist input (for example, listed buildings, trees, noise etc)

  • understand the documents that will be required for validation, and what further supporting information could be helpful

  • work collaboratively with the planning department to overcome any problems.

What pre-application services do we offer?

Written advice

Written advice with an option of a 1-hour meeting at our office (Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TN)  or on Microsoft Teams.

Please see the category list below:

  • Mixed use developments - Development projects may be classified as "mixed-use" if they provide more than one use or purpose within a shared building or development area. Mixed-use developments may include any combination of housing, office, retail, commercial, industrial or other.

  • Householder alterations/extensions - advice on extensions or alterations to a domestic property. This includes development such as, but not limited to: conservatory's, extensions, outbuildings, annexes, cladding and alterations to windows

  • Enforcement - further detailed advice on regulation/submission of an application where there have been planning enforcement investigations. This will most likely be at the recommendation of an Planning Enforcement Officer where there has already been engagement

  • Lawful Development Certificates (LDC) - advice for LDCs for either householders or other developments. A lawful development certificate aims to conclude whether something would be lawful or considered permitted development

  • Minor residential (1 new dwelling) - advice on the erection or creation of residential units

  • Minor residential (2-9 new dwellings) - advice on the erection or creation of residential units

  • Major residential (10-199 new dwellings) - advice on the erection or creation of residential units

  • Major residential (200+ new dwellings) - advice on the erection or creation of residential units

  • Commercial or industrial developments – advice on commercial, industrial, renewables etc

  • Agriculture - advice on agricultural use

  • Change of use - high-level policy advice on a proposed change of use. No option for a meeting

  • Principle of development (minor) - high-level policy advice on the principle of development. This is about whether a site in principle is acceptable for development. It is before you begin detailed design of a scheme. No option for a meeting

  • Principle of development (major) - high-level policy advice on the principle of development. This is about whether a site in principle is acceptable for development. It is before you begin detailed design of a scheme. No option for a meeting.

There is no standalone listed building pre-application advice. If you require advice on a development to a listed building or within the curtilage of a listed building, then please identify the relevant development type above. For example, if you are looking to build an extension on a residential property that is a listed building, you will need to select the Householder alterations/extensions type.

Please note that for pre-application enquiries of 200+ dwellings or of 10,000+sqm, we reserve the right to delay the validation of your pre-application enquiry in order to get in touch with you to discuss whether a planning performance agreement could be a more appropriate approach.

What to expect from us

For householders' pre-application enquiries

We will endeavour to process and issue householder pre-application advice within 4 weeks of submission. The case officer will be in contact to arrange an alternative timeframe if required. Please note, that if a meeting is selected, this may impact on the deliverability of the advice within the 4 week period.

For any other type of pre-application enquiries

We will endeavour to process and issue the pre-application advice within 8 weeks of submission. The case officer will be in contact to arrange an alternative timeframe if required.

We will provide a written response which will include:

  • advice on the acceptability of a proposal in principle

  • detailed comments on a development and

  • advice on what documents are required to accompany a planning application.

On major development schemes, an Urban Designer will provide comments and attend a meeting if selected.

On any development schemes within an Conservation Area, an Conservation Officer will provide comments. If a meeting has been selected, it will be an internal decision whether an Conservation Officer will need to attend the meeting.

For information on how to request additional specialist advice such as Trees or Landscape, please discuss with your assigned planning case officer once your pre-application enquiry has been registered.

We do not offer site visits as part of our pre-application advice service.

1. Pre-application enquiry submitted through the website. 2. Our Admin Team will check the submission to see if we have everything we need and will send an acknowledgement email. 3. If the optional meeting has been selected, a planning officer will be in contact to arrange meeting. The meeting will then be held at the agreed time. 4. Pre-application advice provided by email.

1. Pre-application verbal advice meeting request submitted through the website. 2. Our admin team will check the submission and will be in contact to arrange the meeting at the next available slot. 3. The meeting will be held with a planning officer who will provide verbal advice.

Fees

View the Pre-Application Advice Fee Schedule.

What we need from you when submitting a pre-application

This pre-application advice service is an online service so it is important you provide a valid email address when completing the application form. All pre-application advice will be issued by email.

The quality of your pre-application advice will depend on the quality and quantity of information you submit within your pre-application enquiry. Therefore, it is important that you provide as much information as possible.

To ensure we receive an acceptable level of information about your proposal, we have a list of required documents that will need to be submitted with your online application.

For written advice pre-application enquires

Minimum document list

  • a covering letter or similar document describing the proposed development, including the existing and proposed uses. Outlining the functional need for such a proposed use

  • a location plan identifying the site, its boundaries and neighbouring properties

  • existing and proposed site plan (metric measurements of the positioning of the proposed development within the site and the distances from neighbouring boundaries)

  • existing and proposed floor plans (Plans of each of the affected floors of the building where operational works are proposed)

  • existing and proposed elevations (upper and lower limits for height, width and length, in metres, of each building within the site boundary).

If you are requesting advice regarding Householder Alterations/Extensions please also submit photographs of your property including the boundaries.

However, for written advice pre-application enquiries regarding change of use, principle of development minor or principle of development major, only the following information is required:

  • a covering letter or similar document describing the proposed development, including the existing and proposed uses

  • a location plan identifying the site, its boundaries and neighbouring properties.

If you are requesting a meeting (please note, this incurs an additional fee) as part of the written advice service, please provide clarification of the purpose of the meeting, including a draft proposed agenda. Please note meetings are scheduled to last up to 1 hour and will either be held at Pathfinder House, St Mary's Street, Huntingdon, PE29 3TN, or on Microsoft Teams.

Upload these with the online application if you have them available:

In addition, and only where the proposal involves works to, or within the curtilage of, a listed building:

  • a description of the significance of the heritage assets affected and the contribution of their setting to that significance

  • full details of the works proposed, including existing and proposed floor plans and elevations where they are affected by the proposal

  • an explanation of the rationale for the design, including details of its evolution through the design process

  • an assessment of the impact of the proposals upon the significance of the heritage assets and their setting.

Important submission/payment information for applicants and agents

As outlined above, this is an electronic pre-application service now. Once the pre-application advice enquiry web from has been submitted, it is automatically integrated into our internal planning system. Therefore, forms and payments need to go through the website.

If you are an agent acting on behalf of an applicant, and you require them to pay the fee amount, you will need to make note of your 'Form Reference Number' which is displayed at the top of the web form and click 'Save for later'. You will then need to send them the 'Form Reference Number' displayed above (for example RSFLMPRD) and the following correct link depending on which form you are completing:

Written advice form: Written Pre-Application Advice (With Optional Meeting)

This link will take them to the form start page, and they will need to use the 'continue a saved form' and insert the relevant form reference to complete payment. Once the payment is completed, the form will be submitted.

How do I apply?

Use the links below to submit your application

Written advice form: Written Pre-Application Advice (With Optional Meeting)

What we do with your information

The information provided will be dealt with under current legislation. For further details on how we use the information you give us please visit the Your Information page.