What Happens At Pre-application Discussions - Granite Building Warranties

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Key Aspects of Pre-Application Discussions

Purpose and Benefits:

  • Understanding Requirements: These discussions help applicants verify the list of local requirements and understand how planning policies apply to their specific proposal. This ensures that they are fully aware of what is needed to move forward with their application.
  • Reducing Invalid Applications: These meetings reduce the likelihood of submitting invalid applications by clarifying requirements and potential issues early on. This saves time and resources for both the applicant and the planning authority.
  • Identifying Issues: Early identification of site-specific problems, such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers, and telephone lines, allows applicants to address these issues proactively.
  • Specialist Advice: Applicants receive early advice on more complex issues such as listed buildings, neighbouring properties, trees, highways, and flood risks. This specialist input can be crucial in shaping a viable proposal.
  • Improving Success Rates: Engaging in the pre-application process significantly increases the chances of ultimate success, as planners value this preparatory step and the effort to address potential concerns beforehand.

Pre-application Discussions Process:

  • Informal Meetings: These meetings can be conducted in person, over the phone, or via email, providing flexibility in how discussions about the feasibility of ideas and potential problems are conducted.
  • Feedback and Advice: Applicants receive immediate feedback and advice, which can guide the development of their proposal. This includes suggesting alternatives to overcome any identified problems before submitting final designs.
  • Documentation: A written record of the advice and discussions is often provided. This documentation can be a material consideration in the formal planning application process, providing a reference point for both the applicant and the planning authority.


  • Non-Binding Nature: It’s important to note that the advice provided during pre-application discussions is non-binding and does not pre-empt the formal decision-making process. This means that while helpful, the advice does not guarantee approval.
  • Potential Delays: While beneficial, pre-application discussions can delay the submission of the full planning permission application and potentially the start date of the work. Applicants need to factor this into their project timelines.
  • Fees: Some local planning authorities charge for pre-application services. These fees and processes can vary between councils, so applicants should check their local authority’s specific requirements.

Engagement and Transparency:

  • Community and Stakeholder Involvement: Pre-application discussions encourage the involvement of statutory consultees, town and parish councils, and neighbourhood forums. This ensures comprehensive feedback and fosters community engagement, which can benefit the proposal’s acceptance.
  • Confidentiality: Local planning authorities should be transparent about their practices regarding disclosing pre-application discussions. They must balance the need for confidentiality with the benefits of broader community engagement, ensuring that sensitive information is protected while promoting transparency.



Only some building projects require a pre-planning discussion or pre-application advice from the local planning authority. The need for pre-application discussions typically depends on the proposed development’s scale, complexity, and potential impact.

Here are some key points about when pre-planning discussions are recommended or required:
  • Pre-application advice is not compulsory but is actively encouraged by many local planning authorities, especially for larger or more complex developments.
  • Pre-application discussions are generally not required for smaller projects like householder applications (extensions or alterations to existing homes).
  • For major developments, developments with significant impacts, listed buildings, or those requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment, pre-application discussions are highly recommended or may even be requiredby the local authority.
  • Some local authorities have specific policies or thresholds that require pre-application consultations for certain types or scales of development, even if not classified as major.
  • Pre-application discussions help identify potential issues early, ensure policy compliance, and increase the chances of a successful application.
  • However, pre-application advice may only be necessary for minor or permitted development works requiring full planning permission.

In summary, while pre-planning discussions are not universally mandatory, they are strongly encouraged for larger, more complex projects to facilitate a smoother planning process and address potential issues upfront. For smaller, routine developments, pre-application advice may not be strictly required but can still be beneficial in some cases.

Pre-application Discussions KEY TAKE AWAYS

Overall, pre-application discussions are an excellent way for applicants to fine-tune their proposals, tackle any issues early on, and boost their chances of getting approved. By participating in these meetings, applicants can get a clearer picture of the planning process, receive personalised advice, and improve their plans to meet planning rules and community needs.

Planning Application Process

Why they can go to a public consultation

For more information, please contact Ed or Kelly on 01284 365345 or email ed@granitebw.co.uk / kelly@granitebw.co.uk.

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