Pre-application advice

Please note that the charges for pre-application advice will change on 1 September 2020.

What we can offer

We provide a pre-application advice service. This service can help you by:

  • giving you an idea of whether your application is likely to succeed
  • identifying aspects of your proposal that might need to be changed before you submit your application
  • advising you on documents and information you will need to submit with your application

What we cannot offer

If you aren’t sure about what you need to do, please ask:

What we need from you 

The online form will ask you to provide information relevant to your request. We are unable to accept enquiries received by email or post and amendments are not accepted once your enquiry has been submitted.

To process your enquiry, we need the following information:

  • completed online form
  • correct fee
  • location plan (to identify the site and relevant planning constraints) (You can buy large-scale OS maps from Ordnance Survey or buy a location plan from the Planning Portal)
  • relevant plans - to get the best value from your enquiry you will need to submit drawings of your proposal. We recognise that scale plans can be costly. We will accept drawings annotated with measurements.
  • supporting documents

You can find out more about the criteria we follow when considering planning applications on our planning policy pages.

How we will respond

Once you have submitted your request with the correct information and the relevant fee, we will:

  1. record the pre-application enquiry on our database
  2. send you an email acknowledgement
  3. contact you for more information, if something is missing
  4. allocate the case to a planning officer
  5. contact you to arrange a site visit
  6. identify if other specialists should be invited (where a meeting is included) and contact you with a suggested date and time 
  7. respond to your enquiry in writing (following the site visit and/or meeting). Target response times are listed in the fees schedule 

Our response will generally cover the following:

  • the planning constraints of the site
  • the degree to which a proposal is compliant with planning policy
  • if amendments need to be made to the proposal
  • whether further specialist information would be required at application stage, for example tree surveys or flood risk assessments
  • if financial contributions would be necessary

The detail of our response will be proportionate to the detail you can provide us.

Disclaimer:

Any advice given is made in good faith and represents the informal opinion of an officer and not necessarily that of the council. Advice will be as accurate as possible, based on current policies and the quality of information you submit. Any advice given doesn't constitute a formal decision and doesn't prejudice any future formal decisions made by the council of any formal planning application which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity.

Although every effort will be made to meet the target timescales, if we require a longer response period in individual circumstances, council officers will notify developers/householders accordingly.

Meetings 

Due to current restrictions we can only offer virtual meetings using video conferencing until further notice. These meetings outlined in our fees section will normally be held on a Tuesday or Thursday.

The online form will prompt you for your availability and once we have validated your request, we will contact you to confirm a meeting date and time. Where relevant and available, additional officers may be invited to the meeting. This may include officers from the following internal teams: conservation, trees, environmental health, Housing and Leisure.

Meetings in relation to householder, shopfronts/adverts, listed building/conservation area or tree enquiries will be held on site subject to social distancing.

Fees

The fees we charge for pre-application advice are listed below. All fees include VAT and will not be refunded if you decide advice is no longer required, even if we have not yet provided it. Payment must be made online at the point of submission by credit or debit card only. You can select an option for a third party to pay the relevant fee. The enquiry will not be submitted to the council until such payment has been made. 

Where an application is for a combination of works, for example a commercial scheme that includes residential units, the higher of the two fees is applicable and the relevant scheme should be selected when applying. Selection of a lower value scheme will result in the application being rejected and the fee refunded. A second application will need to be submitted and the correct fee paid.

Householder (extensions/alterations to a home)

Householder

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 10 working days after site visit
  • no specialist advice will be given
  • fee: £150

Householder (listed building)

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 10 working days after site visit 
  • specialist advice will be given in relation to listed buildings only
  • fee: £300

Householder follow up

  • if within 3 months of response on same scheme
  • written response only
  • fee: £100

Minor applications

1 - 9 dwellings (replacement dwelling)

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • meeting within 15 working days from validation (relevant specialists to be invited, subject to availability)
  • note of meeting provided within 10 working days of meeting
  • minutes written by applicant can be agreed by officers
  • fee: £500 (1 dwelling or replacement dwelling)
  • fee: £1,000 (2-5 dwellings – gross)
  • fee: £1,500 (6-9 dwellings – gross)

Follow up

  • If within 3 months of response on same scheme
  • Written response only
  • 50% of original fee

Major applications

10-50 dwellings

  • site visit within 10 days of validation
  • up to 3 meetings – 1st within 15 working days of validation
  • relevant specialists to be invited, subject to availability
  • note of meeting provided within 15 working days of each meeting
  • minutes written by applicant can be agreed by officers
  • fee: £5,000 (10-20 dwellings) 
  • fee: £10,000 (21-50 dwellings)
  • fee: £1,500 (additional meetings) 

Commercial development

Shopfronts/adverts

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 5 working days after site visit 
  • if listed building, will include specialist advice   
  • fee: £150

Up to 4999 sqm 

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • meeting within 15 working days of validation (relevant specialists to be invited, subject to availability)
  • written response within 10 working days of meeting
  • minutes written by applicant can be agreed by officers
  • fee: £250 (up to 49 sqm)
  • fee: £500 (50-999 sqm)
  • fee: £1,250 (1000-4999 sqm)

Listed buildings/conservation areas

Internal alterations or repairs to listed building.

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 10 working days of site visit
  • fee: £330

Tree advice

Tree advice in relation to applications for works or felling to TPO trees or trees within a conservation area.  

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 10 working days of site visit
  • fee: £75

Tree advice relating to a development site

  • site visit within 10 working days of validation
  • written response within 10 working days of site visit
  • fee: £200

Planning performance agreements

51+ dwellings, 5000+ sqm commercial

For strategic schemes or where appropriate. May include: 

  • multiple meetings to be mutually agreed 
  • attendance by relevant officers
  • additional involvement of managers
  • agreed timescales
  • fast-track validation
  • presentation by developer to relevant councillors 
  • fee: negotiable

The fee will vary depending on the scale, complexity and the resource required to deliver the level of service requested. Contact tplan@elmbridge.gov.uk for an informal discussion if you are looking to use this service.

Fee exemptions

  • advice given to non-profit making organisations / charities / hospitals / statutory bodies (until the point where professional agents are appointed)
  • disabled person – advice on proposals relating to works for the benefit of a disabled person
  • Community Infrastructure Levy project
  • Claygate Parish Council 

Community involvement

We encourage community involvement in the planning process at an early stage, before an application is submitted. This may take the form of discussions with neighbours, a local exhibition, public meeting, circulation of leaflets, or the creation of a well-publicised dedicated website, including a facility to make comments. 

The case officer can identify community and other interested groups and/or elected members that are likely to have an interest in the proposal. Third party comments should be considered before formalising a proposal and any application, which has undertaken pre-application consultation with a community group, should set out the details of the consultation process and how the application has responded.

Planning Aid

Planning Aid is a network of planning volunteers providing free and independent advice to community groups and individuals who can’t afford a consultant. 

If you need any help or have any questions, please visit Planning Aid.

Freedom of Information 

Pre-application submissions and our written responses to them are not normally published on our website or made available for public viewing. However, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) we may receive requests for information relating to pre-application requests and any advice given. 

We are obliged to provide this information, however this does not include personal details, confidential or commercially sensitive information. If you feel your submission contains confidential or commercially sensitive information you must bring this to our attention at the start of the correspondence.

For information on how we use your data please read our privacy notice

Our Commitment

We will identify the key planning issues of your proposal and an indication of any constraints related to the site. Advice beyond the site boundary will be provided where specific policy areas apply.

We aim to respond within the target period, however targets are subject to change during times of high application volumes and demand.

Advice given will be the informal opinion of a competent planning officer acting reasonably with the information supplied, based on the current law and policies.
Our advice cannot anticipate issues that result from public consultation which is part of considering a planning application.

Our advice cannot fully anticipate the formal consideration process of a planning application; neither will it be binding on the consideration of any resulting application.

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