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Pre-application Advice

Our advice service

What information do I need to give you?

How much will advice cost?

What do to next

Useful Information

Can I get pre-application advice from other organisations? 

Freedom of Information 


We strongly recommend you get advice from us before making an application. It means you:

  • Avoid costly mistakes and save time
  • Understand our policies and specialist areas that apply to your development
  • Identify potential problems early on and find solutions
  • Get advice about how to improve your scheme.

Wherever appropriate for the level of advice sought, we will provide positive advice about improving schemes, not just advise whether they are likely to be supported, and in our responses we will advise about the information needed for a subsequent application.

We want to give you the best advice we can. By doing some work before you ask for advice you can find out what the council's policies are and take them into account in your plans.

You may also find it helpful to do some research into previous planning decisions at your site and look at the policies we use to assess applications. They are in our Draft Local Plan Proposed Submission 2016 and other documents -  please see Current Planning Policies.

We also suggest you think about who might be affected by what you want to do and talk to them about your plans

Advice is provided by an individual planning officer, but it is agreed by a more senior colleague before being issued, and advice provided through this service cannot prejudice the council's formal decision if you make an application

Our advice service

We can provide different levels of advice depending on how much detail and support you want. Due to levels of workloads priority will be given to determining planning applications.  However, we will still aim where possible to provide advice within the timescales provided below.

Level 1 (a) Householders - this service is available through the duty planning officer between the hours of 9am - 1pm Monday to Friday.  It is appropriate when you want general advice about the principle of a proposal and meetings will last up to 15 minutes.  We will not visit the site.  We will provide a written summary of our advice within two weeks.

Other Developments - This gives the simplest level of advice and is appropriate only where you want very general advice about the principle of a proposal.  It will suit you if you wish to avoid the time and expense of getting detailed plans drawn and do not want detailed advice.  We will not visit the site.  We will provide a written summary of our advice within two weeks.

We will advise only whether the principle of the development you want to do is acceptable.  Examples might be asking us about the principle of extending the roof of your house or the principle of converting a building into flats.

(b)  This advice will enable you to have a meeting with a planning officer to discuss your proposal.  The meeting will last no longer than one hour and no written advice will be provided following the meeting.  Level 1(b) service is appropriate for agents and developers who are familiar with national and local plan policy and would like to know whether the principle of a scheme is acceptable and where changes to the scheme should be considered.  Indicative plans and details should be provided.

It is only possible to receive advice under either (a) or (b) under this level.

You will normally find it helpful to get more advice from us through levels 2 or 3 before you submit a planning application.

We cannot offer this service to alterations to listed buildings.

Level 2 This will provide you with much more detailed written advice than level 1, including on the detail of your proposal, within four weeks of your request.  We will not include a meeting to discuss your proposals or explore alternatives, but to provide advice accurately we will visit the site before we advise you.

Level 3 This is the same as level 2 but also includes a meeting to explain our advice and explore improvements and alternatives with you.  Following the meeting we will issue our advice in writing within five working days of the meeting.

Your planning officer will advise whether the meeting will be best held on site at the time of the visit or later in the process at our office.  The meeting will normally be for no more than 1 hour for developments up to 5 dwellings, 6 dwellings and over for no more than 2 hours, but for larger proposals the meeting may be longer.

It is rarely necessary for anyone other than your architect or planning agent to attend the site visit.  Once you have requested advice, your planning officer will advise if anyone else should attend.

Level 2 and 3 follow-up advice

Once you have our advice through levels 2 or 3 you may amend your proposals and want updated advice.

The fee for this is lower than the initial advice and you can choose whether to have it without a meeting (level 2) or with a meeting (level 3).

Level 4 This is designed for larger and more complex proposals where ongoing advice is required from a range of officers, possibly over many months or years.  We would ideally manage the process through a Planning Performance Agreement with you, following an initial inception meeting to agree the objectives of the agreement including timescales, key milestones and scheduled meetings.  In some cases, it might include preparing a brief or Supplementary Planning Document to guide development of the site.  The cost of this will depend on the nature of the scheme and will be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

Should either party not wish to enter into a PPA, a fee will be calculated by the Development Management department on a case-by-case basis, which will cover officer time as well as any expert advice required.

What information do I need to give you?

The more information you give us about what you want to do, the more valuable and precise our advice will be.  A pre-application advice form has been prepared for assistance although requests for this service will be accepted without one.  The following information is required when you ask for advice and cannot accept further plans and documents later:

  • clear address for the site, preferably with the postcode
  • brief description of what you want to do — a 'two storey rear extension'
  • confirmation of the advice level you require
  • plans of what you want to do, drawn to metric scale, preferably no bigger than A3 with a scale bar on each page
  • a fee to cover our costs of providing your advice (see below)

To get the best out of the service we suggest you also send us more detailed information where you can, such as

  • scaled plan showing where your proposal would be on the site
  • photographs showing the key features of the site with the directions shown on the plan above

How much will advice cost?

Proposed Scales of Development

Level 1 advice (£)

Level 2 advice (£)

Level 2 follow-up advice (£)

Level 3 advice (£)

Level 3 follow-up advice (£)

Householder

50

75

50

100

75

Single dwelling

100

150

100

300

175

2- 5 dwellings

275

500

250

700

400

6-9 dwellings

400

650

300

850

600

10 - 24 dwellings

550

900

400

1200

700

25 - 50 dwellings

850

1000 for 25 dwellings

+ £100 for each additional 5 dwellings or part thereof

800

1500 for 25 dwellings

+ £100 for each additional 5 dwellings or part thereof

1000

51 + dwellings

Please contact the Planning Department with details of your proposal in order for a fee to be calculated

Walls, fences (boundaries) (not householder)

100

150

75

250

150

Listed buildings (householders) where planning permission is not required

Advice not available

 

100

50

150

100

Listed buildings (commercial) where planning permission is not required

Advice not available

250

150

300

200

Proposed Floor Areas (m²)

Up to 100

100

150

100

300

200

101-500

200

500

250

700

350

501-1000

300

800

350

1100

500

1001 - 5000

500

1500

400

2500

750

5000+ individually calculated based on the proposal

Please contact the Planning Department with details of your proposal in order for a fee to be calculated

Change of Use (not for the creation of dwellinghouses)

  150

300

400

450

300

Any request for service outside of the above parameters will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Where advice is required to resolve a breach of planning control, we may charge an individual site specific fee to ensure we cover the costs of providing advice.

The cost of the time we take to provide advice is not covered by the statutory fee for making a planning application. The charge covers our costs for providing the advice and so it is not met by council tax payers generally.

The scale of fees is based on the size of the proposal and the level of detail that is sought.  We currently offer a reduced fee for parish and town councils, registered charities and development to assist those with disabilities.

If your proposal includes more than one category of development, the fee payable is the highest of those that apply, but they are not added together.

The fee includes VAT at 20 per cent and will not be refunded if you decide advice is no longer required even if we have not yet provided it.

What do to next

Please submit your application using the button below.

Apply Online - PA enquiry This link opens in a new browser window

Please make cheques are payable to 'Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council' or you can pay by credit or debit card over the telephone (01707 357000).

Useful information

There are many considerations that need to be taken account of when considering development.  To assist, two guidance leaflets have been produced - one for householders pdf icon Pre-app guidance for householder [340KB] and one for all other developments pdf icon Pre-app guidance [383KB].  The relevant parts of the guidance note will be provided to you with your written pre-application response.

Can I get pre-application advice from other organisations?

As part of the pre-application advice we will obtain the advice of other council departments and bodies, which might include Landscaping, Environmental Health, Herts County Council Highways, Herts County Council Sustainable Drainage Approval Body, for example. The Environment Agency and Natural England provide advice as follows:

pdf icon Environment Agency Pre-Application Advice [230KB]

pdf icon Natural England Stakeholder Update on Chargeable Services [27KB]

Freedom of Information

Under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or Environmental Information Regulations 2004 we may receive a request to disclose pre-application advice requests and the advice we have provided. Please note that any information provided may have to be disclosed.

More information about Freedom of Information can be found at Gov.uk - How to make a freedom of information (FOI) request

 

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