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Pre-application discussions

Benefits of pre-application discussions

Information for Prospective Purchasers and General Guidance on Householder Planning Applications

To help provide prospective developers and those who want to extend their house, with a consistent and high standard of service the Council charges a fee for pre-application advice. To arrange this please use the pre-application advice form

The Council considers such discussions are of benefit to the prospective applicant by identifying the relevant planning issues, the site history and planning policies relevant to the site, the supporting information required with the application and the range of other statutory consents that may be required. Also, where applicable, the possible requirements of any legal agreement can also be identified, so prospective applicants can arrange for legal obligations to be prepared and submitted with applications.

A new pre-application advice service for larger schemes will be available from 1 April 2016.

What types of developments are covered by the charging arrangements?

Charges apply to all meetings or exchanges of correspondence in respect of all extensions, new build, conversions or change of use proposals.

Charges do not apply to proposals which involve improving access for disabled people to their homes nor for advice on enforcement matters. Parish or village councils will be allowed a 50% reduction in the charges in respect of their own proposals. No guarantee of a particular decision or even recommendation can be given.

Advice from the Highway Authority

Advice from Surrey County Council in their capacity as the Highway Authority on matters of a technical nature and in terms of their view on transportation sustainability can also be obtained. The County Council charges for this advice.

The County Council's charges are in addition to our charges.

What information will the Council require to assist effective pre-application discussions?

Planning officers are often asked to give advice on vague and undefined development proposals. It is difficult for planning officers to respond meaningfully if proposals are insufficiently clear.

Before meeting with developers or their agents, we expect them to think carefully about their proposals and to provide us in advance with some basic information. This helps all concerned use meeting time effectively and provides the best advice.

The following basic information should be provided with any request for pre-application advice:

  • Description of the proposed development and schedule of users.
  • A site location plan (scale 1:1250) with site boundary indicated.
  • Photographs and sketch drawings showing the site as existing, indicating buildings, trees and schedule of existing uses.
  • Outline of proposal (on plans scale 1:200 or similar).
  • Sketch drawings showing height/scale of development.
  • For larger sites, other information may be required including information related to any necessary Environmental Impact Assessment.
  • Results of any preliminary consultations carried out by the prospective application with service providers such as highways, drainage, health and education).

What is the procedure for seeking paid pre-application advice and what standards of service you can expect?

When you contact us seeking a meeting, we will expect you to complete the pre-application advice form. This will ask you to confirm:

  • The required information has been provided (proposed plans and completed application form)
  • You have submitted payment

Once this has been received, you will receive confirmation by email which will include the case officer’s contact details.

Please note that meetings will not normally be held for householder enquiries, and for these requests advice will be provided by letter.

Where a meeting is to be held, the case officer will aim to make contact within 5 working days of receipt of the acknowledgement email to make the necessary arrangements, and to request any additional information that may be required.  The date of the meeting will be set according to officer availability, and whether there will be a need for other specialist officers to attend.  Meetings will normally be held at the Council Offices in Oxted, but we can also consider site meetings if required, subject to an additional charge (this would be in addition to any charge already made for a site visit, which relates only to the officer visiting the site in advance of the meeting).  

Where written advice only is to be given, we will aim to provide this within 15 working days of the date of acknowledgement, unless otherwise agreed with the case officer. Following a meeting, we will aim to provide a summary of the discussion/meeting notes within 10 working days of the meeting, unless otherwise agreed with the case officer.

Follow up meetings may be arranged at the case officer’s discretion, subject to the payment of an additional fee.

Anyone using this service should note:

  • Any advice given by Council officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal response or decision of the District Council in respect of any future planning applications.
  • Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, based on existing planning policies and standards, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any future formal planning application which will be the subject of public consultation and ultimately decided by the Council.
  • Little or no weight should be given to the content of the Council's pre-application advice for schemes which are submitted more than one year after the advice being issued. The responsibility for checking that advice is still current rests with the prospective applicant. This period may be reduced if a material change in policy at either national or local level is introduced.
  • Any advice given in relation to planning history of the site, planning constraints or statutory designations does not constitute a formal response under the provisions of the Local Land Charges Act 1975.

Results of such meetings will not be available for public inspection on the internet or by personal callers. However, the Council may be required to supply copies of correspondence to any party making a Freedom of Information request.

Separate arrangements/timescales will apply to advice being provided under the larger schemes pre-application advice service.  

What do you charge for pre-application discussions and follow-up written advice?

Larger Schemes Fee
The fee includes up to 3 meetings, a site visit and a factual presentation to the members of the Planning Committee and local ward councillors £5000

All prices are inclusive of VAT at 20%.

Dwellings Letter Meeting Site Visit
10 or more (or sites over 0.5ha where the number of dwellings is unknown) £800 £1200 for up to 2 hours Additional £140
5 or more (or of less than 0.5ha where the number of dwellings is unknown) £470 £700 for up to 1.5 hours Additional £140
4 or less (if the number of dwellings is unknown the charges above apply) £256 £395 Additional £140

All prices are inclusive of VAT at 20%.

Non-residential development  Letter Meeting Site Visit
Floor area proposed exceeds 1000 sq.m (or where the floor area is not known, site area exceeds 0.5ha) £800 £1200 for up to 2 hours Additional £140
Floor area proposed less than 1000 sq.m (or where the floor area is not known, site area does not exceed 0.5ha) £470 £700 for up to 1.5 hours Additional £140
Not falling into the above; e.g. adverts, telecoms, reserved matters, shop fronts etc. £256 £395 Additional £140

All prices are inclusive of VAT at 20%.

Householder proposals Fee
This only applies to advice requested by Tandridge residents in connection with their principal place of residence on matters that would be covered by the Householder Proposals national application form (1APP). £100

All prices are inclusive of VAT at 20%.

Householder proposals for prospective owners Letter Meeting Site Visit
Householder proposals which do not meet the criteria above. £256 £395 Additional £140

All prices are inclusive of VAT at 20%.

Charges are based on estimates of officer time (including support staff), overheads and on-costs. Cheques should be made payable to Tandridge District Council.

Follow-up requests

If you received pre-application advice by letter or at a meeting and you have been charged for that advice, you may wish to submit follow-up information. If you do this and do not request a further meeting we will decide if the nature of the follow-up request is simply requiring confirmation that any amendments made match the advice given. If this is the case then there would be no further charge.

If your follow-up request comprises a scheme substantially different from the original request or contains significant new information that we need to consider then a further fee will be required. The fee will be assessed in the same way as if this were a new request.

Changes to Duty Planning Service From 20th June 2016

All enquiries relating to non-householder planning proposals need to be e-mailed to planningapplications@tandridge.gov.uk.

The duty planning officer will still be available to take phone calls and give general planning advice to the public between 9:30am and 13:00pm, but only where the enquiry is made by Tandridge residents in connection with their main place of residence (and in matters covered by the Householder Proposals national application form (1APP)).

For all other enquiries, including those from prospective purchasers of buildings and land in Tandridge (commercial and residential), an e-mailed request for advice will need to be made in the first instance.  

Straightforward enquiries will be answered as far as possible, but where detailed and site specific advice is being sought you will be directed to the Council’s pre application advice service (pre-application advice form) or another part of the Council’s website as appropriate.  

This change is being made as part of an ongoing review of the Council’s pre-application advice service and to improve the consistency and quality of advice given in relation to planning proposals.

CIL Advice

Applicants are encouraged to engage in pre-application advice prior to submitting a planning application. For the CIL, a pre-application advice will provide the opportunity for the Applicant/Developer to understand whether their development will be liable for the CIL as well as the potential payment which their development may incur. It will also provide the opportunity to discuss reliefs and exemption which their application may qualify for, in-kind payments and the process.

Applicants may also wish to carry out a self-assessment of their CIL liability early in the process. CIL is non-negotiable, potential liability should be taken into account when making bids for, and purchasing land, and may inform the type and nature of scheme proposed. This self-assessment can be done using the Council’s online CIL Calculation Tool (see the Council’s website for the most up-to-date form).

Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area (SPA) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC)

Parts of Tandridge District are located within a buffer zone of the Ashdown Forest (which is currently 7km) including parts of Felbridge and Dormans Park and surrounding areas. The Ashdown Forest is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) under the EC Birds Directive and Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the EC Habitats Directive, as well as being a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).  As a result of these designations the area is afforded a high level of protection under European and national legislation, and Regulation 61 of the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 requires that before development is permitted an assessment is made to establish whether the development is likely, alone or cumulatively, to have a significant effect on such sites.

In accordance with these regulations, a Habitats Regulations Assessment (HRA) has been produced by all authorities affected by the Ashdown Forest, including Wealden District Council, Mid Sussex District Council, Lewes District Council, Tandridge District Council and Tunbridge Wells Borough Council and introduced a buffer zone around the Ashdown Forest for its protection. The formation of new households within this buffer zone are therefore likely to generate additional visits to the Ashdown Forest, and without appropriate mitigation measures being put in place there is the potential for harm to its nature conservation interest to result from increased visitor numbers, particularly those using the Forest for dog walking.

In order to mitigate these effects, appropriate mitigation measures need to be put in place. Tandridge District Council is working with the Wealden District Council, as the planning authority where the Ashdown Forest is located, and the other affected authorities on a Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) strategy, and an Interim Legal Agreement was signed in December 2015 by the Conservators of the Ashdown Forest and Wealden, Lewes and Tandridge District Councils. This provides SAMM tariff guidance for these three local planning authorities which outlines the level of financial contribution required from new residential development to contribute to the SAMM mitigation strategy. However, this Council is likely to also require a contribution to be made towards the provision of Suitable Alternative Natural Green Space (SANG) or other recreational areas that will encourage people to visit other spaces rather than the Ashdown Forest.   Pending the establishment of a mechanism for delivering these mitigation measures in full , including the identification of a SANG that Tandridge District could use, the Council considers that it would be premature to allow any net increase in dwellings within the buffer zone and any such proposals will be refused on nature conservation grounds.