Pre-application advice and guidance
Please note: that there is currently a very high demand for our pre-application advice service and we are unable to respond as quickly as we would like, particularly for advice that requires the input of our Conservation and Design staff. Site meetings are being timetabled 4-6 weeks from the date of receipt of the proforma and payment. We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.
We are committed to working with customers to provide a high standard of pre-application advice to assist you with the preparation of your planning (and other) applications. Pre-application advice on householder and other less substantial applications or queries is currently free of charge, please see 'Exemptions' below. We do, however, charge for more extensive advice.
There are many benefits to seeking pre-application advice:
- It gives you an opportunity to understand how our policies will be applied to your development.
- It can identify at an early stage where there is a need for specialist input, for example regarding listed buildings, trees, landscape, noise, transport, contaminated land, ecology or archaeology issues.
- It will assist you in preparing proposals for formal submission which - provided you have taken our advice fully into account - will be handled more quickly with the likelihood of a more positive outcome.
- It may lead to a reduction in time spent by your professional advisors in working up proposals.
- It may indicate that a proposal is completely unacceptable, saving you the cost of pursuing a formal application.
Exemptions from the pre-application charging scheme
There are a number of exemptions from the pre-application charging scheme. These include enquiries relating to:
- straightforward householder and other development categories not listed in the 'Summary of charges' below
- trees owned by Cotswold District Council
- the provision of affordable housing - to the stage when agents are engaged
How to obtain pre-application advice
For exemptions from the charging scheme (see above) there is no need to submit a form. Simply email the Planning team with as much information as you have on your proposals, examples of what we need are in the 'Information to be submitted' paragraph below, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
For applications where a charge will be made for pre-application advice please email the Planning team to discuss:
- your requirements
- the potential costs and payment system and
- timescales for providing advice
After we confirm that we can provide pre-application advice on your proposals, please:
- fill in the pre-application advice request form
- return it to us with the payment and information detailed below. Please note that advice will only be given following receipt of the correct fee(s).
Information to be submitted with request for pre-application advice
To enable us to provide pre-application advice in the most time and cost effective manner, it is important that we have a clear understanding of the nature of the site and the proposed works. Requests for pre-application advice should be accompanied by the following information:
- full contact details, including telephone numbers and e-mail addresses
- location plan
- sketch drawings of proposals
- photographs of site
- any known constraints to development
- description of proposals
- technical studies (if available), e.g. ecological or traffic impact assessments
- agenda (if a meeting is required)
Summary of charges for pre-application advice
- 200 or more residential units.
- Residential development (where the proposed number of units is not specified) with a site area of four hectares or more.
- Provision of 10,000 square metres or more of floor space for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development.
- Development of land for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development uses, with a site area of two hectares or more.
|Initial office-based meeting or detailed response, including officer preparation time and (if relevant) a written response after the meeting (up to 2 hours)||£2,180 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent response||additional fee of £163.50 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent meeting||additional fee of £545 (+20% VAT)|
|Any meeting held on site||additional fee of £218 (+20% VAT) (exclusive of the standard meeting fee)|
Other major applications
- 10 – 199 (inclusive) residential units.
- Residential development (where the proposed number of units is not specified), with a site area of 0.5 hectares or more and less than four hectares.
- Provision of 1,000 - 9,999 square metres of floor space for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development.
- Development of land for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development use with a site area of one hectare or more and less than two hectares.
|Initial office-based meeting or detailed response, including officer preparation time and (if relevant) a written response after the meeting, (up to 2 hours)||£1,090 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent response||£163.50 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent meeting||
additional fee of £545 (+20% VAT)
|Any meeting held on site||additional fee of £218 (+20% VAT) (exclusive of the standard meeting fee).|
Planning Performance Agreements (PPA)
For major applications, we encourage applicants to use Planning Performance Agreements. A PPA is an agreement between a local planning authority and an applicant and provides a project management framework for handling major planning applications.
- 1 - 9 (inclusive) residential units (including replacement dwellings).
- Development of less than 0.5 hectares for residential use.
- Provision of 200 -1,000 square metres of floor space for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development.
- Development of land for other uses e.g. commercial/industrial/mixed development use with a site area of 0.2 hectares or more and less than one hectare.
|Initial office-based meeting or detailed response, including officer preparation time and (if relevant) a written response after the meeting (up to 2 hours)||£500 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent response||additional fee of £100 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent meeting||additional fee of £150 (+20% VAT)|
|Any meeting held on site||additional fee of £200 (+20% VAT) (exclusive of the standard meeting fee).|
Complex applications including those requiring substantial specialist advice (e.g. conservation or landscape)
|Initial office-based meeting or detailed response, including officer preparation time and (if relevant) a written response after the meeting (up to 2 hours)||£545 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent response||additional fee of £109 (+20% VAT)|
|Any subsequent meeting||additional fee of £163.50 (+20% VAT)|
|Any meeting held on site||additional fee of £218 (+20% VAT) (exclusive of the standard meeting fee).|
- All charges are exclusive of VAT. VAT is chargeable on this service at the standard rate, currently 20%.
- An additional fee will be payable if our advice requires comment or reports from independent consultants/professional advisors not employed by Cotswold District Council. Anyone seeking pre-application advice will be made aware of any likely additional fees and we will not undertake any work until you have made the relevant payment.
What weight will be given to pre-application advice when the application is determined?
Any advice given by Council officers for pre-application enquiries represents their professional opinion and cannot indicate any formal decision by the Council as local planning authority, due to the democratic requirements of the application process. Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, and to the best of the Officer's ability, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application following statutory public consultation and engagement with elected Councillors.
You should therefore be aware that our officers cannot give guarantees about the final formal decision that will be made on your planning or related applications. Our Councillors will, however, give significant weight to the advice given by the officers. The value of the advice will diminish if material planning considerations or other circumstances change and/or information comes to light that could alter that position.
Please note that the weight given to pre-application advice notes is likely to decline over time and that any subsequent alteration to local or national planning policy might affect the advice we provide.
Within 10 working days of receiving a submission of pre-application proposals, we will contact you either by phone or in writing to inform you whether pre-application advice can be provided, and to establish timeframes and costings. You will also be sent a proforma for completion. You should return this to us with the required payment and any additional details about the proposals. The proforma will establish the level of service that can be expected and will confirm your acceptance of the limitations of the advice that will be offered.
- Where a meeting is required, it will take place as arranged, provided we receive all details no less than 7 working days prior to the meeting (unless a reduced timeframe is agreed). Appropriately qualified and experienced officers will make the arrangements and the meeting will normally be held within 20 working days of the receipt of the proforma and payment.
- When you require a written response following a meeting, we will post this to you within 15 working days of the meeting provided no further research, investigation or consultation is required. The advice will include comment on the major planning issues, constraints and requirements.
- If we have to postpone a meeting (e.g. due to the absence of relevant staff through illness) we will normally re-arrange it within 7 working days.
- Where you request a written response (and no meeting), we will normally send this to you within 20 working days of our receipt of the proforma, details and payment. The advice will include comment on the major planning issues, constraints and requirements and will be prepared by appropriately qualified and experienced officers.
The provision of pre-application advice is subject to staff availability. Fluctuations in workload and the availability of staff will impact on timeframes for the delivery of advice. When exceptional delays seem likely you will be told as soon as possible.
Advice will reflect accurately the relevant planning policies and the standards of the Council.
Scope of the advice to be given
Although this is not intended to be a definitive list, the type of issues that might be discussed as part of pre-application advice include:
- the need for planning permission or other consent,
- information on the relevant policies and other planning requirements,
- constraints, including conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas that are subject to other statutory designations,
- useful contacts and sources of information that may be necessary to complete any application, e.g. Environment Agency,
- the planning history – copies of relevant certificates can be made available subject to payment of the appropriate copying fee. The planning history will not constitute a formal land search and the information given will be restricted to that deemed relevant to the enquiry,
- copies of OS maps subject to the conditions of the licence held by the Council and the payment of the appropriate fee,
- provision of advice regarding the procedure, consultation, and estimated time scale,
- technical standards likely to be applicable, e.g. size and number of parking spaces required,
- the information that should be submitted with the planning application,
- indication of the likely requirement for contributions by the developer, such as levels of affordable housing or highways and education payments,
- informal and without prejudice comments and guidance on the content, construction and presentation of an application likely to satisfy the Council’s planning policies.
Consultation with Town/Parish Councils
If you're going to submit an application for a major or minor development we encourage you to consult with the Town/Parish Councils, whether there is a statutory requirement to do so or not. Your application should give information about any consultation and how the proposals have evolved in response to comments received.
Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004
We do not automatically publicise the details of pre-application discussions with potential developers or property owners, however we may receive requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 to disclose information about pre-application advice requests and the advice that we have provided. Subject to certain exemptions, we are obliged to provide this information, although personal contact details are protected under the Data Protection Legislation.
The exemptions relate to commercially sensitive and confidential information. It is therefore important that you bring to the Council's attention at the outset in writing any information which you consider may, if disclosed, prejudice your commercial interests or which you consider would breach confidentiality. You should also set out the reasons why and for what period you consider the information falls into these categories. If a request to release information is made it is for the Council to decide if it falls into the exempt categories, having given full consideration to the details that you have provided. We may also treat as exempt from disclosure information which, if disclosed, may prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. This can be particularly relevant at the outset of major applications where a lot of exploratory discussion takes place. If the disclosure of this exploratory information was likely to prejudice the process of leading to a proper determination of the subsequent planning application, then it may not be disclosable.