PRE-APPLICATION ADVICE FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENTS COMHAIRLE RO-IARRTAIS DO LEASACHAIDHEAN IONADAIL

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1 PRE-APPLICATION ADVICE FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENTS COMHAIRLE RO-IARRTAIS DO LEASACHAIDHEAN IONADAIL Our Pre-Application Advice for Local Developments service relates to proposals which are generally of a small to medium scale; such as residential extensions/outbuildings, small-scale housing/business/industry developments, minor renewable energy proposals and changes of use. If you are looking for pre-application advice relating to a 'major development' (as defined in Appendix 1), then you should use our Major Developments Pre-Application Advice Service (for which a separate advice note is available). 1. What is pre-application advice? As Planning Authority, we responsible for deciding applications for planning permission, advertisement consent, hazardous substances consent, listed building consent, conservation area consent, certificates of lawfulness and works to protected trees. In addition to these statutory functions, we also provide informal advice on a variety of planningrelated topics; including guidance on the merits of a proposal prior an application being submitted. Current planning fees do not cover the cost of providing informal advice and historically it has been provided free of charge. With the time and resources required to provide pre-application advice increasing, we have decided to formalise the process in order to make the processing of preapplication advice requests more efficient and effective. These changes include new service standards (including a defined response deadline and a standard response template) which will ensure that customers are offered a certain and consistent level of service. Other than brief verbal advice, all pre-application advice requests must now be made using the relevant application form and must be accompanied by a minimum amount of supporting information. 2. Why should I seek pre-application advice? We encourage applicants to seek advice before a planning application (or similar) is made as there can be considerable benefits, including: an early identification of which planning policies will be applied to/affect a development; an appraisal of a proposal at an early stage and the identification of areas that may need specialist input (e.g. listed buildings, trees, landscape impact, noise, access issues, contaminated land, flood risk, ecology or archaeology); assistance provided to applicants in preparing their proposals, which should result in them being handled more quickly, and may lead to a reduction in the time spent by any professional advisors working-up proposals; and an early indication that a proposal is unacceptable in terms of policy and therefore prospective applicants may be dissuaded from spending time and money unnecessarily. Page1of 7

2 Pre-application advice will help you to submit a valid and accurate application. It will help to avoid delays during the application process and will flag up problems/issues with a development proposal at an early stage. It may well save you money in the long term. 3. What advice will we provide? Our pre-application advice service will generally include the following: a preliminary assessment of the planning merits of a proposal (including design, siting, access, drainage, impact on trees etc. where relevant); identification of key local and national planning policies as they apply to the proposal; a list of information likely to be required in support of any application (including design and access statements, archaeological surveys, protected species surveys and flood risk assessments); an indication as to whether the development proposal will need to be screened under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) regulations; guidance relating to any developer contributions which may apply to the proposal (including affordable housing provision, contributions towards school or road infrastructure improvements etc.); a list of external stakeholders or agencies that are likely to be involved in any formal application (incl. relevant contact details); and a single site meeting, or meeting in the local planning office (as required). The extent and detail of any pre-application advice issued by the Council relies principally on the quantity and quality of the information submitted with the enquiry. The more information you can provide, the more comprehensive our response will be. 4. What advice will we NOT provide? Our pre-application advice service will not include: input from external stakeholders or agencies (e.g. Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Transport Scotland etc.); specific architectural or technical advice which falls within the remit of an architect, engineer, surveyor etc.; recommendations or advice regarding the appointment of agents or contractors; or suggestions for alternative uses of land or buildings (e.g. we will not respond to questions such as "What can I do with my land?"). Please note that any pre-application advice issued by us does not guarantee that a future application will be successful; nor does it grant permission for work to commence on a proposed development. 5. What do I need to submit with my request? In order to help us to provide you with advice quickly and efficiently, a valid pre-application advice request must include the following mandatory information, while information marked as being 'desirable' would help us to provide a more in-depth response: Page2of 7

3 Mandatory a completed pre-application advice application form; a clear description of the proposed development; a location plan at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 which outlines the land in question in red, with any other land owned/controlled by the prospective applicant outlined in blue; and basic indicative details of site access, drainage arrangements etc. Desirable a draft Design and/or Design and Access Statement (where applicable); photographs of the site; site layout plans and site sections (ideally at a scale of 1:500 or 1:200); and where detailed advice is sought on the design/siting merits of a proposal, sketches and/or elevation plans (ideally at a scale of 1:100 or 1:50) of the development proposal (incl. details of materials and finishes). Where possible, plans and drawings should be submitted on (or if in electronic format, designed to be printed out on) A3 or A4 sized paper. All scales should be referenced in relation to paper size. If a request for pre-application advice is received by the Council with one or more pieces of mandatory information missing, then we will advise you as to what else is required. If the outstanding information is not received within 28 days, then the all documentation will be returned to you. 6. How much will pre-application advice cost? There is now a charge for this service, the Schedule of Fees are attached. 7. How will my request be handled? Requests for pre-application advice will be handled in a similar way to statutory applications, albeit that the process is shorter and there is no requirement for neighbour notification or advertisement. They will be checked to ensure that all required information is present, given a reference number and allocated to a case officer. If required, consultees within the Planning & Development Service will be asked to comment on the proposed development. In most cases, we will make an unaccompanied visit to the site; however, a single meeting with the applicant/agent may also take place if clarification is required or the case officer feels that this would aid their assessment. Depending on the circumstances, a case officer may request additional information from you following their initial assessment, or they may suggest that changes are made to plans/proposals. Once all relevant information has been gathered and considered, a final assessment will be made and we will issue our advice to you in writing. Page3of 7

4 Pre-Application Request Received Application Valid Yes Consultations No Initial Assessment N o Y es Application Returned to Applicant if extra information is not provided within 28 days Consultee Assessment Additional Information and/or Time Extension Request(s) Issued Site Meeting or Office Meeting Information Received Formal Assessment Advic e Issued Figure 1: Typical Decision Making Process 8. When will I receive a response? The Council intends that all valid pre-application advice requests will be dealt with as follows: Within one week of receiving a valid pre-application advice request, we will issue an acknowledgement letter and contact details for the officer dealing with your request; and Within six weeks of receiving a valid pre-application advice request, we will issue a formal pre-application advice letter. Under certain circumstances (for example where a request relates to a large or complex development proposal, where protected species or historic designations are involved, where a proposal is located within a remote location, where adverse weather conditions impact on site visits or where the case officer requires additional information/clarification) we may not be able to provide a full response by our target deadline. Where we are unable to provide a response by the target deadline, we will endeavour to write to you to explain the reasons why and provide you with a revised response date. 9. What if I disagree with the pre-application advice I receive? Pre-application advice does not constitute a formal decision of the Council, so you are free to submit an application to us regardless of any preliminary advice you may receive. If, however, an application is subsequently submitted which fails to take on board advice given by officers and is considered to be unacceptable, we may choose to refuse it without entering into detailed discussions. This, however, does not remove any right of Appeal or Review (as applicable) that the applicant may have following a refusal. Page4of 7

5 10. Where can I find out more information? If you have any queries, please contact your local Planning & Building Standards office: North Area Mid-Ross, Wester Ross & Lochalsh Council Offices 84 High Street Dingwall IV15 9QN Tel: (01349) Fax: (01349) Caithness Market Square Wick KW1 4AB Tel: (01955) Fax: (01955) Isle of Skye King's House The Green Portree IV51 9BS Tel: (01478) Easter Ross & Sutherland Drummuie Golspie KW10 6TA Tel: (01408) Fax: TBC South Area Inverness and Nairn 2nd Floor, Kintail House Beechwood Business Park Inverness IV2 3BW Tel: (01463) Badenoch and Strathspey 100 High Street Kingussie PH21 1HY Tel: (01540) Fax: (01540) Lochaber Fulton House Fort William PH33 6XY Tel: (01397) Fax: (01397) This guidance note can be made available in other formats on request. Page5of 7

6 Disclaimer While we will make every effort to ensure that any pre-application advice is as accurate and comprehensive as possible, any advice given by officers in response to a pre-application advice request does not constitute a formal decision of The Highland Council as Planning Authority and, whilst it may be a material consideration, cannot be held to bind us in terms of the validation or determination of a subsequent statutory application. In particular, any advice provided under this service constitutes the professional opinion of the officer(s) concerned and is based on the information provided by the applicant and the planning policies and site constraints prevailing at the time. While every effort will be made to identify all relevant policies and all issues material to the proposal, pre-application advice issued by us in relation to local developments will not normally include input from external organisations or consultees, such as SEPA or SNH, or from local residents, neighbours or community groups. Such input during the assessment of any formal application may raise new issues or areas for concern and therefore the ultimate determination of any future statutory application could differ from the conclusions reached in this preliminary assessment. We will, however, endeavour to highlight any consultees, external bodies or parties that may be involved in any future application so that applicants can make contact themselves to discuss their proposals. Freedom of Information There is a possibility that, under the Freedom of Information Act, we will be asked to provide information regarding inquiries for pre-application advice and copies of any advice provided or correspondence entered into. This information may only be withheld if its disclosure could prejudice commercial interests, inhibit the free and frank provision of advice or exchange of views during the planning process, or could prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. Those seeking pre-application advice should provide a covering letter that sets out the reasons why, and for how long, any information relating to the case needs to remain confidential. It will be for us to decide whether information can be treated as exempt from disclosure and it should be recognised that the thrust of the legislation is to make information accessible unless there is a pressing reason why not. Each case will be assessed on its merits. The passage of time may remove the need for exemption as information becomes less sensitive. Generally, notes and correspondence relating to pre-application discussions will not be treated as confidential, particularly once a formal application has been submitted and the case is in the public domain. Page6of 7

7 APPENDIX 1 What is 'Major Development'? Regulations defining what constitutes a 'major development' came into force on the 6th April Currently, major development is defined as follows: TYPE OF DEVELOPMENT Housing Business and general industry, storage and distribution Electricity Generation THRESHOLD / CRITERION 50 or more dwellings; or The total area of the site is, or exceeds, 2 hectares. The floor area of the site is, or exceeds, 10,000 square metres; or The total area of the site is, or exceeds, 2 hectares. The capacity of the generating station is, or exceeds, 20MW. Waste Management Facilities The capacity of facility is, or exceeds 25,000 tonnes; or If used for sludge treatment, a capacity to treat more than 50 tonnes (wet weight) per day. Transport and infrastructure projects The length of the road, railway, tramway, waterway, aqueduct or pipeline exceeds 8 kilometres. Fish Farming Minerals Development Other Development not classed within any single class of the above development The surface area of water is, or exceeds, 2 hectares. The total area of the site is, or exceeds, 2 hectares; or The gross floor space of any building, structure or erection constructed as a result of such development is, or exceeds 5,000 square metres The total area of the site is, or exceeds, 2 hectares. Any Development which falls under Schedule 1 of the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Scotland) Regulations Any development proposals not covered in the table above, other than a small number of nationally-important projects outlined in the National Planning Framework for Scotland 2, fall within the category of 'local development'. Where can I get advice relating to a 'Major Development'? The Council operates a separate pre-application advice service for major development. For more information on this service, please visit: Page 7 of 7

8 Schedule of Fees for Pre-Application Advice for Local Developments (2015) PROPOSAL FEES Permitted Development Enquiries No fee NB. If you require legally-binding confirmation that a domestic development (either existing or proposed) falls within permitted development right thresholds, you should make an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness (Existing/Proposed Use). Householder Development No fee Exception: Any proposal to alter, extend or modify a dwelling or flat in order to generate an additional residential unit will be charged at the '1 house rate ; for two addition units at the 2 house rate and so on as detailed below. Houses, Flats and Self-Contained 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. Dwellings Up to a maximum of 49 units E.g. For a single house 80, for five houses , for ten houses 800 and for 49 houses 800. NB. Any development proposal in excess of 49 units, or where the site area exceeds 2ha, falls within the remit of our separate Major Developments Pre- Application Advice Service. Minerals enquiries 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. NB. Any development proposal with a site area in excess of 2ha is classed as a major development and therefore falls within the remit of our separate Major Developments Pre-Application Advice Service. Non-Domestic Renewable 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 200. Proposals Up to 2MW Non-Domestic Renewable 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 600. Proposals 2MW to 10MW Non-Domestic Renewable 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. Proposals 10MW to 20MW NB. Any development with a site area in excess of 2ha, or will generate more than 20MW of electricity, is classed as a major development and therefore falls within the remit of our separate Major Developments Pre-Application Advice Service. Single Change of Use Proposals 20% of Planning Application Fee Applicable where a proposal entails a single change of use of land, a building or Page 1 of 3

9 structure. Mixed Change of Use Proposals 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. Applicable where a proposal entails more than one change of use to land or a building or structure. Business & General Industry, Storage and Distribution 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. NB. Any development proposal where the site areas is in excess of 2ha., or where the gross floor space of any building, structure or erection constructed as a result of such development is or exceeds 10,000 square metres, is classed as a major development and therefore falls within the remit of our separate Major Developments Pre-Application Advice Service. Marine Fish Farm Development 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. Surface area of water covered is less than 2 ha. Agricultural or Forestry Development 20% of Prior Notification Application Fee for prior notifications 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. Where there is no planning application fee, a 20% of prior notification fee will be levied. Other Development 20% of Planning Application Fee, subject to a maximum of 800. NB. Any development proposal where the site areas is in excess of 2ha., or where the gross floor space of any building, structure or erection constructed as a result of such development is or exceeds 5,000 square metres, is classed as a major development and therefore falls within the remit of our separate Major Developments Pre-Application Advice Service. Major Development Development proposals which fall within the category of 'Major Development' (see Appendix 1) are dealt with via our separate Major Developments Pre- Application Advice Service. Listed Buildings No Fee NB. Where planning permission is also required, a fee will be charged as per the relevant category. Demolition in a Conservation Area No Fee NB. Where planning permission is also required, a fee will be charged as per the relevant category. Hazardous Substances Consent No Fee NB. Where planning permission is also required, a fee will be charged as per the Page 2 of 3

10 relevant category. Works to Trees in a TPO/Conservation Area No Fee Advertisement Consent No Fee NB. Where planning permission is also required, a fee will be charged as per the relevant category. Miscellaneous Exemptions No Fee will apply to the following: Brief non-specific or general pre-application advice which can be given over the phone or in person; Works or alterations to improve access, safety, health or comfort for a disabled person at their home; Enquiries by charities, Community Councils or constituted non-forprofit community groups or organisations; and Enquiries relating to properties where permitted development rights have been removed either by condition or an Article 4 Direction. Page 3 of 3

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