Pre-application advice

Pre-application advice guidance notes

Braintree District Council Planning Services encourages you to seek advice before submitting a planning application. This advice gives you and the Local Planning Authority a better idea about the prospects of an application being successful. It also helps to ensure that you include all the relevant material (drawings and other information) when you submit an application which reduces delays in processing the application. This process can also be used following the refusal of planning permission to understand whether there are changes to a scheme which may overcome the reason/s for refusal.

Requesting Pre-Application Advice

You will need to complete the online Request for Pre-Application Planning Advice form stating the full site address and details of the proposal. The fees for advice are payable online when you complete the form. Our current fees are listed below. You'll need to upload a scaled location plan and as much additional material as possible, such as plans and photographs, in order that the officer(s) can carry out any necessary research prior to the meeting (where requested) and that maximum benefit can be gained from the discussions. Please include as much detail as possible in the description of the proposal.

Any meeting that is arranged will be to discuss a single proposal. Officers will not discuss any second proposal at that meeting unless it too has been formally submitted, registered and fee paid.

The Process

Meetings

On receipt of the online form, fee and plans we will check the information submitted and allocate this to an Officer. If we need more information we will notify you by post or email and your enquiry will remain unallocated until the additional information is received. At that stage you will be contacted and an appointment will be made. Meetings will be held at Causeway House unless officers consider a site visit is required. Following the meeting, Officers will confirm their advice to you in writing. This will normally be within 35 days of receipt of the enquiry, in a formal letter or e-mail, depending on what is agreed at the meeting.

Letters

If you have opted for written advice without a meeting, the response will normally be provided within 28 working days of receipt of the valid application.

Disclaimer

The advice provided by the Council’s Officers is informal opinion only and is made without prejudice to any formal determination which may be given in the event of an application being submitted. In particular, it will not constitute a formal response or decision of the Council with regard to any future planning applications, which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity. Although the Case Officer may indicate the likely outcome of a subsequent planning application, no guarantees can or will be give about the decision.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Council does not publish the details of the pre-application discussions and will treat information provided as part of a pre-application request for advice and any Council response as confidential until such time as a subsequent relevant planning application is made.

However, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 or the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 the Council may from time to time receive a request from a member of the public to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice and of any advice given. The Council retains the discretion on whether information should be disclosed in any instance, and will balance the interests of the applicant or the Council in maintaining the confidentiality of the information and the process, against public interest in greater awareness in planning decisions and transparency.

Requests made for pre-application advice and the Council’s response after a planning application has been made is likely to be disclosed.

Essex County Council

Essex County Council now offer their own pre-application service for a range of areas including highways, education and SuDs. Further details, including their fee schedules are available via on the Essex County Council website.

Wherever possible, and specifically in respect of Major and Minor development proposals, Braintree District Council and Essex County Council will aim to co-ordinate pre-application advice and hold a joint meeting with applicant(s) and developer(s).

If an applicant/developer would like a joint meeting, please tick the relevant box under Question 6 of the Braintree District Council Pre-Application Form, and submit a separate pre-application request and relevant fee to Essex County Council. On receipt of a completed application form Braintree District Council will co-ordinate a joint meeting with Essex County Council. 

Categories of Pre-Application Advice

The Council offers a range of pre-application advice. The fee for providing pre-application advice depends upon the scale of development proposed and whether Heritage advice is required. The following section detail the type of advice available and the relevant fees for:

  • Major Development (Proposals for Residential or Commercial development comprising 10 or more dwellings or 1,000sq.m+ floorspace respectively);
  • Minor Development (Proposals for Residential or Commercial development comprising 9 or less dwellings or up to 999sq.m floorspace respectively);
  • Householder Development or Listed Building Consent (Proposals for the extension or alteration of an existing dwelling and erection of outbuildings, or proposals for works to a Listed Building)

Major Development Proposals

Strategic Major

Residential development of 100+ dwellings and commercial developments of 5,000+ square metres of floor space or on sites over 3 hectares.

Large Scale Major

Residential development of 50-99 dwellings and commercial developments of 2,000-4,999 square metres of floor space or on sites of 2-3 hectares.

Small Scale Major

Residential development of 10-49 dwellings and commercial developments of 1,000-1,999 square metres of floor space or on sites of 1-2 hectares.

Major Development Fee Schedule:

Development Type

Meeting* (up to 1 hour) &

Written Response

Follow-Up Written Response

Written Advice Only

Strategic Major

Planning & Urban Design Advice

£1730

£865

Not Available

Strategic Major

Planning & Urban Design & Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

£2030

£1015

Not Available

Large Scale Major

Planning & Urban Design Advice

£1360

£680

£860

Large Scale Major

Planning, Urban Design & Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

£1660

£830

£1010

Small Scale Major

Planning & Urban Design Advice

£990

£495

£540

Small Scale Major

Planning, Urban Design & Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

£1290

£645

£690

All meetings to be held at the Council offices at Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree CM7 9HB

Additional Fees:

Some development proposals may require specialist advice in relation to Environmental Impact Assessment, Retail, Agricultural, Landscape / Visual Impact, or Ecology. For developments requiring specialist advice, the applicant will be expected to cover the cost of such advice. Applicants will be made aware, when their request is acknowledged, if their proposal requires specialist advice and the additional fee required. We will agree the fee with you prior to the advice being sought.

Planning Performance Agreements (PPA’s)

For Strategic Major and Large Scale Major proposals, Braintree District Council encourage the use of Planning Performance Agreements (PPA’s). PPA’s provide a framework for more flexible and tailored pre-application discussions for a bespoke fee, which is determined based on the number and range of meetings and advice required. PPA’s assist developers through the planning process and help achieve Braintree District Council’s aim of delivering high quality sustainable development within the District.  Please contact us to discuss your requirements further.

Minor Development Proposals

Minor Development

Residential development comprising 9 or less dwellings. All other uses – new building or change of use of a building up to 999 square metres floorspace.

Minor Development and Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

As above for Minor Development and where the proposal involves a Listed Building, curtilage Listed Building, development in the curtilage of a Listed Building, development in or abutting a Conservation Area e.g. conversion of a listed barn.

Minor Development Fee Schedule:

Development Type

Meeting* (up to 1 hour) &

Written Response

Follow-Up Written Response

Written Advice Only

Minor Development

£300

£150

£150

Minor Development & Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

£400

£200

£250

All meetings to be held at the Council offices at Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree CM7 9HB

Additional Fees:

Some development proposals may require specialist advice in relation to Urban Design, Environmental Impact Assessment, Retail, Agricultural, Landscape / Visual Impact, or Ecology. For developments requiring specialist advice, the applicant will be expected to cover the cost of such advice. Applicants will be made aware, when their request is acknowledged, if their proposal requires specialist advice and the additional fee required. We will agree the fee with you prior to the advice being sought.

Householder Development Proposals / Listed Building Consent

Householder

For planning permission to residential dwellings e.g. extensions, dormer windows, attached annexe, garage.

Householder and Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

As above for Householder and where the proposal involves a Listed Building, curtilage Listed Building, development in the curtilage of a Listed Building, development in or abutting a Conservation Area e.g. extension of a listed dwelling, erection of a garage in the curtilage of a Listed Building, extension of a dwelling or erection of a garage in a Conservation Area.

Listed Building Consent

This is applicable when Listed Building Consent only would be required e.g. internal works to a listed building, replacement roof.

Development Type

Meeting

(up to 1 hour) & Written Response

Follow-Up Written Response

Written Advice Only

Householder

£150*

£75

£100

Householder & Heritage Advice (Listed Building / Conservation Area)

£300**

£150

Not available due to need for site visit

Listed Building Consent

£250**

£125

£150

All meetings for ‘Householder’ proposals will be held at the Council offices at Causeway House, Bocking End, Braintree CM7 9HB.

All meetings for ‘Householder & Heritage Advice’ and ‘Listed Building Consent’ will be held at the application site, unless otherwise agreed.