New pre-application planning policy in Wales. What does it all mean?

What does Wales’ new pre-planning application policy mean to developers and landowners?
 
The difference between planning processes in Wales and England is steadily increasing, due mainly to the continually evolving devolved planning powers in Wales.
 
As planning consultants and architects working on both sides of Offa’s Dyke, we are constantly working with developers and landowners on residential, commercial and industrial projects requiring different approaches in the planning process.
 
In Wales, it is now a requirement for pre-planning community consultation This applies to:
 
Anyone submitting an application for a development of more than 10 houses
• If the site is .5 hectares or larger
• Where a building will be 1000sq metres or more
• A development is on land of more than one hectare
 
The technical name for this new regulation is Article One of the Town and Country Planning Development Procedure Wales Amendment Order 2016: Guidance on Pre Application Consultation.
 
“We are one of a few planning consultants based in Wales to have experience of this having worked on developments where we have instigated such a pre-planning application process with a landowner or developer above and beyond local or national planning regulations,” said Doug Hughes, managing director and principal architect at Mid Wales based Hughes Architects.
 
Bodenham, Herefordshire housing development designed by Hughes ArchitectsSo what does this mean if submitting a planning application in Wales?
 
“Basically, if any of the above major planning application definitions are triggered, there has to be consultation with the local community and adjacent owners or occupiers before a planning application is submitted,” added Doug.
 
“Broken down into elements, this means a draft planning application has to be made available 28 days before a formal application is submitted to county council planners, including a range of scaled plans, designs and other information.
 
“It also needs to include a site notice, very similar to one that would be placed on a planned development site when a planning application has been submitted. The process also means all adjacent owners and occupiers of land and property have to be made aware of the proposal, along with town and community councils, councillors and specialist consultees such as Natural Resources Wales or even CADW.
 
“In addition, an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening should be undertaken before community consultation. A full report demonstrating all of this has taken place then needs to be submitted to the planning authority.”
 
Well placed to work on planning consultation in Wales
 
Hughes Architects has already undertaken such community consultation as part of its planning work with developers in England, including Shropshire and Herefordshire.
 
An example is England’s Field at Bodenham in Herefordshire. Hughes Architects worked with a private developer and Bell Homes to identify land for a 40 home housing development in the village before designing and submitting plans for the Herefordshire Council’s planners.
 
Even though there is no such requirement in England, a community consultation was undertaken to ensure residents and landowners, as well as the parish council, were fully aware of the project before a planning application was submitted.
 
“It was important for us and the developer to ensure the community was fully aware of what was planned and we consulted with them and listened to feedback which helped inform the final design,” said Doug.
 
“This mirrors the new requirements of the pre-application planning consultation in Wales and means we have the experience to undertake such work. Indeed we’re already involved in 5 such applications in Mid Wales already.”
 
If you’re a landowner or developer seeking a planning consultant and architect with experience of small and large scale residential, commercial or industrial work, then we’d be happy to talk to you. Call our team on 01686 610311.
 
We have offices at Newtown, Welshpool, Powys and Aberystwyth in Ceredigion and cover Wales and the borders (and further afield).