Pre-planning consultation. What’s it all about

Pre-planning consultation. What’s it all about and what does it mean for landowners and developers

One aspect of our work as architects and planning consultants is pre-planning consultation. It’s a relatively new part of the planning process in Wales and is different to the process we deal with in England. In Wales, it is a requirement in certain circumstances for pre-planning consultation prior to a full planning application being made. These are:

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.

So what does this mean if submitting a planning applications in Wales?

If any of the above 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.

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 and England

While it’s not a policy in England, here at Hughes Architects we have undertaken numerous community consultations as part of our planning consultation work with developers in England, including Shropshire and Herefordshire.

An example is England’s Field at Bodenham in Herefordshire. We 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 Hughes, Principal Architect and Managing Director of Hughes Architects.

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).