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Before an application is made to the Local Planning Authority, it is useful to prepare yourself for the journey ahead and that is why SJC Planning encourage pre-application discussions with the relevant planning officers, whether planning, highways, conservation and design or ecology. Depending on the nature and scale of your project, there may be other departments and bodies to consider, such as the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, English Heritage or the Environment Agency.

The format of these discussions can vary, but the normal method is for photographs and sketch schemes to be used for the basis of discussions and negotiations.  During these discussions (which you may wish to attend) each party has the opportunity to voice their opinions, thus giving an indication of the likely support for the development.  They are useful not only in highlighting information that may not be in the public domain (therefore unknown to anybody else, such as pending planning applications or future changes to local policy) but they help to establish a level of ownership with the officers and can prevent a lot of additional revisions to plans further down the line.

After this stage, before any detailed preparation of a planning application has taken place, SJC Planning will write to you (and most likely, speak to you in person or over the telephone) to advise of further recommendations.  This staged process ensures that you are in control, but gives you the knowledge that someone else (us!) is taking the weight and responsibility.

The natural progression from these investigative discussions is for an application to be drawn up, taking into consideration any feedback.