Due to Covid-19 we are unable to offer personal appointments to see a Duty Planner Officer at this current time. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause, however please see our pre-application page for further information on how to get advice to that offered by this service.
The Council operates a Duty Planner Service and an Officer is available by telephone only from 10am -2pm every Tuesday. Please call 01621 854477.
Please note that the duty service is strictly for householder enquiries and is aimed at the general public/home owners/occupiers; it is not a service for professional agents (including those acting on behalf of a householder), or developers (including those carrying out householder development). These latter are required to apply for advice via our pre-application chargeable service.
The Duty Planning Officer will be able to provide informal advice:
- whether planning permission is required (should you require a formal written response then you will need to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate)
- to assist you with understanding what an application is proposing and the type of application (however, please see the first three bullet points below)
- to direct you to the appropriate service if your enquiry does not relate to planning (i.e. Highways, Building Control or Environmental Health)
The Duty Planning Officer will not:
- provide an opinion on whether planning permission may or may not be supported by officers (this would be chargeable pre-application advice)
- discuss the detail of current large or complex applications
- discuss the technical merits (principle, design, submitted reports, consultee responses, neighbour comments) of any applications, refusals or appeals
- agree to any minor amendments to planning permissions
- discuss enforcement enquiries (new enforcement complaints should be submitted via the Planning Enforcement Service)
- grant immunity from enforcement
- discharge any planning conditions on a decision notice
- carry out searches; such as whether Permitted Development Rights exist for properties, planning history of sites
- answer questions or offer advice on national and local planning policy and processes except for where these may be related to householder applications (extensions, alterations, and outbuildings to residential premises)
Statements made by planning officers and Council employees are not binding on the Local Planning Authority. It is not the responsibility of the Local Planning Authority to ensure you do apply for planning permission. If you wish to have a planning issue decided conclusively then the appropriate procedure must be used to obtain a formal decision from the Local Planning Authority.
If you need planning permission or a formal response:
- To formally ascertain whether a proposal would require planning permission, it is necessary to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate.
- To gain formal advice in writing on the merits of a proposal the Council offers both a free service (Householder advice) and a chargeable Pre-Application Advice service for non-householder development (chargeable pre-application advice)