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Pre-application advice

Duty planner service 

For domestic (householder) queries only, we offer 15 minutes of free advice and guidance with a duty planning officer to support you with your planning application relating to your home. The duty planner can answer questions about: 

  • the planning application process for householder applications 
  • how householder planning applications are assessed 
  • conditions that have been attached to a householder planning permission 
  • extensions, conservatories or a porch 
  • a garage or outbuilding 
  • new or altered vehicle access 
  • dormer windows or roof alterations 
  • a wall or fence 
  • new windows or doors 

The appointments are over the phone and available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9:40am to 12:20pm. Book a duty planner appointment online. 

Pre-application meeting and/or written advice 

We offer various kinds of paid-for pre-application advice, which can save time and money for anyone considering submitting a planning application. Options range from a 30-minute video call consultation, through to meetings and written responses from specialist officers. This service can: 

  • identify the main planning issues for your proposal and how you could address them 
  • tell you what you need to submit with your planning application 
  • speed up the overall process of getting planning permission 
  • reduce the costs of your eventual application 
  • avoid applications getting rejected by us due to insufficient information or applying for the wrong type of permission. 

Our pre-application advice service cannot guarantee that any subsequent application will be approved, but it will give you an indication of how successful it may be. 

How long does it take? 

After you submit and pay for your request for advice, you will receive an email within 5 working days, to confirm that we have got your application and tell you which planning officer will be dealing with it.  
 
The case officer will normally contact you within 8 working days and arrange a site visit if required.  

We will respond to a householder pre-application within 4 weeks, and other types of pre-applications within 6 weeks. These timescales relate to requests for written responses, and start from the time the request is submitted. 

How much does it cost? 

Fees are shown when you choose your required option through the Cambridge City and South Cambs forms. 

Fees are waived for Parish Councils, small charities and applications specifically required for the needs of disabled persons. 

Payment is taken online via a credit or debit card. 

Apply for pre-application advice 

Apply online via the Cambridge City or South Cambs websites. 

If you aren't a resident of Cambridge City or South Cambs, then visit either website where you can complete as a guest.  

Pre-application follow up 

Pre-application follow-up advice is only available after a pre-application written response has been issued, and in agreement with the planning officer assigned to your case. Pay for your pre-app follow-up  

Planning Performance Agreements 

For large or complex applications, we offer a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) service. 

A PPA is a service agreement between the applicant and the Planning Service which allows all parties to agree timescales and resources for handling planning applications. PPAs are usually agreed at the pre-application stage and relate to the whole development process, from pre-application planning advice and community engagement, to application progress meetings right through to the post decision stage, including the discharge of conditions and site monitoring. PPAs can be used for any type of application but are most effective for major and complex planning applications.  

As with any pre-application advice, a PPA does not guarantee planning consent will be achieved, but it can make the process smoother and more efficient, with a more predictable timeframe for a decision being reached. 

Benefits of a Planning Performance Agreement  

The key benefits of a PPA are as follows;  

  • Identification of key issues and relevant consultees at an early stage;  
  • Setting more realistic and predictable timetables, with a structure of deadlines and action points;  
  • Improved collaborative working between the key stakeholders;  
  • Better overall management of advice at pre-application and post application stages;  
  • Greater accountability, transparency and communication;  
  • Better project management with dedicated resources;  
  • Removal of statutory timescales for the determination of applications;  
  • Greater commitment from relevant consultees to respond in a timely manner, particularly internal consultees;  
  • Better commitment to community engagement and consultation, enabling communities to influence planning decisions;  
  • Ability to recover costs, thereby reducing the financial burden on Council resources.  

If you would like to discuss setting up a Planning Performance Agreement please contact us.

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