Pre-application advice

We provide a pre-application service and applicants are encouraged to provide details of their proposal in writing at an early stage and seek advice on items of information that will be required to accompany their application, as well as advice on the proposal itself.

A formal pre-application planning advice service was introduced on 17th June 2013 for which a charge is payable. The fee payable will vary depending on the scale of the development proposal.

The introduction of charges for pre-application advice aligns Woking with other Surrey Planning Authorities and will enable the Council to deliver an improved pre-application advice service to applicants. Pre-application advice carries a number of benefits to users of the service which include:

  • Helping an applicant to establish whether the principle of development is acceptable prior to submitting a formal planning application
  • Enabling early identification of the key planning issues and how to address them
  • Understanding the proposal and the issues from an early stage helps to reduce determination time for decisions
  • Allowing applications to be validated quickly

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What we will need from you:

In order to respond adequately to your request we will need the following:

  • A covering letter or email fully describing your proposal
  • A Location Plan showing neighbouring buildings with the site outlined
  • A Block Plan (preferably at a scale of 1:200) showing the proposal's relationship with neighbouring buildings, boundaries and roads
  • Elevations (preferably to scale) drawings or sketches of what the proposal will look like
  • The relevant fee
  • Your contact details, including email address if you have one

The following would also be helpful but are not essential:

  • Existing and proposed floor plans
  • Photographs of the site
  • Photomontages
  • A design statement

The Council's Planning Policies and Supplementary Planning Guidance detail the criteria that will be applied when your development proposal is considered.

Please note that the level of detail of our response to your request is dependent on the amount and quality of information you provide. We will aim to use email for all correspondence unless you request otherwise.

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What you can expect from us

Once you have submitted your request we will send you a letter or email acknowledging your request or we will contact you for further information if something is missing. Once we have received your request with sufficient accompanying information and the relevant fee, you can expect a written response from us within three weeks for householder proposals and four weeks for all other proposals. Please note that very large or highly complex proposals may require a longer response time. The response would generally cover the following:

  • The planning constraints of the site
  • Identify the degree to which a proposal is compliant with planning policy
  • An indication of whether further specialist information would be required at application stage; for example Tree Surveys or Flood Risk Assessments
  • Identify if financial contributions would be necessary
  • Identify if amendments would need to be made to the proposal

Any advice given is made in good faith and represents the informal opinion of an officer and not necessarily that of the Council. Advice will be as accurate as possible and based on current policies and the information submitted by the applicant. Any advice given does not constitute a formal decision or determination and does not prejudice any future formal decisions made by the Council.

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Meetings

Meetings can be held for larger proposals and will be charged per meeting in accordance with the schedule below. A meeting will not normally be offered for householder proposals except in exceptional cases where a meeting is considered beneficial. For larger proposals meetings will be held with a senior officer present.

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Schedule of Fees

Type of development Proposal
Residential Non-Residential (gross) Fee per written enquiry Fee per meeting
50+ dwellings 5000 sq m+ 600 1200
10-49 dwellings 1000 - 4999 sq m 300 600
1 - 9 dwellings 50 - 999 sq m 120 240
Householder Up to 50 sq m (incl. none) 50 N/A

Exemptions:

  • General advice about planning law or procedure
  • Advice given during the course of an application
  • Advice to internal services within the Council
  • Advice on listed buildings
  • Advice on proposals to accommodate people with disabilities

Other exemptions are at the discretion of the Head of Planning Services.

Notes:
Schemes subject to a Planning Performance Agreement would be considered outside of this schedule with a bespoke fee arrangement being agreed as part of the PPA.

Mixed developments would attract a composite fee for each element of the scheme. All fees are inclusive of VAT.

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How to request pre-application advice

To apply for pre-application advice, send us an email along with the required information outlined above to developmentmanagement@woking.gov.uk. Alternatively, send your request by post to: Planning Services, Civic Offices, Gloucester Square, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6YL.

Payments can be made over the phone or by cheque. Cheques are to be made payable to Woking Borough Council.

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Freedom of Information requests

Please note that pre-application submissions and the Council's written responses to them will not be routinely published on our website or made available for public viewing. However, under the Freedom of Information Act the Council may receive requests for information relating to pre-application requests and any advice given. The Council is obliged to provide this information however this does not include personal details, confidential or commercially sensitive information. If you feel your submission contains confidential or commercially sensitive information you must bring this to the Council's attention from the outset.

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If your proposal is likely to have Highways implications you are strongly advised to seek pre-application advice directly from Surrey County Council's Transport Development Planning Team. They can be contacted at Room 365, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston Upon Thames KT1 2DY or by email. The County Council welcomes and encourages pre-application discussions. They have introduced a system of charges for providing pre-application advice which is set out on their website. Your attention is drawn to the guidance note.

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The Environment Agency gives environmental advice to developers on planning applications for Town and Country Planning development and for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs). The Environment Agency's advice is for environmental issues that concern it, for example flood risk, protection of land and water quality, waste management facilities and fisheries. For more infomation click here.

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Further information

For further information, please contact the Planning Department on 01483 743843 or at developmentmanagement@woking.gov.uk