The Step By Step Guide – Step 1.
The Pre application discussion The Government encourages local councils and developers to have informal discussions about a future development before the planning application is made. In theory this is to allow changes to be made at an early stage before too much time and money has been spent on one version of a project.
These meetings are often viewed with suspicion but it is important to remember that planners cannot give an indication to the developer as to whether or not their proposal would be acceptable or not at this stage. It is often difficult to find out whether these meetings have taken place. But if you know a site is up for grabs and you think the planning department is just not telling you, one way to find out if discussions have taken place is to make a Freedom of Information request.
New guidance promotes pre-application discussions more strongly but also says that other parties should be involved and that the Statement of Community Involvement should apply. Pre-application consultation is required for onshore wind in England, as is usually part of a standard process for larger developments.