The following explains the arrangements for providing more detailed advice, including those cases where we make a charge. Early advice can help identify:
Such advice can save an applicant time in preparing the application and also the time taken by the Council to make a decision on it. In the case of proposals with little prospect of approval early advice can avoid further abortive work. It can also quickly identify solutions to problems and therefore save costs.
Pre-Application Planning Advice and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004
Disclosing information on pre-application discussions
Although the Council does not automatically publicise the details of pre-application discussions with potential developers, under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 we may receive from time to time a request from a member of the public to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice and of any advice given. Subject to certain exemptions, we are obliged to provide this information, although personal contact details are protected under the Data Protection Act.
The exemptions relate to commercially sensitive and confidential information. It is therefore important that you bring to the Council's attention at the outset in writing any information which you consider may, if disclosed, prejudice your commercial interests or which you consider would breach confidentiality. You should also set out the reasons why and for what period you consider the information falls into these categories. It is then for the Council to decide whether it believes the information falls into these exempt categories, if a Freedom of Information request or Environmental information is subsequently received.
We may also treat as exempt from disclosure information which, if disclosed, may prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. This can be particularly relevant at the outset of major applications where a lot of exploratory discussion takes place. If the disclosure of this exploratory information was likely to prejudice the process of leading to a proper determination of the subsequent planning application, then it may not be disclosable.
Apart from these exemptions any other recorded information resulting from these pre-application discussions is very likely to be disclosable.
The Environment Agency charge for giving detailed pre-application advice. They do, however, provide a free service to developers and their consultants in the form of a Preliminary Opinion. The details of their charges is set out in their notification letter.
The sort of advice we will provide at no charge:
We can provide advice on the above matters when we operate our 'duty officer' system.
The planning department can only confirm in writing if your proposed development does not need planning permission and is permitted by issuing a Lawful Development Certificate.
We can provide advice on the above matters either by telephone on 01784 451499, letter, email or face-to-face at the Council Offices when we operate our 'duty officer' system. We nevertheless encourage the use of email.
We charge for more detailed advice which takes up more of our officer's time. However, we may decline to provide further advice where we have already indicated that in principle a proposal has no chance of approval. In all cases a written response will be provided.
We will endeavour to deal with written requests within 10 working days (where all the information has been provided) and meetings will be arranged to take place within 15 days. Meeting times will only be agreed after we have received the plans and documents outlining the nature of what is to be discussed and the fee for the meeting has been paid. Where meetings are cancelled only 50 per cent of the fee will be refunded.
When we make a charge for giving advice on specific proposals we will, as appropriate, expect you to provide:
In the case of trees the Council's Tree Officer will carry out a visual inspection of the tree(s) and will provide a short report to include a brief description of the tree, its general condition and a recommendation for works which would be acceptable to the Council.
For all other proposals, we will ensure our comments provide, as appropriate:
If you wish to obtain the planning history of a site, you may do so by accessing the Council's planning records via Planning Applications Online.
If you require us to do this on your behalf, you should complete the online.. The charge per request is £180 per hour or part hour. Payment for the first hour will need to be made at the time of the request. If an additional fee is required for extra work, you will be contacted by the planning officer. Cheques should be made payable to 'Spelthorne Borough Council' and sent to the Planning Department, Spelthorne Council, Knowle Green, Staines-upon-Thames TW18 1XB. Payment can also be made by Credit Card by either contacting Customer Services on 01784 451499 or
If you know what the lawful use of your property/site is, then you may view the Use Class Order to establish whether you require planning permission for alternative proposals. Please note that some sites may be subject to a condition which restricts the use.
Having studied the Use Classes Order, if you are of the opinion that planning permission is not required, you should submit a Certificate of Lawfulness application for a proposed development via the Planning Portal. There are areas of judgement within the Use Classes Order and you are strongly advised to submit an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness so that your proposal can be considered formally and a legal determination given.
The planning department can only confirm in writing if your proposed development does not need planning permission and is permitted by issuing a Lawful Development Certificate. Please note that proceeding with work without confirming that the works are permitted development via a Certificate of Lawfulness is entirely at your own risk.
If you come to the view that planning permission is required, you can submit a planning application via the Planning Portal.
Your proposed development will need to comply with a range of planning policies and documents. The policies that you will need to apply will differ depending on the location and type of your development. Guidance on the Council's planning policies can be viewed on the .
|Strategic proposals (50+ dwellings or 2,000+ sqm commercial) where Head of Service attends||£3,300|
|Strategic proposals (50+ dwellings or 2,000+ sqm commercial)||£3,050|
|Major proposal (10-49 dwellings or 1,000-2,000 sqm commercial) where Head of Service attends||£2,050|
|Major proposal (10-49 dwellings or 1,000-2,000 sqm commercial)||£1,850|
|Minor proposals (2-9 dwellings or up to 1,000 sqm commercial)||£1,050|
|Single new dwelling/replacement dwelling||£355|
|Planning Performance Agreements for major/complex proposals (terms to be agreed)|
|Householder advice on acceptability of a proposal||£75|
|Confirmation on whether a dropped kerb requires planning permission||£60|
|Planning enquiry on existing use of property/site||£180 per hour or part hour|
|Strategic proposals (50+ dwellings or 2,000+ sqm commercial)||£2,250|
|Major proposals (10+ dwellings or 1,000-2,000 sqm commercial)||£1,250|
|Minor proposals (2-9 dwellings or up to 1,000 sqm commercial)||£625|
|Single new dwelling/replacement dwelling||£280|
|Advertisements - per advertisement||£115|
|Other miscellaneous developments (as agreed by the Planning Development Manager)||£115|
|Site visit and advice on trees||£80|
|Site visit and advice on historic buildings||£120|
Payment will need to be made in advance of any meeting or with any written request. Cheques should be made payable to 'Spelthorne Borough Council' and sent to the Planning Department, Spelthorne Council, Knowle Green, Staines-upon-Thames TW18 1XB. Payment can also be made by Credit Card by either contacting Customer Services on 01784 451499 or you can pay online.