Before beginning any works that could constitute development or change of use there is always an option to apply for pre-application advice. This is something that is encouraged by most Local Planning Authorities.
With all forms of building work, as the owner of property or land you will have ultimate responsibility for compliance with the relevant planning rules and building regulations (regardless of whether planning permission or building regulation sign off is required or not). Although this can seem daunting and restrictive on your rights being as you own the property, it goes some way to controlling landowners from doing absolutely anything they want to do. That being said, if you have bold, creative or ambitious plans pre-application advice may be helpful to explore what is possible within the parameters of the legislation and guidance.
Something to be aware of is that pre-application advice is often not a priority of local councils and can be a lengthy process. It can also be an unnecessary cost incurred where the main application fee may be similar to the pre-application fee, or in some cases less than the pre-application fee!
Another thing to consider, when thinking of pre-application advice is that any advice given will not provide guarantee of a full application gaining permission. Although it will go some way to suggesting how to apply to give the best chance of gaining approval there is chance that your full application may not be assessed by the same person who gave you the pre-application advice and they may have differing opinions. A full application however will give a definitive decision.
Ultimately the decision to apply for pre-application advice is a judgement to be made. If you are at all unsure whether pre-application advice would be appropriate for your proposals and ideas, we can assist with an initial site assessment and providing an options appraisal for you. Once you have chosen an option, we can assist in supporting you from start to finish, so do get in touch if we can help.