Pre-application advice

South Oxfordshire District Council is committed to providing an efficient and effective planning service which meets government performance targets for processing applications.  We welcome discussions about planning applications before formal submission.  Please see pre-application charges for information on the different levels of service and relevant costs that we offer.  We believe the benefits of such discussions are:

  • They can help applicants understand how we will apply policies and guidance to their proposal.
  • They can improve the quality of planning application submissions by identifying at an early stage where we will need specialist input.
  • They could help applications be registered more speedily and can improve the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • They can save an applicant’s time and money by identifying if a proposal is unacceptable in principle.
  • We want to provide a positive climate for pre-application discussions, offering impartial and professional advice within an agreed timeframe.  We will allocate your enquiry to a  planning officer who will co-ordinate comments from internal colleagues, and provide you with feedback (generally within 20 working days).

The service is not compulsory and may not be appropriate for all situations.  However, we actively encourage pre-application discussions for all development proposals before submitting for formal consideration.

Requests for pre-application advice received from 3 January 2017 onwards and the council’s response will be made public once a subsequent relevant planning application is made.

We will be making the submitted documents, our response and any interim correspondence public. We will endeavour to ensure that all personal information such as telephone numbers and email addresses are removed from documentation.

The aim of this change is to increase transparency. The statement issued by DCLG earlier this year (February 2016) shows central government’s direction and expectation that developers should be more transparent.  Whilst Freedom of Information (FOI) and Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) can be used to obtain pre-application information, best practice is leaning towards this information being made public when a related planning application is submitted.

Further important information

We will make every effort to make sure that the advice given in the pre-application process is as accurate as possible.  However, any advice given by council officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal response or decision by the council in respect of any future planning applications.  Whilst such advice will be a material consideration, it cannot be held to bind the council in its validation or formal determination of a subsequent application.

If an application is subsequently submitted which fails to take on board advice given by officers, then we are likely to refuse it without further discussion with the applicant or their agent.

From 3 January 2017 we will treat information provided as part of a pre-application advice request as confidential until such time that a related formal planning application is received. Once a formal planning application is received all information relating to the pre-application request and our response will be made public.


Last reviewed: 02 - 08 - 2019

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