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Planning

Apply for Pre-application advice

The Principal Councils in Somerset (Somerset County Council, Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton and South Somerset Districts) have a shared ambition to support and facilitate appropriate business and housing growth within the County.

The Councils have been working together on a Somerset Enabling Growth Project since 2019, the outcome of which is improved business and housing growth in Somerset, achieved through a more integrated and resilient planning process between the five councils. The approach places a clearer focus on shared strategic outcomes over process and rules and should make the system easier for those developers wishing to take forward development that is consistent with strategic and local plans and policies.

As part of this, the Councils have agreed a Growth Charter which is available at the bottom of this page. This sets out our shared commitments to working together collaboratively with developers and key stakeholders.

Beyond the Charter, service improvements have been undertaken and work is ongoing on a number of workstreams to promote joint working, best practice and standardisation of processes.

The Enabling Growth Project forms solid foundations for workstreams that are now underway in preparation for the creation of a new Unitary Council for Somerset on 1 April 2023.

The Charter and its commitments can be read here.

The Growth Charter will also inform the Councils approach to validation of planning applications which are currently under review. Find the Council’s Validation Guidance here.

Before you submit a planning application to us, it may be beneficial to first apply for pre-application advice. This is so that we can make sure that you understand the way in which your application will be judged and to make sure that your application addresses all the important planning considerations.

Our advice will set out any issues raised by your proposed development and outline what would be needed to make the development supportable by planning officers. If we don’t feel that your development would currently be accepted, we can explain what the grounds of refusal would be.

  1. Benefits of pre-application advice

    If you want clear, impartial and professional advice at the early stages of your planning application, you may wish to make use of our pre-application advice service.

    By having pre-application advice before submitting a planning application, you will benefit from a quicker application process that is more likely to be successful, as many issues will have been resolved or identified in the pre application advice. This can save you time and money during the planning application process.

    Spending time and effort on preparing your proposal is more likely to result in a high quality, acceptable development and will help us process your application quickly.

    For more information on the benefits of pre-application advice, visit Planning Portal.

  2. How to apply for pre-application advice

    Apply for pre-application advice using our pre-application advice form

    Before you start your application, you will need to have the following:

    • The site description, survey and/or assessment
    • Full details of your proposed development including a proposed floor space in square metres if appropriate
    • Sketch plans of your proposed development
    • Photographs of the site and the surrounding area, with context
    • The relevant fee

    View our pre-application advice fees

    You can pay the fee online.

    The more information you can provide, the more comprehensive and constructive our advice will be. If a meeting is required, we will be in contact to arrange a date as soon as possible upon receipt.

    If you have any difficulty completing the online form, contact us at planning@southsomerset.gov.uk

    Freedom of Information Act (2000) and the Environmental Information Regulations (2004)

    This legislation gives rights of access to official information. Both the Act and the Regulations make clear that, subject to certain safeguards, there is a public interest in allowing access to such information. Therefore, whilst we do not initially publicise a pre-application advice request any information provided as part of an enquiry may be made available for public scrutiny if a request is made under the above legislation.

    In addition, there is a statutory Code of Practice with which the Council must comply. The Code deals, amongst other things, with obligations of confidence. In view of this, it would be helpful if you could explain to us why you regard some or all of the information you provided as confidential. Before sending such information you are advised to take legal advice if there are fears that disclosure would prejudice you in some commercial way. If we receive a request for disclosure of the information we will take full account of your explanation, but we cannot give an assurance that confidentiality can be maintained in all circumstances.

Pay for pre-application advice

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