The Duty Planning service provides handy (usually) free advice to homeowners on general non-specific planning process related matters.
It gives homeowners the opportunity to talk informally with a Planning Officer to discuss proposals. Taking along documents such as photos of the existing house, proposed elevations and plans, street images and locations maps would aid the Officer in getting a thumbnail feel for the proposed scheme.
What you’ll get advice on is focussed on more generic matters. It is useful for providing guidance on the local authority’s specific planning policy (policies can differ council to council), and for getting advice on the planning process itself. Most local authorities will publish an infographic showing the decision-tree matrix they work to, but it can be helpful to have this explained in person.
The Officer on duty should also be able to advise of the most suitable planning route for your application, provide advice on what types of scheme qualify for permitted development and what they would typically expect to see on a permitted development design.
You will also get advice on how to complete a planning application and importantly, the Officer can carry out a pre-submission validation check to ensure you’ve prepared the application fully and correctly.
On the flip side the Duty Planner won’t offer feedback or opinion on specific planning related queries or discuss the technicalities of a specific plan and any feedback offered remains the opinion of the individual Planner and not the local authority… so don’t expect any advice offered to be written.
Do not go there expecting the Planner to sign off on any amendments to an existing application you table or offer up the kind of information they reserve for full pre-application advice. Neither is this the correct forum to ask for comment on a current enforcement.
Additionally, advice on appeals is case-specific and therefore out of the Duty Planner’s remit.
In summary, although the duty planning service won’t provide targeted advice around specific planning applications, it can still be a useful way to get general advice on the planning process and other defined areas.
If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.