Planning, building and the environment

Pre-application consultation with communities

The Localism Bill includes a requirement that developers consult with communities before submitting planning applications. View are invited on the type and size of development to which this should apply.

The Coalition Agreement promises a radical reform of the planning system to give neighbours more ability to determine the shape of the places in which their inhabitants live.

Many of the changes that affect places pass through the planning application system. Whilst local people can comment on applications, we know they often feel frustrated that they have not been able to contribute earlier on, when they would have had a greater opportunity to influence the proposals.

To address this, the Localism Bill introduces a requirement for developers to consult local communities, prior to the submissions of planning applications. This will:

  • increase community influence on planning applications and reduce frustration, by giving local people a chance to shape proposals from an early stage and
  • reduce the costs of the planning process and speed up the system, by improving the quality and sensitivity of developments and reducing refusal and appeal rates

The description of which developments the requirement will apply to will be set in secondary legislation. As a starting point for discussion, one option is that it could apply only to large scale developments. These are:

  • residential development which could provide 200 or more new residential units, or (where the number of residential units to be constructed is not specified) with a site ares of 4 hectares or more
  • other developments which would provide 10,000 square metres or more of new floorspace, or with a site area of two hectares or more

An initial impact assessment has been prepared reflecting this option. (See related publication below).

A short guide setting out further information on our intentions has been published and is available below.

The Government is aware there will be a variety of opinions as to what developments should be subject to consultation. The Department is very keen to hear these, and are therefore inviting views on this matter.

The consultation closed on 21 March 2011.

Further information

Further information about the pre-application consultation requirement may be obtained from:

Neil Holdsworth
Planning: Development Management
Department for Communities and Local Government
Email:; Tel: 0303 444 1716.

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