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Getting pre-application advice

There are many benefits of getting advice before submitting your planning application in the National Park – both for us and you:

  • We can help focus your thoughts and understand the questions that planning need to take into consideration when determining an application in the National Park;
  • We can suggest ways that your application could add value to local communities and the wider National Park. The earlier you speak to us the more we might be able to achieve together;
  • Higher quality applications are faster to process and lead to better outcomes and better developments for the National Park.
  • We can help you understand our list of local requirements and how planning policies and other requirements might affect your proposals;
  • You can save time and money by reducing the likelihood of submitting an invalid application;
  • You can save time and money by asking for an assessment of whether there seems a reasonable chance of getting permission;
  • We can help you understand site problems such as roads, footpaths, power cables, watercourses, sewers and telephone lines; and
  • We can discuss potential problems such as noise and traffic and whether we might impose conditions to overcome these problems rather than refuse planning permission;
  • You can get advice on proposed changes to historic buildings.

Please note that we are a transparent organisation and, unlike many other planning authorities, will publish all pre-application details and responses on our Public Access System unless you are able to give adequate reasons why the enquiry is commercially sensitive.

All pre-application advice constitutes an informal opinion based upon the information you have provided. This advice will not prejudice and decisions that the South Downs National Park Authority or other planning committees may make on any future formal planning application. As planning applications are also publicised and consulted on there may be other matters which only come to light after formal application and which may influence how it is determined.

Steps for seeking pre-application advice

  1. Identify who you need to go to for advice
  2. Find out if there will be a charge
  3. Complete the form and make your payment
  4. Our advice

Planning Aid

Planning Aid is a network of planning volunteers providing free and independent planning advice and support to individuals and communities who are unable to afford a consultant. For more information please see the Royal Town Planning Institute for more information.

Step 1 – Identify who you need to go to for advice

We are responsible for planning across the entire National Park and have agreed unique partnerships with the local authorities operating within the National Park boundaries.

Find out who is best placed to give you advice.

Step 2 – Find out if there will be a charge

There is no charge for pre-application enquiries from households or residents asking if they need planning permission.

Charges for other pre-application advice, for example for the construction of dwellings, agricultural buildings or larger scale development have been set to recover the costs of the officer time involved.

These guidance notes will help you understand which category your query fits in:

Pre-Application Guidance – What category does your proposal fall within?

You will be charged the same costs for the same provision of service now matter which authority is dealing with your application.

Scale of Development Fee (inclusive of VAT @ 20%) Level of Advice Given Timeframe for Response
Do I need planning permission (DINPP) enquiry £0 Written Response to completed DINPP Pro-Forma 15 working days
Householder – formal request £0
(If a meeting is required £48 per hour)
Completed Householder Pro-Forma: Written response (inc site visit if required) 20 working days from receipt of valid information
Replacement dwellings and other development (change of use; agricultural development; advertisements; telecommunications) £72
(If a meeting is required £48 per hour
Written response (inc site visit if required) to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma. 20 working days from receipt of valid information
1-3 dwellings; up to 499m² commercial floorspace £240
(£48 per hour for additional meetings)
Site visit, written response to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma and 1 x 1hr meeting on the information provided. 25 working days from receipt of valid information
4-9 dwellings; up to 500-999m² commercial floorspace £360
(£48 per hour for additional meetings)
Site visit, written response to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma and up to 2 x 1hr meetings on the information provided. 25 working days from receipt of valid information
10-29 dwellings; up to 1,000-1,999m² commercial floorspace £900
(£48 per hour for additional meetings)
Site visit, written response to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma and up to 2 x 1hr meetings on the information provided. Initial contact made within 5 working days to agree timetable
30-99 dwellings; 1,999m² to 3,500m² commercial floorspace £1,800
(£48 per hour for additional meetings)
Site visit, written response to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma and up to 3 x 1hr meetings on the information provided. Initial contact made within 5 working days to agree timetable
Anything over the above thresholds 10% of Planning Application Fee Case by case agreement after initial meeting in response to completed Other Developments Pro-Forma Initial contact made within 5 working days to agree timetable

Minerals and waste pre-application enquiries are dealt with the same way as other planning pre-application enquiries and costs are set out below.

Scale of Development Fee (inclusive of VAT @ 20%) Level of Advice Given Timeframe for Response
Minor minerals and waste (e.g. amendments to schemes/conditions; time extensions)* £240
(£48 per hour additional meetings)
Site visit, written response and 1 x 1hr meeting 25 working days from receipt of valid information
Major minerals and waste (e.g. EIA development, new minerals and waste developments; extensions to sites)* £900
(£48 per hour for additional meetings)
Site visit, written response and 2 x 1hr meeting Initial contact made within 5 working days to agree timetable

Step 3 – Complete and return the form and pay

To give you the best advice we need to make sure we have the correct information. To make sure this happens all requests for pre-application advice must be made using the relevant form together with the supporting information outlined on the form.

Please use the Householder Pro-Forma for any householder query, the Other Developments Pro-Forma for any other proposal or, if your query is regarding whether you need planning permission, please use the DINPP Pro-Forma.

Forms can be completed electronically, saved and emailed directly to the relevant authority or printed out, completed by hand and returned by post.

Please note that all the required information and the fee, if applicable, must be submitted before we can deal with your enquiry.

To pay online

Make an online payment using a credit or debit card.

To make sure your payment is correctly identified and linked to your submission please use the following references:

  • If the fee relates to a previous application that has been declared invalid (no original fee or additional fee required) use the application reference; or
  • If the fee is for a new application use the first line of the site address.

To pay by telephone

  • For Adur and Worthing, Arun, Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, Mid-Sussex, Wealden or West Sussex you can pay over the phone by debit or credit card by calling 01730 814810 and asking for the Technical Support Team.
  • To make a telephone payment within Chichester, East Hampshire, Horsham, Lewes or Winchester please contact the relevant planning service directly stating that you wish to pay a pre-application advice fee for a South Downs National Park Authority application.
  • For payments for sites in Eastbourne please contact the Lewes Planning Service.

 To pay by BACS Transfer

  • For Adur and Worthing, Arun, Brighton & Hove, East Sussex, Mid-Sussex, Wealden or West Sussex please call 01730 814810 and ask for the Technical Support Team who will be happy to provide you with our account details.
  • To make a BACS payment within Chichester, East Hampshire, Horsham, Lewes and Winchester please contact the relevant planning service directly stating that you wish to pay a pre-application advice fee for a South Downs National Park Authority application.
  • For payments for sites in Eastbourne please contact the Lewes Planning Service.

To make sure your payment is correctly identified and linked to your submission please use the following references:

  • If the fee relates to a previous application that has been declared invalid (no original fee or additional fee required) use the application reference; or
  • If the fee is for a new application use the first line of the site address.

Paying By Cheque

  • Please attach your cheque to the completed form and make sure that the applicant’s name and site address is written on the back of the cheque.
  • Cheques should be made payable to the ‘South Downs National Park Authority’ and either included with your application or submitted directly to the SDNPA at: South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, GU29 9DH

Step 4 – Our advice

We, or the relevant authority, will send you a letter acknowledging receipt of your enquiry, supporting information and fee, together with the name and contact details of the case officer who will respond to the enquiry in the following ways:

  • If there is an in-principle objection to your proposal they will respond to your enquiry in writing explaining why;
  • If your proposal is acceptable, in principle, they may decide it’s necessary to visit the site. Visits are normally by unattended unless access to the site is difficult and an appointment needs to be made. To avoid delay please indicate whether this will be needed when submitting your form;
  • They will then provide a written response. Timescales for response will vary and are set out under each type of application in the will be a charge
  • A copy of the pre-application response will be uploaded to our online planning register under the pre-application number unless the applicant has given adequate reasons why the enquiry is commercially sensitive.

You may not agree with the pre-application advice you receive. In most cases this is down to a difference of opinion rather than factual error and this can only be resolved through the formal planning process. However, if you feel something has gone wrong please speak to your case officer directly to clarify the situation.

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