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The planning applications advice service

General planning advice

Written responses

We aim to provide written responses within 15 working days (householder/small business) or 20 working days (all other enquiries) of receiving your valid enquiry. If a meeting is requested we aim to agree a date with you within 10 working days followed by a written response within 15/20 working days of the date of the meeting.

If it is not possible to provide you with a response within this timeframe we will contact you within the 15/20 working days to agree a revised time frame.

Please note that for larger/major pre applications of 10 residential units or 1000 metres of new floorspace or more, a bespoke timescale will be agreed with you, particularly if any meeting and subsequent responses is to be informed by other Council specialists involved in the pre application meetings.

The written response from the Council will include, where appropriate, input from internal and external consultees, for example Conservation or Highways advice. As such, it is important that you provide as much information as possible to the Council at this stage, by filling in the form below, submitting the appropriate proposed plans and elevations (these do not necessarily have to be scale but it is helpful) and any other supplementary information (covering letter, planning statement etc.). The more information you can provide us at this stage, the more comprehensive our response to your development proposal will be. Speculative enquiries with few details can also be considered, but in these cases the response from the Council may be limited.

Meetings

If you would like to meet an Officer to discuss the proposal, you may request this on the Enquiry Form. Fees for each category of development are set out in the attached Schedule. Please note that a meeting will not be arranged until all of the plans and associated documents have been received and the appropriate fee has been paid in full. Payment must be submitted with the application. Please refer to attached schedule of fees. A response will then be issued from 15 working days from the date of the meeting. Please note that should you wish the Divisional Director-Planning to attend, an additional fee of £300/hour would be required (Major/Strategic proposals). Similarly, if your proposal is for a householder development and you would like the Head of Development Management and Building Control to attend, an additional fee of £223/hour would be required. The fee schedule details the attendance fees for various officers that you may request to attend a meeting (subject to availability).

If your development proposal is of a significant scale or complexity, you may wish to discuss the possibility of entering into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) with the Council, which would be used instead of this procedure, and can be used to project manage the proposal where several meetings and workshops may be required. If you wish to consider pursing a PPA, you should contact the relevant Area Team leader to discuss how this would be taken forward.

Design Review Panel

It should be noted that the standard pre-application service does not include the pre-application being reviewed by the Council’s Design Review Panel. There is a separate fee to cover this aspect of the service. The Harrow Design Review Panel provides expert independent professional design advice on pre-application proposals for key developments in the borough. The Panel consists of highly qualified professionals within the built environment, including architects, landscape architects, public realm specialists and urban designers. The Panel members have been appointed by Harrow Council through a competitive application process and the Panel exists to advise Harrow Council, however it offers independent design advice. It does not have decision-making powers, but serves as an advisory body helping the Council to achieve high quality urban and architectural design for its residents. 

It is recommended that all major development proposals are reviewed by the Design Review Panel at pre-application stage. The cost of Design Review Panel service will be added to the pre-application fee.

For more information on Harrow’s Design Review Panel please discuss with the planning dealing with your pre-application enquiry.

General information about pre-application meetings

We ask that you bring no more than four people to the meeting. You must provide the name and job title of each attendee in advance so we can inform reception.

The proposal documents must ideally be received at the time of the application, and not before the expiry of 10 working days following a valid pre-application submission. If the relevant documents are not received in sufficient time, the meeting may be rescheduled and/or it may be difficult to arrange for other attendees if these have been requested. 

For any proposal, an electronic copy of the documents should be provided. For pre-application meetings involving ‘minor’ development, one hard copy should also be provided. Where the pre-application relates to a ‘major’ development, two hard copies are required.

Officers can only comment on the plans and documents submitted before the meeting. They will not be able to look at additional materials you bring to the meeting or submit after the meeting. The cost of follow-up meetings is outlined in the fee schedule. (Details of follow up meetings is set out below).

Follow-up meetings will follow the same format as above. The timeframes and structure outlined above also applies.

Follow up pre-application advice

After you have received your response, you may want to discuss your application further or submit minor amendments to particular aspects of the original scheme. To do this, you will need to make a follow up pre-application advice request. If follow up advice is sought, this must be requested within 3 months of your original pre-application advice response. Failure to do so would require the submission of a new full pre-application advice request together with the relevant fee. Only one follow up request per application can be made. If, after the first Follow Up advice further advice is required against the site, a fresh pre-application advice request must be submitted along with the necessary fee and supporting documentation. In order to gain follow up advice, please send your request, using the pre-application form and ticking the “Follow-up advice” option by email to: [email protected] 

Planning advice service

To obtain planning advice or for general planning enquiries, a formal request must be made using the pre-application enquiry form which is available on line (see introduction). To be clear, the planning service does not operate a drop in duty planner service. We can provide advice relating to specific sites, proposals you are considering for your property (i.e. if you wish to extend your property), expand your business or consider a new business venture in a property, or a larger or major development. We also provide advice/assistance with submitting planning applications and the information required to be submitted with an application to make the application valid. If you just want to drop off applications please see information on the drop-off service.

Enquiries relating to Harrow planning service

For queries relating to the Planning Service, including submitting a planning application, searching for planning applications and decisions, or the planning enforcement service please see our planning portal.

Other sources of Planning advice

If you are not sure that the Pre-Application advice service is the right service for you, you can seek planning advice from a range of other providers, such as local architects, or Planning Aid.

If the resources above do not provide you with the information or answers you need, it is recommended that you consider appointing a planning consultant to assist you. The RTPI Directory of Planning Consultants lists all consultants and consultancies who are members of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Environment Agency fact sheet

The Environment Agency can highlight any issues with your proposals and will aim to resolve them prior to you submitting your planning application. By using this service you could save considerable time and money during the planning process. To find out more please download the Environment Agency pre-application advice fact sheet.