Caulmert alerts businesses of significant change to planning application process

Howard Jones, Caulmert Director of Planning at the Dee Crossing Bridge

Bangor-based planning consultancy Caulmert is alerting businesses of a change to the planning application process, which places the onus on applicants to carry out consultations prior to the submission of their planning application.

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 requires applicants to carry out pre-application consultations and to submit a report, as part of their planning application, which sets out the comments received and how they have been addressed.

The legislation came into force on 1 March, with a five-month transition period. From 1 August, all planning applications for major developments must satisfy the pre-application consultation requirements before they can be validated.

A major development includes the development of 10 or more houses, the provision of a building or buildings where the floorspace to be created by the development is 1,000sq m or more, and any development on a site of 1ha or more.

The requirement will also apply to developments of national significance, including large infrastructure projects of national importance such as wind farms, power stations and reservoirs.

Caulmert’s planning director Howard Jones said: “This is a significant change in the planning process, and places additional duties on the applicant before a valid planning application can be submitted.

“The pre-application consultation requirements are extensive and, following completion, the applicant must prepare and submit a Pre-Application Consultation Report summarising the issues that have been raised and explaining how they have been addressed.

“The front loading of the planning application process will ensure that organisations, communities and their representatives benefit from early engagement but places the onus upon the applicant to carry out many of the tasks that used to be the responsibility of the local authority.

“Caulmert has extensive experience in consulting with relevant individuals and organisations and is already advising clients with the new regulations in mind.

The pre-application consultation requirements include:

  • Displaying a site notice for at least 28 days prior to submission of the planning application
  • Writing to any owner or occupier of any land adjoining the application site, allowing a minimum of 28 days for representations
  • Making the draft planning application available for inspection for the whole of the 28-day consultation period
  • Consulting with the community/town council(s), each local councillor, and a range of specialist bodies including the highway authority and Natural Resources Wales
  • Specifying a location where the draft planning application will be available for viewing

Caulmert, founded in 2009, has offices in St Asaph, Bangor, Nottingham and Altrincham. It is on track to meet an ambitious 15-year growth plan that would see it employ 250 people by 2024.

Its expertise in a variety of planning, environmental and engineering projects is supported by the use of Building Information Modeling (BIM) processes and modelling to meet PAS1192 level 2.

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