Prior to submitting an application, you will need to put together your ideas and devise a scheme for your property/site.
The scheme will need to consider a number of factors relating to the site. In many cases in addition to Planning Policy, onsite factors will influence what can be constructed both in terms of planning requirements, but also what is physically or financially possible.
Whilst the way in which these factors will influence your proposals will be largely dependent upon the scale and type of proposal you are putting forward, many of those listed below will be relevant to many schemes from modest extensions on a house through to large scale residential or commercial development.
Please note the list of suggestion set out below is not an exhaustive list, and it is not intended to replace the pre-application process. It is still advisable to seek professional advice prior to submitting a formal application.
The term ‘access’ relates to the ability to move both to/from the site, and within the site/buildings.
A safe access to the highway will need to be achieved, including appropriate visibility splays, and associated provision of on site parking (for cars and bicycles) and turning areas. Suffolk County Council as Local Highway Authority are consulted on such matters when formal applications are considered.
If you need to gain vehicular access to the highway over land outside your ownership, you will need to include that access route within your application site boundary, and serve the appropriate notifications on the owner of that land.
It can be beneficial to seek to incorporate accessibility features into buildings from the outset, with the aim of future proofing them, so that they are adaptable to the changing needs of future occupants (see Building for a Healthy Life). The Building Regulations includes minimum requirements in terms of access within buildings.
Appropriate levels of parking provision (including cycle storage) will also need to be provided. For further details please see the parking section below.
Please refer to housing mix section below.
Your proposals maybe affected by existing air quality issues and/or may add to them.
Please see heritage section below.
Building for a Healthy Life explains the principles of good design in relation to new housing developments. It replaces 'Building for Life 12' which is referred to in our Planning Policy documents and explains the principles of good design in relation to new housing developments to ensure it is attractive, functional, healthy and sustainable.
Building regulations are different legislation to planning and therefore your proposals may need to meet the requirements of both sets of legislation. Therefore, it is recommended that consideration is given to the building regulations prior to submitting a planning application, as this can avoid the need for variations of conditions and/or non-material amendment applications at a later date in order to amend a scheme to meet building regulations. Further guidance can be sought from our Building Control Team.
A key consideration in the determination of planning applications is the relationship a proposal has to the character of the area, and any resulting impact upon visual amenity. A key part of these considerations is related to landscape and streetscene (see section below). However, proposals do not have to be a pastiche of existing developments, innovation where appropriate is encouraged (please see Design, below and Building for Life, above)
Sloping ground and other changes in ground level within and adjoining a proposed application site can significantly affect the way in which buildings and open spaces relate to one another. The design of any proposal will need to consider existing (or proposed) changes in ground level within the site and in relation to adjoining land, in order to ensure an appropriate visual relationship, and acceptable impacts in terms of residential amenity.
Sites near to the coast, may be within the Coastal Management Area, or within 30m of this zone, and in such situations proposals maybe affected by coastal erosion and flooding. This zone is defined on the Proposals Maps (part of the Local Plan documents).
Within this zone, consideration will need to be given to the potential effects of coastal erosion during the lifetime of the development. As explained in the Local Plan Documents, a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment should be undertaken and included within any application in such areas.
Details on the requirements of a Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Assessment can be found in the East Suffolk Council Local Validation List.
Paragraphs 39 to 43 of the National Planning Policy Framework encourages early engagement with the local community and where relevant, with statutory and non-statutory consultees, particularly on larger development proposals.
If you are proposing an extension to your home or business it is also strongly recommended that you speak to your neighbours prior to submitting a formal planning application.
The land and/or buildings which currently exist on site, may contain sources of contamination either from existing, recently discontinued or more historic uses. Some forms of development, such as residential uses/homes are vulnerable to contamination and therefore contamination surveys, and appropriate work to remove contaminates may be required before the development of the site can commence.
Therefore, appropriate contamination surveys are part of the validation requirements for certain planning applications.
Certain types of development are Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) liable. This is a financial levy calculated based upon the floorspace and type of development proposed. The money collected is used to fund infrastructure projects to support development in the area.
Both National Planning Policy and Local Planning Policy seek to safeguard existing community services and facilities and encourage the provision of additional such facilities.
Good Design relates to more than just the appearance of a proposal, it must also function and be sustainable. Further guidance can be found in the National Design Guide, Building for Life 12 (see above), the Suffolk Design Guide and within our Supplementary Planning Guidance Documents.
There is also the Suffolk Design Guide Suffolk Design project, which is an ongoing project to provide design guidance across the county.
See Sustainable Surface Water Drainage and Services, below
The East Suffolk district contains a significant number of designated sites, which are of local, national and international importance. These include Special Protection Areas (SPA), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and county wildlife sites. Protected Species may also be found on or close to an application site. Therefore, an ecological survey maybe required.
An economic objective is one of the overarching objectives of sustainable development defined within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It is therefore a key consideration in the determination of many planning applications.
Therefore, it is recommended that proposals which would provide additional employment and other economic benefits to the local economy, highlight this fact as part of their submission, and whether those benefits would be during the construction phase or for the lifetime of the development once it is in use.
East Suffolk District Council has published a number of documents relating to the local economy, including a growth plan for the future.
Where proposals would result in the loss of a building(s) or land allocated for, currently or previously used for employment purposes, they will need to be appropriately marketed in accordance with the appendices to the Local Plans prior to a planning application being submitted.
Appropriate evidence of such marketing etc will been to be submitted as part of the application, as set out in the East Suffolk Council Local Validation List.
Although energy efficiency and the incorporation of renewable energy features are not always a requirement of the planning process, it is recommended that they are incorporated wherever possible within proposals.
The inclusion of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy features are often a requirement of the Building Regulations, and therefore early consideration of these requirements, prior to the submission of a planning application, can avoid the need for additional planning applications for variations of conditions and non-material amendments.
Information on the incorporation of energy efficiency measures and renewables can be found on the Planning Portal and the Energy Saving Trust websites. Guidance on incorporating such measures into older buildings is provided by Historic England.
It is also recommended that re-use and recycling is considered both as during the construction process and for the lifetime of the development (e.g. greywater recycling).
External lighting on proposals can have benefits in terms of designing out crime (see section above) and general user safety, but those benefits have to be balanced with the potential negative impacts upon ecology, the amenity of adjacent residents from light spillage, and the visual impacts in the reduction of a dark sky, particularly in rural areas. Therefore, careful consideration needs to be given to the location, height, angle, luminance levels and number of external lights.
There is a Supplementary Planning Guidance Document relating to Recreational Floodlighting (SPG11) within the former Suffolk Coastal District area, which provides some guidance on such matters.
Government guidance on external lighting in the context of the planning system can be found in the National Planning Policy Guidance.
These can include costs of purchasing the site, dealing with site clearance and contamination, build costs (materials and labour), fees, the provision of affordable housing, the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), and financial contributions to the Habitat mitigation strategy (RAMS).
All of these financial considerations should be factored in from the outset prior to the purchase of the site, to ensure that the scheme is financially viable and can meet all of the planning policy requirements.
Suffolk County Council Fire and Rescue Service provide online guidance in relation to fire safety in the home, for businesses, charities and schools.
A risk of flooding can be fluvial (rivers), tidal (the sea and tidal parts of rivers) and from surface water run-off. Depending upon the nature of the development proposed it may prevent the principle of development on a site. The Environment Agency has identified areas at risk of tidal and fluvial flooding, on a map which can be used to identify if your site is likely to be at risk of flooding .
Where the principle is acceptable in terms of flood risk, it can still shape the specific design of a scheme in order to reduce the potential risk to future occupants of a development and/or those on neighbouring sites. See Sustainable Surface Water Drainage section below.
There are rights and responsibilities for owners of ditches, streams or other watercourses. These are explained on the Suffolk County Council website.
The geology of the site can have a number of implications for how it can be developed from practical issues such as how surface water drainage is dealt with through to whether mineral extraction needs to take place prior to construction.
Suffolk County Council as Local Minerals and Waste Planning Authority are consulted on all applications for significant development within Mineral Consultation Areas. They are also the determining authority for mineral extraction and developments relating to waste disposal and recycling.
Within the East Suffolk district there are a number of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) which are designated for their geological importance. Further information on SSSI’s can be found online.
This relates to both below and above ground features, both on and adjacent to/forming the setting of the site. It includes Schedule Monuments, other sites of archaeological interest, listed buildings, conservation areas and non-designated heritage assets.
The Suffolk Historic Environment Record includes information on the nature of archaeological sites in Suffolk.
Further information on heritage can also be found via the Suffolk Heritage Explorer.
The National Heritage List for England is a searchable database of all nationally designated heritage assets including listed buildings.
There may be features below ground that are hidden from view, such service pipes and cabling, sources of contamination, mineral deposits and archaeology, which may affect where, how and the size of proposal that can be constructed.
In local planning policy (both district level local plans and neighbourhood plans) there are policies which set out requirements in terms of the mix of dwelling sizes and tenures, including the proportions of affordable housing required. Compliance with this mix should be incorporated into the design of residential schemes from the outset.
Proposals will need to carefully consider and be designed with regard to the character of the landscape and/or streetscene in which they are situated, whether that is identified as a designated area (e.g. Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or conservation area) or an undesignated area.
A significant part of the East Suffolk district lies within the Suffolk Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Part of the district also lies within the Broads National Park, and therefore the Broads Authority is the determining authority for planning matters.
There are a significant number conservation areas and Historic Parklands within the East Suffolk District. The National Heritage List for England is a searchable database of all nationally designated heritage assets including registered parks and gardens.
The Suffolk Landscape Character Assessment, and the Landscape Character Assessments produced as part of the Local Plan process are useful sources of additional information. Those related to the Local Plan Process formed part of the evidence base, for the production of the Local Plans and are therefore on the Local Plans section of this website.
It is recommended that you discuss your proposals with the neighbours prior to submitting an application, so that they are aware of what is proposed prior to receiving a consultation letter from the Local Planning Authority during the application process.
The Local Planning Authority cannot require an applicant to resolve an existing noise and disturbance issue, not directly related to the proposal, but it will seek to safeguard amenity of existing and future residents from any potential noise and disturbance arising from a proposed development (also see residential amenity section below).
Plant and machinery such as air conditioning, extract ventilation, refrigeration or any other fixed plant, can result in significant levels of noise. Therefore, careful consideration should be given to the model chosen, the proposed siting and any mitigation measures such as soundproofing.
The relationship between different uses within the same building also needs to be carefully considered, and additional soundproofing maybe required between floors or in walls in order to make two adjacent uses compatible. This can add to the costs of a development, so should be investigated and costed early in the design process.
The National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) provides guidance on noise.
If your scheme proposes a use which is likely to generate odours (for example a restaurant, café or takeaway that cooks and serves food), or other atmospheric pollution, (for example a vehicle repair or mot testing facility), appropriate extract equipment and potentially other mitigation measures will be required in order to safeguard the wider environment.
Where extract systems are required, they should be of a size and type appropriate for the intended use, and be sited in a location that minimises their impact upon the amenity of neighbours in the terms of the noise such systems generate, sited to minimise the impact upon the appearance of the building, particularly in views from public vantage points, and where on an historic building, they will need to be design and sited to respect its historic value.
Please also see the Air quality and Noise sections above, and the Residential amenity section below.
Areas of open space and play areas, can be an important part of the visual appearance and character of an area, whilst also providing a vital community facility. Therefore, where possible their retention is generally sought, and the creation of new and enhancement of existing open space and play areas is encouraged.
The National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) provides guidance on Open space, sports and recreation facilities, public rights of way and local green space.
The proposed works may also need to comply with other regulations and require other forms of consent, including Building Regulations, private access rights/land owner permission, licences etc. The requirements of those regulations/consents may need to be incorporated into the design of your scheme from the outset.
Adequate parking for both cars and bicycles should be incorporated into schemes. Suffolk County Council parking standards include specifications for the number and size of spaces (including within garages).
It is also recommended that early consideration is given to the inclusion of electric vehicle charging points. The Local Government Association provides general guidance on electric vehicle charging points.
The installation of electric vehicle charging points do not always require planning permission. Further guidance can be found via the planning portal or my submitting your proposals for a permitted development query via our pre-application process.
The site will also need to accommodate appropriate turning areas for vehicles and safe access on to the highway (also see access section above).
This is separate to the planning system. It relates to works to and or close to property boundaries and shared walls.
Further information can be found on the National Government webpages relating to Party Wall Act.
Prior to submitting an application it is beneficial to check if you need planning consent, as the works you propose maybe 'permitted development', and thus not require planning permission, or have deemed consent under the advertisement regulations.
Therefore, it is recommended that our pre-application advice service is utilised to check if consent is required.
The proposal will need to accord with both National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and local planning policy. Further guidance on National Planning Policy can be accessed within the National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG).
The potential costs of a development should be identified from the outset, including material and construction costs, dealing with onsite contamination, on site investigation (e.g. archaeology) and planning related contributions such as the provision of affordable housing (preferably on site), and financial contributions to the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and the Habitats Mitigation Scheme (RAMS). These will need to be factored into the price paid for the land to ensure that the scheme remains viable.
In some instances an applicant may be required to submit a viability assessment with their application, which will be published on the councils website as part of the application in accordance with the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
Further guidance on viability assessments can be found with the appendices to the Local Plans and the East Suffolk Council Local Validation List.
Please see Residential amenity section below.
Although these do not fall within the scope of the planning system, they are something that should be considered from the outset, as they may prevent you from undertaking your scheme, even if planning permission is granted.
Public Rights of Way (e.g. public footpaths, bridleways etc) can affect how a site can be accessed and/or developed, and potential future maintenance issues.
The National Planning Policy Guidance (NPPG) provides guidance on open space, sports and recreation facilities, public rights of way and local green space.
Good design ensures that development proposals are compatible with those around them, both in terms of appearance and use. Proposals should be appropriately scaled, proportioned and detailed (see Design section above). Proposals should not have a materially detrimental impact upon the amenity of the existing or future occupants of adjoining buildings (see Residential amenity).
All proposals should seek to ensure that they safeguard the amenity of both existing residents and future residents, both within existing buildings and from the proposed development.
Residential amenity should be considered in terms of privacy and overlooking, noise and disturbance, access to daylight and sunlight, the resulting physical relationship with other properties, safety and security (See Secured by Design section below) light spillage, air quality and other forms of pollution.
Many elements of secured by design are essential aspects of good design.
Therefore is beneficial to consider Secure by Design Principles from the outset, as simple elements incorporated into the layout, such as active frontages to buildings adjoining public areas, creating clear delineation between public and private areas, avoiding rear alleyways and rear parking courts, and the type of features/detailing used (e.g. fence, gates, walls, windows, doors and external lighting) chosen can enable a more secure home or business.
Guidance can be found on the Secured by Design website and in the First Principle Residential Design Guide published by Suffolk Police.
It is beneficial to check where existing underground and over ground services run, both on and near to the site, to ensure they will not prevent or limit the scope of development and if a connection is required to serve the proposal, where this can take place.
Details of the location of services and any potential easements and/or consents that maybe required from statutory undertakers, should be sought from the appropriate statutory undertaker for that service.
Also known as Sustainable Urban Drainage systems(SUDs) should be incorporated where possible, and will be a requirement on many schemes. The need to provide on site drainage can reduce the number of units that can be accommodated on residential sites and therefore it needs to be considered from the outset. Further information on SUDs can be found on the Local Government website, the Susdrain website and the Lead Local Flood Authority website (part of Suffolk County Council).
Existing landscaping, including trees and shrubs on and overhanging a site can be assets that enable a scheme to integrate into their surroundings successfully.
Trees may be protected by virtue of a Tree Preservation Order, being within a conservation area or by a condition on a previous planning permission.
Trees on or overhanging a site, will need to be a consideration, and where worthy of retention, appropriate protection measures during construction will need to be incorporated. An arboricultural assessment should be undertaken to appraise the quality of the trees, to inform the design of any proposals that may affect them.
Whilst the practicalities of the internal layout of a building are important to its future use, the external appearance, form, height, scale and massing of a proposal and its position within a site and in relation to features both within the site and on adjacent land are key to ensuring it is successful in terms of visual amenity.
Further guidance on aspects of external appearance can be found within Supplementary Planning Guidance Documents, Suffolk Design website, Secured by Design website and Building for Life 12.
All developments, whether they are for new buildings, or a change of use of existing buildings or land need to incorporate sufficient facilities for the storage and collection of refuse and recycling. On residential schemes this will need to include areas for the presentation of wheelie bins (currently presentation space for two bins on recycling and green waste collection days, which can be used for the single-general waste bin on alternate weeks).