Sustainable Drainage Approving Body (SAB) Pre-Application Service Protocol

1. Introduction

With effect from 7th January 2019, the Welsh Government has determined that schedule 3 of the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 is to commence. As part of this the Council will be offering a pre-application service.

2. What does this guidance note cover?

This guidance covers the provision of pre-application advice by the SAB for NPT as follows:-

  • The Pre-Application Service offered by NPT (Section 5)
  • Provision of additional advice following an initial written response received under the statutory service (Section 6.1) 
Developers are encouraged, however, to undertake informal pre-application discussions with the SAB.

3. Pre-Application Advice Service Commitment

The Council’s approach to sustainable drainage continues to place significant importance upon the provision of the best possible advice to a potential developer / applicant before a formal SAB application is submitted.

Our service commitment to you:-

We will actively engage with our customers to provide high quality pre-application advice on all development proposals, offering an individual service with the primary aim of ‘Delivering Quality Development Quickly’.

4. The Benefits of Obtaining our Pre-Application Advice

We have found that engaging with our customers at the earliest stage in the life of a development proposal is critical to the SAB’s key aim to “Deliver Quality Development Quickly”, and delivers key benefits to our customers including:-

  • Improving the speed of decision making and quality of development proposals.
  • Identifying potential constraints and whether you will need to get specialist help, for example in relation to trees, landscape, flooding, contaminated land, ecology or archaeology.
  • Obtaining a view from a SAB Officer about whether your development is likely to be acceptable (subject, of course, to an assessment at application stage), and if it is not acceptable, the ability to identify potential solutions at an early stage. Alternatively if your proposals are completely unacceptable, this service will potentially save you time and cost in pursuing an application.
  • Advising you on the information needed to support your application, thus giving you the best chance of submitting a valid and comprehensive application which can be progressed straight away.
  • A reduction in time spent by your own professional advisors in working up proposals.

5. Pre-Application Service

The charges are set by this Authority for this discretionary service will be in line with section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003 at a flat fee of £250 (including VAT).

Please note that once a request for pre-application advice has been validated, fees are non-refundable.

What can you expect from us?

Following submission of a pre-application form, the allocated Case Officer will:-

  • Contact you to discuss your request
  • At the discretion of the Case Officer arrange either one site visit or meeting.
  • Provide you with a written response. 
Please note that: -

  • The fees cover all Officer and administration costs involved in researching and responding to a request for advice in writing.
  • The fees listed in this protocol are in addition to the fees payable for the submission of applications. If you make an application having received advice for which you have paid, the full application submission fee remains applicable.
  • The pre-application service is not confidential
Should you wish to engage in additional/further discussions or meetings with Officers, or require an additional written response to amended drawings following receipt of our initial response, these will be provided as a new ‘pre-application’ response.

You will be required to provide such fees upfront.

We would encourage you to use the discretionary service outlined above to provide initial pre-application advice.

6. How to request pre-application advice

Do you need to submit an Application Form?

All requests for pre-application advice must be made on the prescribed pre-application advice enquiry form, a copy of which is provided at Appendix A.

These systems must be approved by the Council’s Engineering Service acting in its SuDS Approving Body (SAB) role before construction work begins. In this respect it is essential that a developer of any such project gain SAB approval of its surface water drainage alongside any relevant planning permission. Failing to engage in joint pre-application - while possible – has the potential to lead to delays and, most notably, the potential need to obtain further planning permission should the SuDS design not be compliant with the relevant planning permission.

For this reason, there are clear benefits or any developer in engaging with the Council in pre-application discussions as Local Planning Authority and as the SuDS Approving Body in one merged pre-application service. Accordingly, the pre-application charges at Appendix A provide for an additional pre-application payment of £250 (including VAT) to be made to the SAB, which will include the SAB Officers in pre-application discussions and allow for SuDS drainage matters (to ensure suitability of proposed SuDs design in line with national standards and adequate site layout) to be considered alongside the assessment of planning merits.

Please note that the SAB also offer a separate, chargeable pre-application service (for £250 including VAT) to discuss in detail your site’s drainage requirements and what needs to be submitted with your application. Details are available here.