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Preapplication advice and Planning Performance Agreements

Pre-application advice is an important part of the planning process and we welcome early discussions before you submit a planning application.

This can help you by:

  • giving you advice about the acceptability of your proposed development
  • identifying any problems which you may need to solve
  • identifying financial contributions
  • avoiding abortive work
  • providing greater certainty about your application
  • speeding up the application process.

How to apply for pre-application advice

To apply for pre-application advice, you will need to complete the online pre-application advice form. You can download the pre-application advice guidance document for more details about the service and prices. You can also apply for pre-application advice, ask for a CIL calculation or planning history for a site online.

Planning Aid

Planning Aid England are able to offer advice and support to help individuals and communities in planning their local area. They are able to offer a fully independent and impartial planning service.

Planning Performance Agreements

We promote the use of pre-application discussions for all proposals. However, for some major application proposals entering into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) is the best solution as it provides bespoke ongoing advice.

Range of proposals best suited to a PPA

PPAs are one useful approach of good development management and can be applied to any development, but we would normally be seeking their use for the following types of development:

  • schemes above 10 residential units or above 10,000 sq m of commercial development
  • individual developments and development programmes of major strategic importance to the area for regeneration, job creation and investment
  • developments which are a corporate priority which may have a wider council involvement
  • developments eligible for large scale time limited public funding
  • proposals for larger sites that include a variety of land uses
  • proposals requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • proposals for sites where there are many constraints
  • proposals involving significant non-standard planning obligations or numerous planning conditions
  • other major and/or complex proposals that are considered unique to the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole area.

Bespoke PPAs can be used for clients where there is a need for a single case officer or where there is a grouping of potential applications. 

Benefits of a PPA

Taking into account best practice identified by the Planning Advisory Service, we have identified a number of clear advantages for using PPAs, including:

  • better overall management of pre-application and post-application stages
  • identification of key issues at an early stage
  • more realistic and predictable timetables
  • improved input by elected members
  • greater accountability and transparency
  • where permissions are granted development is easier to implement
  • improved partnership working
  • continuity and consistency from council officers.

Time scales

The PPA (single or multistage) includes the ability to agree a timescale in which to carry out all stages of the planning process including pre-application, application and post–application stages. Where a PPA is not in place, we need to determine major schemes in tight timescales so the scope for negotiation once the application is made and registered is limited. The use of a PPA allows for bespoke determination periods to be agreed dependant on the needs of the individual project.

Pre-application discussion and community engagement

An important process of the planning system is involvement with the local community and stakeholders. In order for all parties to gain maximum benefit from a PPA it is essential that there is engagement between developers, ourselves, the community and relevant stakeholders. The level of community engagement will be dependent on the type of development proposal and will be identified in the PPA. Our officers would be happy to provide further assistance on this as part of the PPA engagement, as they have local knowledge and are well placed to advise on local groups how would be likely to show an active interest in development proposals. 

A key aspect of our approach to PPA’s is that elected members have to opportunity to provide observations on emerging proposals. Whilst optional, this is anticipated to be achieved by a presentation(s) to the Planning Committee at pre-application stage. This gives members the opportunity to identify issues which may concern the community and seek clarification.  Applicants will find this process particularly useful as it will allow them the opportunity to address these issues in advance of submitting an application.  Members will not however give an indication as to how they might vote when the application is submitted.


We will seek to charge for the administrative work involved in agreeing and implementing the PPA and for any additional inputs or resources identified as necessary. PPA charges are therefore bespoke and agreed by negotiation between all parties. They are dependent on the project tasks, milestones and inputs identified in the project plan that sits at the heart of the PPA.

If you would like to discuss a potential PPA, please contact us.

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