Pre-application protocol for major developments

How the development team approach (DTA) operates

The exact approach and content of the DTA needs to be tailored to the enquiry. However, the need for coordination and management of this approach is vital if the maximum benefit is to be gained.

The first approach by any potential developer to us may be through development management or planning policy officers or other departments. However, wherever the approach originates, it is recommended that development management are informed at the earliest stage. This can be done via the generic development control email address (, the planning development manager or the head of development services. This will enable a decision to be taken on whether or not DTA is necessary.

It is proposed that the DTA will deal with two sub-categories of significant development proposals:

Strategic projects 

Strategic projects have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • 50 dwellings or more
  • 10,000 square metres of industrial, commercial or retail floorspace
  • wide corporate involvement by Lichfield District Council
  • development of more strategic significance e.g. wider regeneration benefits, new transport infrastructure

Strategic projects will undoubtedly require input from all key parties and may well need to involve other disciplines. In addition, projects of this scale will require input from senior management. Advice on strategic projects will be coordinated internally through a strategic project team meeting (PTM). The PTM meets fortnightly to concentrate purely on items of a commensurate scale.

Major projects 

Major projects are of a lesser scale than strategic projects but are still defined as major category planning proposals, as set out in the Town and Country Planning General Development Procedure Order 1995, as amended. For example, 10 to 49 dwellings.

They also include projects that are recognised as being of a particularly complex or sensitive nature e.g. inappropriate development in the green belt, development affecting SSSIs etc. These schemes may only require the input from a limited number of consultees but would still benefit from a coordinated approach. These proposals may be discussed at a separate, fortnightly internal meeting known as project surgery (PS).

On receipt of a proposal, it will be the responsibility of the planning development manager or the principal planning officer (in consultation with others as required) to determine which of the above two categories the proposal falls and hence at which meeting it will initially be discussed.

It is the intention for strategic projects that the applicant will be invited in, at the first opportunity, to attend a PTM. This approach will allow the opportunity to explain the proposals and allow:

  • Key issues for consideration to be raised early in the process.
  • Identify the need to involve other parties not present at the meeting i.e. statutory consultees.
  • Engagement with members early in the pre-application process.
  • Highlight the need for further information deemed necessary to progress pre-application discussions.
  • Provision of written comments/meeting minutes from us prior to any formal planning application submission.
  • Discussion and agreement of timetable for pre-application discussions and planning application submission and any requirement for a planning performance agreement (PPA).

Prior to the first meeting, the planning development manager or team leader will assign a case officer from development management. The case officer will be responsible for the following:

  • Communication with the developer or their agent throughout the process.
  • Ensuring that the project is scheduled for the appropriate coordinating meeting(s).
  • Coordination with other parties to obtain their comments, ensure attendance at relevant meetings etc.
  • Monitoring progress on the project and providing update reports to the relevant project meetings.
  • General project management of the process, including informing ward members as appropriate.

For projects that are referred to the PS the vast majority of these approaches will be discussed internally at the PS meeting with the involvement of relevant consultees e.g. highways, design & conservation etc. However, there is the flexibility to involve the applicant or their advisors if deemed necessary by the case officer, following liaison with the planning development manager.