A Pre-lodgement meeting with council can be a useful tool in assisting with desired development proposals, prior to lodging a development application with the relevant council, whether this be for a material change of use or reconfiguration of lot that has a level of complexity whereby comment is sought before committing to a development application.
These meetings with council officers aim to assist any development proposal and could provide timely advice, or if approached incorrectly they could slow down a project. The meetings promote communication between council and prospective applicants.
The allowance for a pre lodgement meeting with relevant councils typically provides for the discussion of queries specific to any proposal, seeking clarification on proposals and provision of advice from council officers with regards to matters that should be considered. These meetings are believed beneficial as they;
- Are viewed to be the most appropriate means of dealing with enquiries and development proposals that are complex, or of a site specific nature.
- Provide the opportunity for council to advise the application of any strategic objective for development within a particular are, or for a specific site.
- Allow for any potential issues and constraints to be dealt with prior to formally submitting a Development Application for assessment.
- Enable the relevant local authority (council) to provide information to the applicant that will assist in resolving issues prior to lodging a development application.
These meetings are not intended to pre-empt a final decision regarding a development, but are for discussion and clarification purposes only. These meetings do not determine the outcome of the development application that is lodged as a result, and proposals remain to be the subject of detailed assessment in accordance with the Sustainable Planning Act 2009, as well as the relevant local council planning scheme.
Assurance of accurate information being received through these pre-lodgement meetings is possible as experienced and expert council officers will attend, further leading to the recognition that opinions expressed in discussions should be supported further into the development application process.
Information that should be provided
It is considered to be beneficial, although generally required by the council, to provide sufficient information pertinent to a development proposal prior to attending a pre-lodgement meeting. As the purpose of these meetings is to facilitate a well-made application being lodged a request to attend one of these meetings should be accompanied by plans of the proposal, explanation of the proposal and recognition of issues/matters which the applicant wishes to address with council. Providing this information prior to meeting with council officers allows the proposal and associated matters/issues to be investigated by council prior to discussion in the meeting.
If there are clear non-compliance issues with a proposal these should be identified when requesting the meeting and providing information of the proposal, in order for such issues to be discussed. Council officers can then use the provided information to research and prepare comments, and in the meeting will provide guidance on the development with regards to raised matters and other relevant issues.
After the meeting
Following the pre-lodgement meeting the applicant will receive notes from the meeting that document the proposal and advice provided rather than being a verbatim recording of the meeting.