Pre-application advice for roads and transport

Request advice on road and transport issues associated with any proposed development.

1 Overview

Important note: Due to a notable drop in traffic levels caused by the coronavirus situation, please refer to the Coronavirus: traffic volumes and speed surveys section if you have undertaken (or plan to undertake) a speed survey or traffic flow survey since 16 March 2020.

Local planning authorities consult us for advice on any road and transport issues that affect proposals submitted for planning permission. They then take our recommendations into account when making a decision on a planning application.

We can provide advice on road and transport issues associated with any proposed development before you submit a planning application. The benefits of seeking advice include:

  • potentially reducing the time and cost involved in working up proposals
  • reducing the subsequent cost of unsuccessful applications
  • comprehensive information on what you need to provide with your application
  • helping to speed up the decision-making process once an application has been submitted.

If you submit an application without seeking our advice first or have not used the advice given, we will base our response to the local planning authority on the information submitted with the application. At this stage, it is unlikely that you will be invited to discuss and revise the proposal.

2 Coronavirus: traffic volumes and speed surveys

There has been a notable drop in traffic levels on our highway network and in the use of public transport since early March 2020 due to ongoing issues associated with the coronavirus situation. As an authority, we are continuously monitoring the situation and impact upon the transport network.

As a result, it is advised that before any new transport surveys are undertaken after 16 March 2020, discussions are held with us to agree an acceptable approach by requesting pre-application advice.

  • Speed surveys: If speed surveys are undertaken in free flow conditions, these could still be used. They should be undertaken in line with CA 185 Vehicle speed measurement.
  • Traffic flow surveys: From 16 March 2020, traffic surveys for the purposes of vehicle movements are not considered to be representative. Therefore, if you have undertaken surveys since then, you should look to nearby historical permanent count data (if available) to calculate an appropriate growth factor to increase the flows by. Permanent count data is available on our Traffic counts page.

This approach and growth factor should be agreed with us prior to the submission of any planning application. If no nearby count data is available then an appropriate growth factor should be agreed with us by requesting pre-application advice.

While the above approach may be appropriate in most instances, we withhold the right to review each application on a case-by-case basis, and in some instances it may not be appropriate to simply apply a growth factor based on historic count data.

3 Advice levels

Our advice can include:

  • relevant policies and guidance
  • the required level of detail and supporting information necessary to provide a valid assessment of highways and transport issues
  • whether a contribution towards highways and/or transport improvements is likely to be required
  • transport assessment scoping to determine the content, preparation and presentation of a transport assessment likely to satisfy our requirements
  • comments we have made about previous applications at the proposed site
  • the suitability of access arrangements
  • a review of your road safety audit and a designer response.

Levels of advice

Substantive written response

We provide a substantive written response free of charge to your first request for advice. That response will either:

  • state that we have no comment to make
  • state that we are satisfied with the proposal, based on the information provided
  • refer you to national and local policies and guidance that should be taken into account
  • provide advice on the development proposal.

For larger development proposals, we cannot provide a full response to transport assessments or other technical proposals as part of our free service. However, we may be able to advise on scoping for these documents.

This service:

  • is suitable for small to medium developments where the proposals are straightforward
  • includes a written response sent within 21 days of receipt of your request
  • includes advice that will reflect the level of detail that you have provided
  • does not include a meeting.

If you require further correspondence with us, charges will apply per letter or email.

Single meeting with written advice

This service:

  • is suitable for small to medium developments where the proposals are not straightforward and might require discussion to resolve
  • includes a single meeting at our offices or on site - we will contact you within five working days of receiving your request to arrange this
  • includes written confirmation of advice, sent within 21 days of the meeting
  • includes advice that will reflect the level of detail that you have provided
  • incurs a cost.

If you require further correspondence with us, charges will apply per letter or email.

Development team

This service is suitable for larger developments that will require our longer term involvement. It includes scoping, meetings, site visits and ongoing correspondence.

We will agree specific timescales, the nature of the advice required and costs with you.

4 Cost

After receiving your request for pre-application advice we will send you an email to pay online if we are providing one of our chargeable services.

Though paying online is our preferred method, we can still issue invoices and accept BACS and cheque payments. If you would prefer to use one of the alternatives, please indicate this on your application.

Fees and charges: Read left to right for the number of dwellings, commercial and retail area in square metres, additional written response 'only' and single meeting 'and' written response.
No. of dwellings Commercial and
retail area
Additional written
response only
Single meeting and
written response
Up to 10 Up to 100m² £110 plus VAT £275 plus VAT
11-24 101m²-500m² £440 plus VAT £660 plus VAT
25-49 501m²-1,000m² £660 plus VAT £935 plus VAT
50-79 1,001m²-2,000m² £1,210 plus VAT £1,375 plus VAT
80-199 2,001m²-5,000m² £2,200 plus VAT £2,200 plus VAT
200+ 5,001m² + £2,420 plus VAT £2,420 plus VAT

5 Request advice

Please note: Any meetings for pre-application advice will be via conference call for the time being. No site meetings will be taking place.

Complete the online application form below to request advice:

Request pre-application advice

Please include the following information with your request as a minimum so that we provide effective advice. Not providing this information will restrict the level of detail that can be included in our response.

  • Site location plan (scale 1:1,250) with the site boundary shown.
  • Schedule of existing uses, including planning history with reference numbers.
  • Description, including site layout plans of the proposed development and schedule of uses.
  • Summary of reasons supporting site access/highway works proposals, including plan (scale 1:200 or similar) with achievable visibility splays indicated.
  • Design Audit of proposed highway works, including identified departures from standards.
  • Final stage 1 Road Safety Audit of proposed highway works and designer's response, including amended plans as necessary.
  • Location plan of key services indicating locations of education, employment, food retail, non-food retail and healthcare facilities.
  • Reference to supporting national, regional and local planning documents and policies.
  • Parking strategy, including provision of parking for all modes of transport.
  • Relevant data collected to date.
  • Proposed trip rates supported with Trip Rate Information Computer System (TRICS) outputs and site selection methodology.
  • Junction assessment with, where appropriate, supporting outputs.
  • An agenda outlining points of discussion for any meeting.

6 What happens next

After submitting your request for advice you will be contacted for payment of the non-refundable fee.

We aim to respond to your request within seven days and confirm whether sufficient information has been received to proceed.

7 Additional information

Be aware that:

  • a substantive response can say that we have no comment to make, are happy with the proposed development, refer to current standing advice, provide general advice and include justification for our views
  • requesting pre-application advice from us is not mandatory but we will no longer enter into discussion over the scope or content of any specialist highways and transport proposals outside this service
  • any advice given does not constitute a formal response or decision
  • any views or opinions are given in good faith and on the best of ability, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to public consultation and ultimately decided by the local planning authority
  • little or no weight will be given to the content of our pre-application advice for schemes submitted more than three years after the date of the advice being used
  • any advice given in relation to the planning history of the site, planning constraints or statutory designations does not constitute a formal response under the provisions of the Local Land Charges Act 1975.

Supporting information

8 Contact us

If you have a query about applying for pre-application advice, please get in touch:

Last updated:
22 October 2020
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.