The purpose of this website

At present, the majority of planning applications submitted to the LLFA do not satisfactorily address the flood risk issues affecting a development site or those identified in the accompanying site-specific flood risk assessment. Consequently, a ‘holding objection’ is often necessary by the LLFA until further evidence-based work is submitted. The most common reasons that the LLFA issue holding objections are:

This guide is primarily intended for use by developers, designers and consultants who are seeking guidance on the LLFAs standards for the design of sustainable surface water drainage in Essex. It provides guidance on the planning, design and delivery of attractive and high-quality SuDS schemes which should offer multiple benefits to the environment and community alike. It should also show that meeting these standards need not be an onerous task and can help add to development.  By doing this it should improve the calibre of the applications received which not only benefits the LLFA but also the developer. This is because it can save the developer time and money through reducing unnecessary delays in the planning process.

Essex County Council (ECC), as LLFA, will refer to this Guide when it is consulted on planning applications relating to sustainable drainage. SuDS Planning advice should be sought from the County Council as early on in the process as possible. This guide provides a steer as to what is expected and should complement national requirements whilst prioritising local needs. The SuDS philosophy and concepts are based upon and derived from the Ciria SuDS Manual C753. This guide seeks to complement The Ciria SuDS Manual, and both should be incorporated into any SuDS proposals for the development.

The level of information expected at each stage of the planning application process varies. A list of what is expected to be seen at each stage can be seen within the 'What We Expect' section. At the outline stage it is expected that the drainage strategy includes enough information to demonstrate that the principles of our standards are met and that the drainage system itself is viable. As an application progresses through the planning process it is expected that there will be increasing levels of detail provided. Where necessary, conditions will be placed on a full or outline application to ask for further information, however this recommendation will only be made following a sufficient level of information. As from 1st October 2018 it has become a requirement for pre-commencement conditions such as these to be agreed between the applicant and the Local Planning Authority. Moreover, the LLFA will only formally comment on discharge of conditions applications unless the Local Planning Authority have signed up to a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Therefore, the Local Planning Authority should be contacted in the first instance in relation to discharge of conditions applications. This however does not mean that SuDS Consultation Advice cannot be applied for in regard to discharge of condition applications, regardless of whether or not an SLA is in place.

When applying for planning permission, a completed proforma may be required as outlined in Appendix 1. This will help facilitate a more efficient review of individual planning applications as well as identify any missing key information necessary for considering the planning application and its impacts.

It should be noted that this document doesn’t cover every possible drainage scenario, there may be individual cases where elements within this guide do not apply 100% to your situation. In these cases, it is recommended that you seek SuDS Planning Advice. ECC, as the LLFA, provides a SuDS Planning Advice service which can be used at any point during the planning process. It is recommended that the LLFA is consulted as early as possible to ensure sufficient space is provided within the site layout for necessary SuDS features. The SuDS Planning Advice service can significantly increase your chances of satisfying the LLFA’s SuDS requirements therefore reducing delays in the determination of the application. Where appropriate for large scale development, suds planning advice may be provided via planning performance agreement (PPA).


Page updated: 20/10/2020


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