Pre-application advice service

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From 1 April 2014 pre-application advice relating to certain categories of proposals now incurs a charge. From 1 April 2015 this also includes a fee for householders intending to make changes to domestic properties.

We consider that pre-application discussions are of significant benefit to the applicant by identifying the planning issues and requirements at the earliest possible stage.

Pre-application discussions provide greater certainty for applicants and developers about the likely outcome from the planning process. They also help to improve the quality of design, encourage greater public consultation, and enable the Council to process subsequent planning applications more quickly.

Planning Policy Framework

The National Planning Policy Framework states:

“Early engagement has a significant potential to improve the effectiveness of the planning system for all parties. Good quality pre-application discussion enables better coordination between public and private resources and improved outcomes for the community.

Local Planning Authorities have a key role to play in encouraging other parties to take maximum advantage of the pre-application stage. They cannot require that a developer engages with them before submitting a planning application, but they should encourage take of any pre-application services they do offer.

They should also, where they think this would be beneficial, encourage any applicants who are not already required to do so by law to engage with the local community before submitting their applications.

The more issues that can be resolved at pre-application state, the greater the benefits. This assists local planning authorities in issuing timely decisions, helping to ensure that applicants do not experience unnecessary delays and costs.”

Before seeking pre-application advice

Before seeking pre-application advice from the Authority there are a number of sources of information that can be accessed to provide guidance on whether permission is required, what needs to be submitted with an application and what policies may be applicable to a proposed development.

How does it work?

  1. Please contact our customer service team in the first instance. You can telephone 01629 816 200 or email
  2. The customer service team will register your enquiry and may be able to give you the information you need immediately
  3. If your enquiry requires further research, you will be referred to a planning customer adviser who will contact you within three working days
  4. The planning customer adviser may decide that further research or information is required at this stage and you may be asked to complete a pre-application advice form. You will be advised of this and a planning officer will then contact you within 15 working days. If the proposal falls within a category for which there is a charge, you will be advised of this and you will need to send payment with the completed form
  5. If planning permission is required, we will advise you:
    1. how to submit an application
    2. the type of application that you need to submit
    3. how much it will cost

You will also be given a checklist that tells you all the plans and supporting information that you need to provide so that our planning officers can assess and determine the formal application.

Pre-application advice form

To fully understand your proposal, we may ask you to fill in a pre-application advice form (41KB) . The form can be filled in electronically and emailed to us at Please check whether your proposal falls within a category for which there is a charge.

There are guidance notes to assist your completion of the form.

Pre-application advice fee schedule

To find out how much each type of requested advice costs, view the pre-planning application advice fee schedule (116KB) PDF icon (effective from 1 April 2017).

How you can help us

The quality of advice we can provide is linked to the accuracy of the information you give us. It is in your interest to provide enough information that is accurate so that the full extent of your proposal can be understood and appropriate advice given.

A site visit will not normally be made, but you can provide photographs. If appropriate, the planning officer will make an appointment for you to discuss your plans in person. We aim to provide a collaborative service in which the planning officer will make suggestions about appropriate developments that meet your needs.

More details about our pre-application advice service.

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