Pre-application advice service


Pre-application advice is of significant benefit to applicants by identifying planning issues and requirements on a planning proposal. We have discretionary powers in the Local Government Act 2003 to recover some of the costs incurred before an application is submitted. Since April 2014 the Local Planning Authority has charged a fee for pre-application advice which includes a written report from a planning officer. The fee schedule includes details of the Service Standards we aim to meet in dealing with your enquiry. 

The pre-application advice service complies with the recommendations set out in the National Planning Policy Framework.    

What are the benefits?

The pre-app service will benefit you as a customer and allow us to offer a better service because we can:

  • identify and resolve any issues with you before you make a formal application;
  • advise against a planning application being made if it is clearly expected to fail;
  • reduce the number of unsuccessful planning applications.

This service will also help to:

  • save time and money for all parties involved;
  • avoid the expense and delay in making changes to formal applications;
  • reduce delays by explaining what you have to submit.

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. We will provide you with Guidance Notes and details of the appropriate fee for your enquiry. Upon receipt of a completed form and the correct fee your enquiry will be allocated to a planning officer who will contact you within 15 working days.
  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

Will my application be approved?

The pre-application advice that we provide is not legally binding as it does not take into account the views of neighbours, local councils and other public bodies, who we have a statutory requirement to consult.

Final decisions can only be made once an application has been formally submitted and all interested parties have been consulted. Our officers cannot give any guarantees about a decision that will be made on your application.


As a matter of course, requests for pre-application advice will not automatically be treated on a confidential basis. Whilst we will not seek to publicise requests for pre-application advice, there may be occasions when this information is shared with others (which could include councillors and/or third parties).

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to make certain documents available to members of the public, if requested.

Pre-application advice may only be treated as confidential if there are clear demonstrable issues of commercial sensitivity or other significant reasons why this information may not be disclosed and a public interest test may be applied. Any enquiry in this category should be clearly marked as confidential giving reasons.

If a planning application is made as a result of pre-application advice, all documentation may be publicly available, as they will form background papers to the application.

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