Pre application overview

Providing quality advice to developers and applicants about the acceptability of their proposals prior to the submission of a planning application is the hallmark of a good local planning authority and an essential element of good customer service.

The Council provides a comprehensive pre-application advice service, the details of which are contained in the guidance below. However in order to provide a high quality and efficient service, the Council now requires that a fee be paid at the time the advice is sought.

The benefits of this service include:

  • Gaining a clearer understanding of the Council’s planning policies and other planning considerations material to a final decision.
  • Improving the quality of your development proposals through engagement with officers at a stage when the proposals can still be modified.
  • Significantly increasing the likelihood of gaining planning permission.
  • Possible cost savings in not proceeding with a planning application if officers identify difficult issues to overcome which suggest a high risk of refusal.
  • Identifying which other bodies you should contact at an early stage to identify critical issues to be tackled.
  • A better understanding of procedures and likely timescales for dealing with your planning application as well as the level and nature of information necessary to meet national and local validation requirements.

Anybody wishing to apply for planning permission is advised to use this pre-application advice service for the reasons set out above. Applications that have been submitted in the absence of any pre-application discussions are more likely to be refused without further negotiation if significant amendments are required to make the development acceptable.

All requests for pre-application advice must be made on the relevant application form. 

For pre-application advice on commercial and business and residential development proposals please read the section on Pre-application advice for Businesses.

For pre-application advice on house extensions and other developments and improvements to single houses, we provide extensive “self help” advice so you can avoid any fee until you are ready to submit a planning application. Firstly you can use our self-assessment forms and the information on the Planning Portal to guide you on whether planning permission is required. Secondly if planning permission is required, you can look at our guidelines on house extensions to gauge the Council’s likely reaction to your proposals and how they might be amended to make them acceptable to the Council. Thirdly if you still feel you need pre-application advice, you can utilise the Council’s service. Lastly if your proposals appear not to need planning permission, you can seek formal confirmation of this by applying for a Certificate of Lawful Development. Please read the section on Pre-application advice for Householders.

Exceptions to charging

Adaptation of a building to meet the needs of any member of the household who is disabled will be given free of charge advice.

Works requiring Listed Building Consent or planning permission for physical works to a listed building and/or associated curtilage structures will be given free of charge advice, however new development within the curtilage of a listed building, or a proposed change of use of a listed building, will not be exempt from charging.