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Pre-Application Advice

Pre-Planning Application Advice

What is Pre Planning Application Advice?

This is the informal process of seeking advice from the local planning authority to obtain their opinion prior to submitting a planning application.

Such advice is often informal and as such will not be binding for a subsequent application.

Such advice can be very beneficial in understanding what information is likely to be required during a formal planning application as well as the policy context that the application sits in.

One of the main reasons Plande submit a Pre-planning application is to seek the informal opinion of the local Planning Officer or Conservation Officer (in the case of conservation areas or listed buildings). For example, where there are matters relating to potential design issues, or where applications do not sit neatly within any particular planning context.


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How much does the advice cost?

Pre-Application advice costs vary depending on the local authority and whether the applications are for a householder or full planning applications.

Some local authorities do not charge for household advice whereas some make a nominal charge. For larger applications the fee varies depending on the scale of the application. It is often charged on the number of units. For commercial projects it is based on the size of the development.

For small applications such as individual dwelling houses, the cost of Pre-Application advice can sometimes be more than the actual cost of a full planning application!

How long does it take to obtain Pre-planning application advice?

Local authorities can set their own time frames for advice. Some take a few days while others can take up to 8 to 12 weeks. It really depends on the authority. Why not give us a call to discuss? 0333 444 3433


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Should I seek Pre-Planning Advice?

To determine whether it is worth getting Pre-Planning Application advice it is essential to consider the individual application.

We would always advise seeking professional advice and assistance from a Planning Consultant, prior to starting any application process. Plande will be able to provide some of the information that the local authority would do. This early assistance could give you a much better informal opinion from the LPA once Pre-Application advice is submitted.

pre planning application example

With householder applications, local authorities will set out in ‘supplementary planning guidance’ – their requirements for extensions. it is much more useful to understand those documents and ensure designs comply with the guidance before submitting a planning application.

Pre-Application advice and pre-planning applications are vital. Particularly where schemes are large and important, in the context of local policies or in terms of Town or Citywide impacts. For example – large regeneration projects. In addition, where many considerations or consultation responses are required, seeking an informal opinion from a local authority could ultimately benefit the determination of said planning application.

One of the other benefits of Pre-Planning advice is that the application is often not made public on the local councils portal. The benefit is that neighbours or other stakeholders who may have issues with the scheme, are not informed. This enables discussions with the Local Planning Authority to take place to establish the main issues and any contentious aspects. With the application not being made public, the applicants and planning departments can test various ideas and establish the likely frameworks/parameters designs should meet. For example – scales, density, heights and design strategy can be discussed without having outside influences.


Should Pre-Application advice always be sought?

It may not be the case that submitting for Pre-Application advice is necessary in every case particularly where Planning Consultants, such as ourselves, are involved

We understand the planning context, which includes relevant planning policies and supplementary planning guidance, as well as a likely impact on neighbouring properties.

In addition, where applications are likely to be contentious or refused on principle grounds, (for example, new buildings in the greenbelt, replacement dwellings or development on Greenfield sites), submitting a pre-planning application may only likely confirm this. In some cases, submitting a robust package with full justification can be one option, particularly if the Council would not be likely to support it, and a subsequent planning appeal is likely to be required.

Most Local Planning Authorities have limited resources during planning applications.  Pre-planning advice is beneficial to quickly establish likely issues, especially as part of an overall planning strategy prior to a full planning application package being developed. This is done at the earliest stages and helps reduce the time of the application process, especially where an appeal was negated.

Some planning authorities prefer applicants to go through the Pre-Application advice process. It helps iron out issues prior to the submission of a formal application. This minimises delays and maximises the chance of applications being accepted.


Disclaimer: This page provides an introduction only and is not a definitive statement of the law and should therefore not be relied upon. The information above relates to England only. Policies across the rest of the UK may differ. Contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and confirmation before any works are carried out. All images used are for illustrative purposes only. Read the full disclaimer here.

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Whether you need an expert on your team to secure permission for a major mixed-use scheme or a unique self-build home, our fresh planning insights will help you achieve your goal.