Pre-Application Service - Guidance Notes

The pre-application advice service is for when you know planning permission will be required and you want an informal pre-application assessment of the acceptability of the scheme.

Before contacting the Council for pre application advice on draft development proposals, please go through the checklist below. This will help you to design your scheme.

  • Fully investigate the planning history of the site. Is there anything which may be relevant to your proposals? 
  • Familiarise yourself with the relevant development and local plans and other supplementary planning documents the Council may have adopted which may be of relevance. 
  • Visit the site and make a detailed analysis to establish site characteristics, constraints opportunities and the surroundings. Accurate site survey plans and tree condition surveys and wildlife surveys (where applicable) will be required if a planning application is to be submitted. Therefore, these survey plans are likely to be useful in the process of designing a scheme too.

Once you have gone through the above checklist, you should be in a much better position to begin to design your scheme. You may then wish to approach the council to seek advice from a planning officer.

Engagement in pre-application discussion is specifically advocated by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) most particularly at paragraphs 188 to 195.

About the Service

The service to be offered is for the provision of advice. It is not an approval service.

It will aim to give applicants and developers very clear advice about whether the Council will recommend approval for a scheme, and how it may need to change to be supported by a recommendation.

When you submit your pre-application enquiry, you will need to pay the relevant fee (if required).

You will be asked to supply essential supporting plans, photos, documents and information. If we need any further documents, we will let you know. 

Contact details

You can seek pre-application advice yourself or employ an agent. If an agent is used, all correspondence will be sent to them.

Location of proposed development

Please indicate the location or address of the development site or building. If there is no postal address, please give a clear and accurate description of the site location and provide an up-to-date site location plan showing the site outlined in red.

Description of proposal

Please describe what you propose as fully as possible. Please state the number of storeys if a new building/extension is proposed and the number of flats/houses if residential development is proposed.

If the development includes a change of use of the property, please state the existing use in the description. For example, "Erection of 3 two-storey dwelling houses" or "Change of use from house to shop on ground floor with 1 two-bed flat above".

Planning Policies/Guidance taken into account

Please state the guidance you have referred to in preparing your scheme, e.g. Local Plan Policies, Supplementary Planning Documents, etc.

Viewing the site

The Case Officer may need to view the site. Please confirm if the site is accessible or whether arrangements need to be made.


The relevant fee must be paid before a request for pre-application advice is processed (other than specified on the charges' sheet with No Charge).

Please note that we no longer accept cash or cheques. Payment should be made online using debit or credit card.

Plans and supporting information

The minimum information to be submitted with the form 

  • A site location plan, clearly identifying the site or building in question, with the development site edged in red. The plan must show adjoining streets, land and properties including street names and numbers
  • an annotated sketch plan and/or illustrations of the development proposals 
  • photos of site and surroundings including relationships with neighbouring windows etc

Further plans and information dependent on the level of detail required will be dictated by the complexity of the proposal. Please specify plans/details that have been submitted and also include drawing numbers.

Commercial Sensitivity

This information should be submitted with all pre application is to indicate areas of your submission that you consider to be commercially sensitive.

Please note: If at any time the Council receives an FOI or EIR request to disclose information relating to this pre-application enquiry, they are obliged to do so unless the information is deemed exempt under the Act. We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of the exemptions (FOI) or exceptions (EIR) set out in legislation.

Our advice

The Pre-application service advice would be provided in writing (other than scoping), which will include: 

  • references to all relevant planning policies and planning history;
  • Set out the nature and quality of information which would need to accompany any subsequent application in order for it to be validated;
  • Set out clearly the issues which would be raised by the development, and either what sort of changes would be needed to make it supportable, or, in the event of insufficient changes being likely, what the grounds for refusal would be; 
  • Be provided on a without prejudice basis because it cannot constrain the Development Management Committee which is entitled to not accept the officer recommendation if there are good and justifiable planning reasons not to do so; 
  • Be based, if necessary, on site visit information made by officers of the Council;

For larger or more controversial schemes also: 

  • Identify what level of community consultation would be expected in order to comply with the Council's Statement on Community Involvement; 
  • Establish, as a minimum the Heads of Terms that are needed to be included in any Section 106 Agreement. Preferably have discussed the agreement to enable a S106 agreement to be submitted with the application in detail.