Last edited 16 Jun 2016

Pre-application advice for planning permission

Prospective applicants for planning permission can seek pre-application advice from the local planning authority.

This can:

  • Help applicants understand the merits of a proposed development.
  • Help applicants understand relevant planning policies and other material considerations.
  • Improve the quality of the planning application so the likelihood of success.
  • Help resolve issues associated with a proposed development.
  • Improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application and determination process.
  • Encourage a collaborative and open relationship.
  • Clarify requirements for consultation.
  • Clarify possible planning conditions and planning obligations.
  • Clarify the information that should accompany the application.
  • Reduce the likelihood of delays.

Pre-application advice should be suited to the nature of the proposed development and on large or complex projects may benefit from a planning performance agreement. This is a voluntary undertaking that enables local planning authorities and applicants to agree the timescales, actions and resources necessary to process a planning application during the pre-application, application and post-application stages.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) makes clear that statutory consultees should also take an early, pro-active approach in the pre-application process and should provide advice in a timely manner. Statutory consultees with a shared interest in a development, should engage with each other and seek to resolve any issues together.


Local planning authorities and statutory consultees may charge for pre-application advice, although they are encouraged to provide a basic level of service without charge. Charges that are made should be transparent, must not exceed the cost of providing the service and should not discourage pre-application discussions.

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