Pre-application planning advice for householders

Interactive guides

These interactive house and terrace guides provide easy access to information about planning permission and building regulations. Shops and flats are also included in the terrace guide. There are also mini guides for specific projects.

Interactive guides

Building regulations

It is possible to carry out certain changes to your home without planning permission. However, you may still need building regulations approval. Special rules and regulations may also apply to conservation areas and listed buildings.

When to use our pre-application advice service for householders

To establish whether planning permission is required for changes to your home we offer this advice service.

Examples where this service could apply are:

  • erection of an extension (including a conservatory or a porch)
  • erection of a garage or outbuilding
  • a new or altered access
  • dormer windows/roof alterations
  • erection of a wall or fence
  • installation of a satellite dish
  • establishing whether any restrictive condition applying to the property necessitates submission of a planning application, for example, for a garage conversion

If your enquiry relates to the following please visit our page for non-householder pre-application enquiries:

  • change of use or subdivision of a house
  • change of use of land to garden
  • replacement of a house
  • erection of non-ancillary buildings within the garden, for example
  • erection of a new dwelling within the garden

How to enquire

There are two ways to enquire:

If you use our online form to send us your enquiry you can pay online. Alternatively, if you need to pay by cheque please download the enquiry form and post this to us.

There is a fee of £47.40.

Exemptions from a fee apply in the following cases:

  • where the works are required to meet the needs of a person's disability
  • the proposal only relates to works requiring listed building/conservation area consents
  • following refusal of an application which has been submitted in line with advice given on an earlier pre-application enquiry

Preparation

Before contacting us with your draft development proposals please approach your neighbours regarding your proposed development. All too often the failure to engage with neighbours early on in the process leads to objections that could have been avoided.

You may also wish to include additional information with your enquiry such as:

  • photographs of the property
  • any letters of support from neighbours

Please note that we reserve the right to reject requests for pre-application advice if you have ignored advice previously given on the same site.

What happens next

Once we receive your request for pre-application advice we will acknowledge it within five working days and tell you the name of the planning officer handling your enquiry. All communication from you to the council should be via this officer.

Should further information or a meeting be required the case officer will endeavour to let you know within 15 working days of the enquiry being received. You will be charged for meetings.

Where additional information is not required our aim is to respond to you within 25 working days. If this cannot be achieved your case officer will contact you within the target period and explain why further time is needed to respond to your enquiry.

What advice can I expect to receive?

Once the information has been assessed and any negotiations concluded your case officer will provide you with constructive and relevant written comments. If planning permission is required advice to help you submit an application will be included.

What if I disagree with the advice received?

In most cases, it is differences of opinion rather than factual errors that give rise to disagreement. These can only be resolved through the formal planning process. However, if you feel that something has gone wrong, please explain to the officer involved, as he or she may be able to clarify the situation further.

Where an applicant fails to incorporate advice given at the pre-application stage into a formal planning proposal it is likely the application will be refused without any further negotiation.

If you are still dissatisfied with the service provided, you can make a formal complaint. For further information on the complaints procedure, please visit our comments, compliments and complaints page.

Follow up pre-applications

Submission of a follow-up pre-application

When you receive our response to your pre-application enquiry you may wish to follow up on the advice given. You can do this by providing us with any new or revised information within 12 weeks of the date of the initial inquiry response letter.

When submitting any further information you will need to state the original enquiry reference number and that it is a follow up pre -application. Any follow ups that are outside the 12-week time frame will necessitate a fresh pre-application enquiry and accompanying fee.

These pre-applications will be given a new reference number and the applicant will be informed of this in writing. Applicants will only receive one free go per pre-application enquiry and your proposal must be of the same character/scheme and submitted by the original applicant/agent. If it is necessary for a meeting to take place to discuss your follow up enquiry a fee will be payable.

Follow up meeting

If the applicant or agent does not want to submit a follow-on enquiry but does wish to meet with the officer to discuss the content of the response letter, a meeting can be arranged with the case officer at no additional cost. However this meeting must be requested within 12 weeks of the date of the response letter.

Following refusal of a planning application

Applicants can receive one free pre-application enquiry, providing that the proposal is of the same character/scheme to that of the refused application.

The new enquiry must be received within 12 weeks of the date of the refusal notice and must include the refused application number and new or revised information.

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