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Pre Planning Application

What is a Pre Planning Application?

A pre planning application is a process where the local planning authority provides advice on a proposed development. The intention of the pre planning application advice is to outline how the local planning authority is likely to determine a subsequent planning application.

The pre planning application should provide recommendations/advice on any changes that should be made to the proposed development to increase the chances of receiving planning permission.

Why is Pre Planning Application Advice Sought?

Pre planning application advice is typically sought for larger and more complex developments where guidance is required from the local planning authority. It is also often sought when the scheme is sensitive and it is beneficial to discuss it with the case officer before making the proposals public.

Confidentiality and Public Access

Pre planning application is usually undertaken outside of the public sphere and is confidential. However, sometimes the process can be public and discussions/documents can be made available following a request under the Freedom of Information Act or the Environmental Information Regulations, but only after a full planning application is made.

Fees and Costs

The fees for pre planning application vary depending on the scope, size, and complexity of the proposed development and the extent of involvement required from the local planning authority. It is recommended to approach a planning consultant to assist with understanding the fees and costs associated with the pre planning application.


The timeline for obtaining feedback on a pre planning application can range from a few days to several months, depending on the nature of the proposed development. The response is typically provided in the form of a letter, email, or face-to-face meeting.

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What is Included in a Pre Planning Application?

The level of information required for a pre planning application depends on the size and complexity of the proposed development and the specific requirements of the local planning authority. A planning consultant can assist with clarifying the required information and managing the process.

The information required is typically not as extensive as that required for a full planning application and may include:

  • Location plan, site plan, block plan, and elevations of existing and proposed development
  • Fees for pre planning application
  • Description of proposed works
  • Ecology reports
  • Arboricultural reports
  • Highways reports and advice
  • Acoustic surveys/noise assessment
  • Other development-specific requirements

What Happens After Receiving Pre Planning Application Response?

The pre planning application process is confidential, and feedback is provided only to relevant individuals/parties.

If the feedback from the local planning authority is positive, the applicant can proceed with the next steps of the planning application, either an outline planning application or a full planning application. If the feedback requires changes to the development, they can be incorporated into the next stage.

If the feedback is negative, indicating that the proposed scheme is unlikely to be approved with a formal planning application, the applicant may consider making significant changes to the proposal or rethinking their intentions for the building and/or site.

Benefits of Pre Planning Application

The main benefit of seeking pre planning application advice is that it provides the applicant with an understanding of whether the proposed scheme is likely to receive planning permission without incurring significant up-front costs.

In addition, the pre planning application helps verify the requirements of the local planning authority, reduces the risk of submitting an invalid application, and provides insight into relevant planning policies and issues that may impact the proposed development.