Before making a planning application

We can provide you with help and advice prior to the submission of planning applications through our duty planning service for householder or small business enquiries only. Find out about our duty planning service.

The option for written advice will only relate to larger scale development and permitted development enquiries as set out in the table below.

Find out if you need planning permission.

In relation to all new dwellings, new commercial agricultural or community based development, and telecommunication proposals, we will provide written advice only.

A charge based on 25% (plus VAT) of the planning application fee will be charged for any written submission made. For further fee information take a look at our table of pre-application fees (PDF)[240kb].

VAT is payable on pre-application submissions as the service is discretionary and the advice can be provided by other outside bodies in competition with the council.

Type of enquiry Available service Written
Householder and small scale business enquiries - for example extensions to residential properties, adverts on commercial premises. Duty Planning Service
(phone appointments only)
No At point of
Permitted Development Enquiry Written response to requests received in writing Yes 10 days Yes
Written Submission for 1-9 dwellings and commercial development of less than 250sqm Officer only pre-application response to information submitted;
No consultation with other council departments
Yes 10 days Yes (25% of application fee)
Written Submission for major residential (10 dwellings or more) and commercial development above 250sqm Full pre-application response including consultation with other council departments as appropriate. Yes 28 days Yes (25% of application fee)

Major development

For large scale major proposals we offer a paid programmed ‘Planning Performance Agreement’ approach at the pre-application (which includes opportunity for Member panel engagement), application stage, and delivery stage in accordance with the government recommendation for such agreements. Please contact us for further information at

Pre-application engagement is important as set out within paragraphs 39-46 of the National Planning Policy Framework. To enable the effective allocation of resources at times of potentially high demand for pre-application advice, different types of sites will be considered in accordance with the principles set out on the flowchart and the pre-application service available.

Pre-application discussion

The benefits of pre-application discussions include:

  • identification of key constraints associated with proposed development
  • the potential for a quicker decision if a subsequent planning application is pursued.

Applications which are submitted in accordance with our approved polices and standards will be dealt with quickly. Applications submitted not in line with our approved policies and standards are likely to be refused without discussion with the applicant or agent. Amended plans will only be accepted if the application can be determined within the agreed deadlines. The approved policies and standards can be found by visiting the Local Plan page.

Pre-application consultation

We also consider that a planning application which has had the benefit of consultation with stakeholders and interested parties prior to its submission will result in an improved scheme. You should consider undertaking your own consultations with relevant councillors, the parish council and local residents. Please note you will need to carry out your own consultations directly with HCC Highways, the Environment Agency, Water Authorities etc.

View our adopted Statement of Community Involvement which details the level of public engagement and consultation that developers should take with local community before submitting a planning application (summarised on pages 49 and 50).

Written submissions

Written submissions can be made to gain advice on all types of development proposals including:

  • all new dwellings, new commercial, agricultural or community based developments
  • telecommunications.

The level of information needed will vary depending on the nature of the proposed development. We will always need the following basic information to provide you with advice:

To get the best out of the service we suggest you also send us the following information:

  • a scaled plan showing where your proposal would be on the site
  • photographs showing the key features of the site with the directions shown on the plan above
  • plans of what you want to do, drawn to metric scale
  • a location plan or map with your site clearly outlined. Our preference is for this to be at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 with a north point shown.

Commitments made by the applicant and the council in undertaking pre-applications are available in the document below:

Pre-application commitments

The Environment Agency is not included as part of the pre-application consultation process but your proposals may impact on issues within the Environment Agency remit. The Environment Agency offers two forms of pre-application planning advice:

  • a free ‘preliminary opinion’ which is a detailed constraints check with a formal position
  • detailed advice through a charged service.

You are therefore advised to contact the Environment Agency directly at

Please note that responses to requests as to whether works to be undertaken are permitted development will remain as an informal response under this process. If a formal determination to confirm whether proposed development is lawful or not then it will be necessary to apply on the appropriate application forms under Section 192 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

Council officers and councillors have access to all pre-applications submitted to the council.

Pre-applications and confidentiality

Under the Freedom of Information Act, we may consider pre-application submissions, which are commercially sensitive, and confidential. A public interest test will be applied to decide a proposal can be deemed as confidential. Should the information fall outside of this category or a planning application is submitted on the site for a similar scheme, the information may be made available to the general public.

Contact details

Planning Development Team

If you have a planning enquiry, send a message to the Planning Development Team

Contact us

  • Contact us online
  • 01256 844844
  • Civic Offices
    London Road
    RG21 4AH
  • Opening hours
    Monday to Friday
    8.30am to 4.30pm