Planning advice service

The planning advice service is available to anyone wishing to make a planning application now or in the future. By using this service you could:

  • Maximise the value of your development opportunity
  • Reduce your overall cost and time to develop a project
  • Reduce your risk by identifying potential issues early on
  • Discover alternative solutions that meet your aims and avoid issues

The planning advice process can take just four weeks from start to finish:

  1. Complete the planning advice service online request form, upload any supporting information and pay a fee. See planning and building control fees for more information.
  2. A case officer will review your submission and contact you for a meeting.
  3. We meet with you either on site (always the case for householders) or at our offices.
  4. Having explored all issues and options with you, we will send you an advice letter listing the policies, issues and possible solutions relevant to the site.
  5. Having considered our advice your options would be:
    • Submit a planning application
    • Seek follow-on advice
    • Enter a planning performance agreement
    • Withdraw the proposal

 Apply for planning advice

Follow-on advice service

After initial advice has been given, or following a planning decision, you may wish to use our follow-on advice service. Follow-on advice is a bespoke service intended to close down the last remaining issues of a proposal. It is not mandatory and we only recommend it when we see it as the fastest way to reach a planning permission.

If your follow-on advice includes any specialist input, for example on trees or urban design, this will be co-ordinated by your case officer. The fees for which will be tailored to the service and discussed with you beforehand.

You can request follow-on advice using the Planning Advice Service online request form* and making the payment online. We will then be back in touch with you to arrange the next step.
*Please only request this service if a) we have recommended it to you after initial advice, or b) you have a planning decision.

Frequently asked questions

Is it mandatory to use the planning advice service?
No, but we often recommend it.

Why should I use the service?
Using the service could:

  • Help you make the most of your opportunity
  • Reduce the likelihood of an invalid application
  • Help you understand how policies affect proposals
  • Improve the quality of your application and proposal
  • Avoid delays during the planning process
  • Reduce your development costs and the risk of refusal

What information should I submit?
We want to engage with you as early as possible, so if all you have is a concept that's not a problem; we'll still work with you. If you can provide the following, they are really useful:

  • Location plan (1:1250 scale) with the proposed development site outlined in red and all other land under your control (owned, leased or with options) outlined in blue
  • A brief description of the development
  • Details of any consultations already undertaken e.g. highways authority, environment agency
  • Site history i.e. occupancy of the site
  • Photographs of the site

How do I apply for the service?
Online: Use our apply for planning advice form.

What happens after I apply?
We will contact you within 1 week to arrange a meeting, preferably to take place the following week. After the meeting we will respond in writing within 2 weeks. In total, the process should take no more than 4 weeks, unless your availability for the meeting causes delay.

Will I get specialist advice on specific technical issues?
Specialist advice is not part of the Initial Advice Service. If you choose to use the Follow-on Advice service at your case officer’s recommendation, they may co-ordinate the input of specialists as they consider necessary.

Do I have to follow your advice?
The advice letter will give a recommendation to:

  • Submit a planning application
  • Withdraw the proposal
  • Seek follow-on advice
  • Enter a planning performance agreement

You do not have to follow our advice, but not doing so is likely to carry greater risk for you.

If I follow your advice to submit an application, will it definitely be approved?
No, but we rely on our reputation when selling advice services. We therefore work hard to ensure our advice is correct. The advice process may be less probing than assessing a planning application, so there is a risk that:

  1. The proposal may raise further issues as it is worked up in detail
  2. Consultees may identify additional issues
  3. The planning committee may take a different view to our advice

If I submit a planning application after receiving initial advice, will I be assigned the same case
Where possible, yes.

What is a planning performance agreement?
Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) are voluntary agreements between applicants and local planning authorities for large or complex planning proposals. They bring the developer and local planning authority together to work in partnership throughout the planning process. This ensures that the required resources and expertise are available to deliver high-quality developments.

What should I do if you recommend I withdraw the proposal?
We only recommend a proposal is withdrawn where we see no way of resolving the issues created in trying to meet your aims. You could still make an application, but it is very unlikely that it will be approved. A better course of action would be to revise your aims and submit a new initial advice request.

Contact information

Web form: Planning team


  • Telephone: 01494 412 246

Planning and Building control opening hours and contact information