Pre-application Service

As part of our planning service we provide advice on development proposals in advance of the formal planning or related application.

Advice can be sought through either our Pre-application Service, PPA service or Duty Planning Officer Service.

Most advice will be through our pre-application Service but if you wish to discuss a complex proposal with us (normally a development of over 10 new homes or 1,000m2 of floor space which will require multiple meetings) this is best placed in our Planning Performance Agreement Service.

Please note that potential applicants are not obliged to seek pre-application advice. However, it may avoid delays in the formal application process and the potential of a refusal of permission where insufficient information has been submitted or where elements of the proposal are considered unacceptable. Pre-application advice can draw these matters to the attention of applicants early on.
Once a formal application has been received, the Council will normally make a decision on it without seeking further information or amendments – so we strongly advise you to use this service to guide the development of a scheme before an application is made. 

Whilst the Council is keen to provide this service, a charge is made for some types of advice because of the resources that it requires. Please see the attached Pre-Application Guidance Note - April 2024  for more information including expected timescales.

Free Advice

Free advice may be available to you in certain situations that are described below:
If you are not seeking to submit a planning or related application yourself, for example you are seeking advice about the operation of the planning system generally, or on a proposal that has been submitted by another person, this advice remains free of charge.

  • If you are a householder who is proposing development which does not result in addition to the existing floorspace of the property (including any conversion works), a change of use or change to the curtilage of the site, this advice is not charged for.
    In these instances, please see our Planning advice on the Guide to the Planning Service page as to how to see our Duty Planning Officer

Chargeable Advice

A charge is payable for any pre-application advice that relates to a specific site or scheme. The charges are set out in the table below. 

These charges cover, where applicable, a meeting to discuss the proposal and written advice following the meeting. 

We will assess who needs to attend the meeting based on the type of proposal, whether the site is a Listed Building or in a Conservation Area and whether specialists within Planning and Building Control can advise in writing. 

Charges for this service are subject to VAT. The development categories set out below are the same as those used by the government, but please see the Pre-Application Guidance Note - November 2023 for a full description of each category. In general, major development includes proposals for 10 or more new residential units and new floorspace over 1000sqm. Minor development is for residential proposals of 1-9 units and for other schemes, for a floorspace below 1000sqm. Please contact us if you are unsure of the category of development that your proposals fall into.

Pre-Application Charges from 1 April 2024

Application or Advice Type (Please see Customer Advice Note for guidance on categories of advice CategoryInitial fee (Ex VAT)VAT at 20%Total (inc VAT)Notes
Householder1a£208.33£41.67£250Written advice only
Householder and Listed Building advice1b£350£70£420Written advice only, incorporating advice from heritage specialists where required
Small Commercial scheme2a£416.67£83.33£500Written advice only
Medium Commercial scheme2b£833.33£166.67£1,000Written advice and meeting at EHDC's discretion 
Other Commercial or simple change of use (excluding conversions which create new residential units)2c£250£50£300Written advice only
Simple advert proposals2d£166.67£33.33£200Written advice only
Proposals of 10 or more adverts2e£583.33£166.67£700Written advice only
Other non-residential not covered by the above2f£250£50£300Written advice only 
Creation of one new residential unit3a £458.33£91.67£550Written advice only
Creation of 2-5 new residential units3b£833.33£166.67£1,000Written advice and meeting at EHDC's discretion 
Creation of 6-9 new residential units3c£1,000£200£1,200Written advice and meeting
Creation of 10-24 new residential units3d£3,333.33£666.67£4,000Written advice and meeting 
Creation of 25-49 new residential units3e£5,000£1,000£6,000Written advice and meeting 
Creation of 50-99 new residential units3f£7,500£1,500£9,000Written advice and meeting 
Creation of 100-200 new residential units3g£12,500£2,500£15,000Written advice and meeting 
Small major commercial scheme 4a£5,000£1,000£6,000Written advice and meeting 
Medium major commercial scheme 4b£7,500£1,500£9,000Written advice and meeting 
Large major commercial scheme4c£10,000£2,000£12,000Written advice and meeting
Commercial change of use4d£2,000£400£2,400Written advice and meeting
Other non-residential advice on major applications not covered by the above 4e£4,166.67£833.33£5,000Written advice and meeting
Other non-residential advice on simple major applications not covered by the above (no floor area)4f£500£100£600Written advice and meeting at EHDC's discretion


Requests which are made or on behalf of Parish and Town Councils are eligible for a 25% reduction on the pre-VAT charges set out above. Where proposals are submitted by Registered Charities, who are not represented by professional planning advisors, these are also eligible for a 25% reduction. 

Reductions are also available for Reserved Matter applications, follow-up requests and in some cases for variation of condition proposals. 

Please note that the fee for a formal Lawful Development Certificate application is £129. This would be payable in addition to the advice fee for a householder proposal if it is subsequently decided to pursue a formal LDC submission. Applicants may prefer to proceed straight to the formal process because of the differential in costs.


In all cases the charges set out in the table are levied in relation to one scheme at a site. We understand that it is best to seek pre-app advice before a scheme is finalised so some variations on different proposals can be submitted, but where schemes are wholly different, a second pre-application request will need to be made. 
If, on receipt and consideration, proposals are considered to be permitted development this will be set out in a response letter and no further advice will be given. Please note however that this will constitute an informal response and does not constitute a Lawful Development Certificate. Fees paid cannot be refunded.

Advice Provided

For the initial fee, the Council will undertake the following as its response to any request for advice:

  • relevant research relating to your proposals
  • identify the key issues likely to be raised by the proposal
  • advise on the information required if a formal planning submission is to be made
  • advise on amendments/ alterations that could be made to improve the proposals
  • advise on the likely outcome of any formal planning submission

A written summary of the above will be provided.

The advice which we can offer is based on the information you provide. We would always recommend that you submit as much information as possible for us to consider. We appreciate that schemes will be emerging and not-finalised. However draft drawings, indicative drawings, sketches and design documents explaining approaches are very helpful to discuss and advise on. For larger schemes, a draft design and access statement can be helpful.

With regard to affordable housing advice, the fee covers discussions and liaison with the Councils housing service up to the time of the submission of a formal planning application. You will normally be directed to officers in the housing team for this purpose. There is not normally a secondary fee for affordable housing advice.

Please note that the advice given will be based on the information supplied and that already held by the Council. Officers will generally not be able to visit and inspect a site so it is crucial that any plans and drawings submitted are accurate. Neither will it generally be possible to undertake consultations with other organisations who would normally be invited to comment on the proposals through a formal submission. The advice given is based on the professional judgement of the officer and cannot be binding on the formal decision of the Council. If a scheme progresses to a formal submission it will be subject to consultation and any formal decision will take the results of that consultation into account.

The Council pre-application advice service is provided in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

Request Advice

To request advice, please complete our online Pre-Application form.

If you are having trouble filling in our form, please see our Pre-Application Guidance Note - March 2024 documents for more alternative details

If you would like to defer a pre-application and proceed straight to a full application, please make a planning application online