Apply for pre-application advice

We offer a pre-application advice service, which can save you time and money before you put in your application. This service can help you by:

  • Identifying key planning issues and requirements
  • Speeding up the development process
  • Minimising subsequent planning application cost
  • Avoiding unfinished applications

Apply for pre-application advice

Choose the relevant application form for your proposed building work:

See also:

You'll also need to submit the following supporting information with your application:

  • Site Location Plan with site outlined in red on an OS licensed plan (1:1250)
  • Current Use and proposed use (including amount of development)
  • Outline plan of proposed buildings (1:200)
  • Photographs and Sketch Drawings of site and surroundings 
  • Name(s) of all owners/mortgagees of the land (major proposals only)
  • The correct fee, if required (see fees information below)

Check our acceptable file guidance [PDF, 29kB] so that we can access your documents easily. 

Send the application:

  • Remember to include the relevant fee, plans and any other supporting documents.
  • Payments can be made by credit or debit card over the phone, call 01223 457200.  Cheques should be made payable to Cambridge City Council.

Fees

There is no charge for householder advice for proposals such as:

  • the erection of an extension (including a conservatory), garage or outbuilding
  • a new or altered access
  • dormer windows or roof alterations
  • a wall or fence
  • a satellite dish
  • new windows or doors, or
  • a new porch

Some types of extensions and alterations don't need planning permission - this is known as permitted development. 

For larger developments, such as:

  • subdividing a house into flats or bedsits or a House in Multiple Occupation
  • building an independent annexe in your garden

you'll need to use the Pre-application advice developer application form (available above) - there's a charge for this advice.

Get advice from a Duty Planning Officer

We also provide a Duty Planning Officer service, giving informal advice to householders and small businesses / independent traders. 

Notes

After you've applied

Advice for householders

  • You'll receive a letter to acknowledge receipt of your application and tell you which planning case officer will be dealing with your application.
  • Within 28 days of us receiving your application, we'll write to you setting out the informal advice on the proposed development.

Please note: 

  • If our case officer is unable to meet the 28 day deadline he / she will contact you to agree an extension of time.
  • The case officer will not normally make a site visit.
  • If you have any questions you should contact the case officer.

Advice for developers

  • You'll receive an acknowledgement letter which will include contact details for the case officer who will be dealing with your application. 
  • If you've requested a meeting, the case officer will contact you to arrange to meet you within 21 days. 
  • If appropriate, you can ask to give a presentation to councillors, please discuss this during your meeting with our officer.
  • Within 21 days of the meeting, you should receive a written response setting out the informal advice on the proposed development. 

Please note:

  • If our case officer is unable to meet the 21 day deadline he / she will contact you to agree an extension of time.
  • The case officer will normally carry out a site visit in relation to pre-application advice for major applications only.
  • If you have any questions you should contact the case officer.

Further planning guidance

Due to the nature of Cambridge, national planning advice might not recognise its diverse and unique needs. To address this we have produced guidance documents to help applicants, go to our further planning guidance page for more information.

Disclaimer

Any advice given by the Council in response to pre-application enquiries will be based on the case officer’s professional judgement.  Any views or opinions expressed are given without prejudice to the consideration by the Council of any formal planning application, which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity.

Although the planning officer may indicate the likely outcome of a formal planning application, no guarantees can or will be given about the decision that will be made on any forthcoming application.

Freedom of Information Act/Environmental Information Regulations

Disclosure of the information you have provided may be requested by a third party under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR).  In respect of FOI requests, the Council is obliged to determine whether it would be appropriate to release it, or whether it should be withheld under one of the exemptions under the Act.  In relation to EIR requests, although there are various exceptions within the legislation that might prevent disclosure of an enquiry, these have to be seen against the “public interest” test. This means that the Council may refuse to disclose information only if in all the circumstances of the case, the public interest in maintaining the exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.  In all cases, the Council reserves the right to determine whether the information should be withheld or released.

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