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Cambridge City Council

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Coronavirus: Updates and information

Find out about available support and how to offer help. Our customer service centre is open to help you by email and phone. Please continue to follow official NHS and government advice.

Planning applications system unavailable from 21 to 26 January

The system will be unavailable from 5pm on Thursday 21 January until 9am on Tuesday 26 January, while we implement the final stage of a major upgrade to the system.

Pre-application advice

Jump to: Duty planner service – Pre-application meeting or written advicePlanning performance agreements

Duty planner service

For domestic (householder) queries only, we offer 15 minutes of free advice and guidance with a duty planning officer to support you with your planning application relating to your home. The duty planner can answer questions about:

  • the planning application process for householder applications
  • how householder planning applications are assessed
  • conditions that have been attached to a householder planning permission
  • extensions, conservatories or a porch
  • a garage or outbuilding
  • new or altered vehicle access
  • dormer windows or roof alterations
  • a wall or fence
  • new windows or doors

The appointments are over the phone and available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9.40am to 12.20pm.

Phone us on 01223 457200 to book an appointment.

Pre-application meeting or written advice

We offer various kinds of paid-for pre-application advice, which can save time and money for anyone considering submitting a planning application. Options range from a 30-minute video call consultation, through to meetings and written responses from specialist officers. This service can:

  • identify the main planning issues for your proposal and how you could address them
  • tell you what you need to submit with your planning application
  • speed up the overall process of getting planning permission
  • reduce the costs of your eventual application
  • avoid applications getting rejected by us due to insufficient information or applying for the wrong type of permission.

Our pre-application advice service cannot guarantee that any subsequent application will be approved, but it will give you an indication of how successful it may be.

How long does it take?

After you submit and pay for your request for advice, you will receive an email within 5 working days, to confirm that we have got your application and tell you which planning officer will be dealing with it.

The case officer will normally contact you within 8 working days and arrange a site visit if required.

We will respond to a householder pre-application within 4 weeks, and other types of pre-applications within 6 weeks. These timescales relate to requests for written responses, and start from the time the request is submitted.

How much does it cost?

Fees are shown in the different categories below.

Fees are waived for small charities and applications specifically required for the needs of disabled persons.

Payment is taken online via a credit or debit card.

Apply for pre-application advice

You will need to submit, at minimum, the following information so we understand your proposal and can assign it to someone who can help:

  • site location plan
  • payment

The forms below replace our previous printable application forms, which we no longer accept.

Householder pre-application advice

Householder pre-application advice fees
Service Cost (including VAT) What's included
30-minute householder advice £90 30-minute meeting (not including site visit, and does not include written response) for simple alterations, for example, conservatories, repair work, garden shed.
Householder (no site visit) £180 Background research on your property and a written response only.
Householder (including a site visit) £276 Background research on your property, a 1-hour meeting on site and a written response. 

Request householder pre-application advice

Residential developments pre-application advice

Residential developments pre-application advice fees
Service Cost (including VAT) What's included
(Minor) 1 to 2 dwellings £380.40 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
(Minor) 3 to 9 dwellings £994.80 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 10 to 24 dwellings £1,542 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 25 to 50 dwellings £2,313.60 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 51 to 100 dwellings £3,320.40 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
100 plus dwellings Bespoke The pricing will be tailored to your needs.

Request residential pre-application advice

Non-residential developments pre-application advice

Non-residential developments pre-application advice fees
Service Cost (including VAT) What's included
(Minor) up to 499 square metres £747.60 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.
(Minor) 500 to 999 square metres £980.40 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 1000 to 1999 square metres £1,548 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 2000 to 9999 square metres £3,240 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.
(Major) 10000 plus square metres £3,577.20 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.
Complex developments Bespoke The pricing will be tailored to your needs.
Small businesses (9 employees or fewer) £276 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.

Request non-residential pre-application advice

Other types of development pre-application advice

Other types of development pre-application advice fees
Service Cost (including VAT) What's included
Agriculture £408 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Wind/solar
  • Under 1 hectare: £672
  • More than 1 hectare: £3,036
Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Discharge of conditions (only for major schemes) £276 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Student accommodation 50% of the base fee for similar sized residential developments Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Telecoms £360 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Listed building (for listed building consent only) £300 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice and feedback.
Change of use 75% of the base fee for similar sized residential developments  Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer.  Written advice and feedback.

Request other pre-application advice

Pre-application follow up

Pre-application follow-up advice is only available after a pre-application written response has been issued and agreement with the planning officer assigned to your case.

Pay for your pre-application follow up

Planning performance agreements

For large or complex applications, we offer a planning performance agreement (PPA) service.

A PPA is a service agreement between the applicant and the Planning Service which allows all parties to agree timescales and resources for handling planning applications. PPAs are usually agreed at the pre-application stage and relate to the whole development process, from pre-application planning advice and community engagement, to application progress meetings right through to the post decision stage, including the discharge of conditions and site monitoring. PPAs can be used for any type of application but are most effective for major and complex planning applications. 

As with any pre-application advice, a PPA does not guarantee planning consent will be achieved, but it can make the process smoother and more efficient, with a more predictable timeframe for a decision being reached.

Benefits of a planning performance agreement 

The key benefits of a PPA are as follows:

  • Identification of key issues and relevant consultees at an early stage
  • Setting more realistic and predictable timetables, with a structure of deadlines and action points
  • Improved collaborative working between the key stakeholders
  • Better overall management of advice at pre-application and post application stages
  • Greater accountability, transparency and communication
  • Better project management with dedicated resources
  • Removal of statutory timescales for the determination of applications
  • Greater commitment from relevant consultees to respond in a timely manner, particularly internal consultees
  • Better commitment to community engagement and consultation, enabling communities to influence planning decisions
  • Ability to recover costs, thereby reducing the financial burden on council resources

Contact us if you would like to discuss setting up a planning performance agreement.