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Pre-application advice

Jump to: Planning advice for householders and small businesses – Pre-application meeting or written advicePlanning performance agreements

Planning advice for householders and small businesses

For householder and small business queries, we offer 15 minutes of free advice and guidance with a planning officer via our Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service.

This should be used for advice in the very early stages of your planning application (typically prior to having had plans drawn up), or where you have a question around a particular aspect of planning, including queries related to permitted development.

Appointments for the service are limited and typically fill up quickly. Please check our general guidance on household planning to find answers to many common questions that might result in you not needing to make an appointment. In addition, the Planning Portal’s common projects webpage has information on more than 50 typical homeowner building projects.

Please do not use the appointment to discuss multiple queries at the same or different locations – in order to keep to 15 minutes, we will only deal with the query entered into the appointment booking form.

The service can advise on:

  • Simple extensions – typically these would be for a single storey or no bigger than 40m2. For larger, more complex or multiple extensions at the same property, use our pre-application service (see below)
  • Construction of new garages or outbuildings, or conversions of existing garages or outbuildings
  • Construction of:
    • Conservatories or porches
    • Private swimming pools
    • Dormer windows
    • Roof alterations
    • Solar panels and other renewable energy measures such as air source heat pumps
    • Cycle shelters
  • Queries about garden or boundary walls and fences
  • Conditions that have been attached to a householder planning permission
  • Advice on old planning applications or permitted development (including properties in conservation areas)
  • For small businesses, you can use the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service for business development queries, including a change of use or extension for business premises up to 100m2. For larger businesses, use our pre-application service (see below)

For any alterations or extensions to a council-owned property, including garden or boundary walls or fences, you will first need permission from our Housing officers before contacting the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service.

After your call, if you feel you still need further advice, then please make a further appointment – the planning officer may be a different individual but will have access to any notes that were made during the first call. However, if we think that you are looking for a level of detail that is best dealt with by our pre-application service we will direct you to that service instead.

You should not use the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service for the following:

We cannot:

  • provide an opinion on whether planning permission would or would not be granted
  • discuss the technical merits of applications, refusals or appeals
  • agree to any minor amendments to planning permissions
  • discuss enforcement enquiries
  • deal with the discharge of any planning conditions on a decision notice
  • take payment for any planning service
  • provide any written response or documentation

Any advice provided is informal and provided in good faith, based on the information and evidence made available at the time. Such advice is the individual opinion of the officer and is not a formal decision of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service.

Please phone the contact centre on 01223 457000 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 have submitted and paid for your request for pre-application advice, we will aim to acknowledge that we have received your application and tell you which case officer has been allocated to your case, within 10 workings days.

When your pre-application has been acknowledged, we will aim to provide a written response within 4 weeks for householder advice and 6 weeks for other types of advice.

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 £93 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) £186 Background research on your property and a written response only.
Householder (including a site visit) £285 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 £393 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Minor) 3 to 9 dwellings £1027 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 10 to 24 dwellings £1,592 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 25 to 50 dwellings £2,389 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 51 to 100 dwellings £3,428 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
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 £772 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Minor) 500 to 999 square metres £1,012 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 1000 to 1999 square metres £1,598 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 2000 to 9999 square metres £3,345 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
(Major) 10000 plus square metres £3,693 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
Complex developments Bespoke The pricing will be tailored to your needs.
Small businesses (9 employees or fewer) £285 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.

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 £421 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
Wind/solar
  • Under 1 hectare: £694
  • More than 1 hectare: £3,135
Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
Discharge of conditions (only for major schemes) £285 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
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 only.
Telecoms £372 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
Listed building (for listed building consent only) £310 Background research about your site and proposal. A site visit from a planning officer. Written advice only.
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 only.

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 in agreement with the planning officer assigned to your case. The follow-up advice includes a one hour meeting with the Planning Officer to clarify points raised within the written response or to discuss only very minor alterations to a scheme.

Pay for your pre-application follow up

Planning performance agreements

As part of its enhanced planning service, the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service offers the opportunity for applicants to enter into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA).

This sits alongside our existing pre-application advice service. A PPA is a project management tool which allows all parties to agree timescales, actions and resources for handling planning applications. To find out more please visit the Planning Performance Agreements webpage on the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service website.