Applying for Pre-application advice is an opportunity for you to get a Council Officer’s opinion and advice on your potential scheme or development.  The advice you receive is not restricted to planning issues.  We can provide specific advice on topics including ecology, drainage and flood risk, trees and arboriculture, and highways and roads. 

If you want to check whether your scheme would benefit from pre-application advice please call us on 01225 394041, option 5, or read on.
What are the benefits of good pre-application advice?

• Gives you an Officer’s opinion on whether or not your scheme is likely to receive permission
• Allows for early conversations with Officers so you know what the issues are and what to do to mitigate them
• Provides you with the information you need to submit a good quality application
• Provides you with information about planning and other considerations, including financial contributions or community consultations
• Should help to speed up any subsequent formal application
• Can save you money in the long run

Who can apply?

Anyone can apply for pre-application advice on any type of development scheme.
However, some schemes and particularly major schemes (>10 dwellings / 1,000m2 floor space) should be considered for pre-application advice using the Development Team process
We offer the Development Team Process as an extension to the pre-application service, which is specifically designed for major and/or complex schemes. This approach offers the benefit of allowing you to present your proposal to Officers and the response will be the result of a round table discussion of the relevant Officers within the Council.  If your proposal represents Major Development (>10 houses/1,000m2), then Officers will advise you as to whether your proposal is suitable for Pre-application Service Level 4 or if it would be more appropriate for it to be considered by the Development Team.  For further advice on this, please ring us on 01225 394041 option 5.
Certain types of development do not require planning permission.  You may want to check whether you actually need planning permission or whether you benefit from permitted development rights.

How much does it cost?

View Major scheme Development Team charges.
Costs for Pre-application advice are graded according to the scale or complexity of the proposals. You can use the table below to figure out which of the four Pre-application advice Services is most appropriate for your proposals.

  Charge (Including VAT) Timescale
Pre app Service 1   £102.00 20 working days
Extensions lofts & conservatories to your house    
Domestic erection of garages & outbuildings    
Small scale alterations or changes to commercial premises eg awnings, solar panels, windows    
Pre App Service 2  £210.00 20 working days
Erection of 1 to 4 dwellings including Changes of Use to flats    
Changes of Use up to 500 m2    
Erection or extensions of commercial or community building or facilities up to 500 sqm    
Erection or works to agricultural buildings or land, including barn conversions    
Erection / creation of sports and recreation facilities eg stables, bike tracks    
Telecoms & small scale freestanding renewable energy proposals under 1 hectare    
Listed buildings - general alterations, stone cleaning, like for like window replacement etc (where planning consideration applies, add the appropriate planning service fee)    
Ongoing (annual) utilities or corporate projects on multiple sites initial charge (plus each site advised during the year will be charged at appropriate service level per site)    
Pre app service 3  £474.00 25 working days
5-9 residential units including Changes of Use to flats     
Changes of Use from 501-999 m2    
Erection or extensions of commercial or community building or facilities 501-999 m2    
Pre app Service 4  £2,400.00 25 working days
Erection of 10 plus dwellings    
Large mixed use development    
Large agricultural development    
Large scale works hospital, schools, community buildings, universities    
Commercial (re)development eg retail, office, hotel, care homes (over 1000 m2)    
Listed buildings - extensive works and alterations involving fundamental change to structure, form or fabric (where planning consideration applies, add the appropriate planning service fee)    
Renewable energy proposals over 1 hectare    

What is included in the price?

• Allocated specialist officer to manage your pre-app
• A site visit
• Consultations with B&NES departments relevant to your proposal (for example the Council’s Ecology, Drainage and Flood Risk or Highway Development teams)
• An Officer report with a considered view on your proposal
• Post response discussion or meeting as appropriate at the discretion of the Officer


Payment in advance, preferably by credit card or debit card over the telephone, or you can post a cheque with your supporting documents to Planning Services, Lewis House, Manvers Street, Bath BA1 1JG.

If a development contains more than one element, we will charge the highest fee. Where both Listed Buildings and Planning considerations apply, you will be charged both appropriate fees.

What is not included?

Unfortunately we will not be able to provide consulted responses from external partners such as Historic England, the Environment Agency or Wessex Water.  They offer their own separate, chargeable pre-application advice services.  However, we will recommend you contact them directly if we think it would be appropriate and / or beneficial to your development.
Pre application advice is not published on our website, however it will be released if requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

How do I apply for Pre-application advice?

If you want to apply for Pre-application advice you will need to provide some details about your proposals.

Some supporting documentation will be needed by us to respond to your request.

Try to be clear on your request – we need to know what you are asking of us and what type of development you are proposing.  Some questions you might want to consider:

* Do you want a general discussion with a Planning or specialist officer such as a Drainage Engineer, Arboriculture or Conservation Officer on the principle of development?
* Or, do you want to know if a specific scheme or plan will be likely to be supported, and if not what could be done to improve the chances of us being able to grant approval?
The more information you can give us, the more specific our advice can be.  Here is a list of the things we will need in order to give you advice:
1. A description of the proposal; give as much detail as possible on what the site is being used for now and what it would be used for in future
2. Full site address
3. Your contact details
4. A sketch plan showing the extent of the site
5. Existing and proposed sketches or plans (which do not have to be professionally drawn)
6. Photographs
7. Any other relevant information about the site such as planning history or ownership

You do not need to complete an application form, but if you would prefer, a downloadable version is attached on the right.
All Documents to be emailed to

Or posted to Planning Services, Lewis House, Manvers street, Bath BA1 1JG.

To talk to us about Pre-application advice or to apply please phone 01225 394041 option 5.

Last updated: 16 August 2017

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