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 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 5 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.
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. Use the table below to work out which of the five Pre-application advice Service Levels is most appropriate for your proposals.  A single pre-application advice enquiry can include works that could reasonably form part of a single planning application. Where your enquiry relates to different options that could not be carried out together (e.g. several options for a rear extension), these will be treated as separate proposals and will be charged as separate pre-application enquiries. If a development contains more than one element, we will charge the highest fee.

  Charge (Including VAT) Timescale
Pre app Service 1  (meeting additional £50) £122.40 (£182.40 including meeting) 20 working days
Extensions, lofts & conservatories to your house  
Domestic garages & outbuildings  
Small scale alterations or changes to commercial premises eg awnings, solar panels, windows  

Works to trees

HMO eligibility test check


Pre App Service 2  £336.00 20 working days
Erection of 1 dwelling   
Change of Use to 1 dwelling or HMO (with HMO considerations beyond eligibility test check)  
Business Changes of Use up to 250 sq m  
Erection or works to agricultural buildings or land, including barn conversions  
Erection / creation of ancillary or domestic small-scale sports and recreation facilities eg stables, bike tracks, sheds, fences (not including floodlights)  
Telecoms & small scale freestanding renewable energy proposals under 1 hectare  
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)  
Listed buildings - 1 premises - minor extension, simple changes of use,  alterations including simple changes to plan form, stone cleaning, boilers & flues etc   
Listed Buildings - basic advice on minor changes associated with sale / purchase of property   
Advice on discharging conditions  
Pre-app Service 3 £684.00 25 working days
Erection of 2 - 4 dwellings  
Change of use to 2 - 4 dwellings or HMOs  
Business Changes of Use 251 sq m to 500 sq m  
Erection or extensions of commercial or community building or facilities up to 500 sq m  
Parish Council Neighbourhood Plan Review  
Listed buildings - 2 - 4 premises / units general alterations   
Listed buildings - 1 premises - extension and / or multiple alterations  
Pre app service 4 £1,200.00 25 working days
Erection of 5 - 9 dwellings  
Changes of Use to 5 - 9 dwellings or HMOs  
Business Changes of Use from 501 - 999 sq m  
Erection or extensions of commercial or community building or facilities 501-999 sq m  
Listed buildings - 5 -10 premises / units general alterations   
Listed buildings - 1 premises major extensions and / or multiple alterations  
Pre app Service 5 £2,880.00 25 working days
Erection of 10 - 20 dwellings  
Changes of Use to 10 - 20 dwellings or HMOs  
Business Changes of Use from 1000 sq m to 2500 sq m  
Large development between 1000 sq m to 2499 sq m  
Renewable energy proposals over 1 hectare  
New sports facilities eg new floodlights, pitches, stands, parking  
Student accommodation and extra care facilities up to 100 beds  
Listed buildings - extensive and major works for extensions and alterations involving fundamental change to structure, form or fabric, including major historic sites  

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 Service level 2 - 5, or meeting Service 1 if additional fee paid


Payment is required in advance.  You can pay online once you have received a B&NES planning reference number (please wait until 1 working day after you have received the email requesting payment) or contact us for information on other payment methods.

What is not included?

Service level 1 does not include a post response discussion or meeting.  This can be arranged for an additional fee of £50 plus VAT.  A meeting cannot be requested after the decision is issued.

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.

Last updated: 3 June 2019

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