Pre-application advice

The pre-application advice service is due to change in January 2024

This will also mean that the fees and charges for this service will increase. These changes will be published in due course.

Our pre-application advice service

If you are planning to change your property or build something new, we can give you advice.

A planning officer will review your proposed development and provide advice about:

  • whether you need planning permission
  • the likelihood of your planning application being approved
  • any issues that you need to consider before you submit your planning application
  • the information, forms and documents you need to submit with your planning application to make sure it is valid

The advice we give you will depend on your plans. So that we can give you the correct advice, you will need to tell us more about you want to do.

You can also ask us for advice if you have had planning permission refused. Our advice will let you know if there are changes you can make to a proposal which may overcome the reasons for refusal.

Our pre-application advice guidance notes will provide you with more information on the process, the different categories and types of advice and the relevant costs.

Types of advice

You can apply online for either written advice or a meeting with a planning officer and written advice.

We can only provide advice if you have submitted a valid application and paid the relevant fee. We will check your application when we receive it. If we need more information we will contact you by email. Your application will remain unallocated until we receive additional information.

If you apply for written advice, a planning officer will respond within twenty eight working days of receiving your application.

If you ask for a meeting with a planning officer to discuss your proposal, we will make an appointment within twenty eight days of receiving your application. Within 7 days of your meeting, the planning officer will confirm their advice to you in writing.

Each request for pre-application advice is for a single proposal. Our officer will not provide advice on other proposals unless you have made an additional valid application.

Requesting Pre-Application Advice

When you submit a request for pre-application advice, you will need to:

  • tell us the full site address
  • provide a detailed description of the proposal
  • upload a scaled location plan
  • provide any supporting information including plans, photographs and drawings
  • pay the relevant fee

Once you have submitted your online request, you will receive two emails; one advising of our next steps and one confirming the receipt of payment.

Categories of pre-application advice

We offer a range of pre-application advice. The fee for pre-application advice depends on the size of the proposed development and if heritage advice is needed. The main categories of advice are:

Major development

residential or commercial development of ten or more dwellings or over 1,000 square metres of floor space

Apply for major development advice

Minor development

residential or commercial development for up to 9 dwellings or up to 999 square metres of floor space

Apply for minor development advice

Householder development

extension or alteration of an existing dwelling and erection of outbuildings

Apply for householder development advice 

Listed building consent

works to a listed building

Apply for listed building advice


The advice we provide:

  • is an informal opinion only
  • does not affect any decision we take if we receive a planning application
  • is not a formal response or decision by us to any future planning application, which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity

Although the planning officer may indicate the likely outcome of a planning application, we do not give any guarantees about the final decision.

Freedom of Information Act 2000

We do not publish the details of your request for pre-application advice.

We keep your request for pre-application advice confidential until you make a relevant planning application.

However, we retain the right to decide what we disclose if we receive a Freedom of Information request, about your pre-application advice.

In making this decision we will consider:

  • your interests in keeping the information and the process confidential
  • our interests in keeping the information and the process confidential
  • the public interest in planning decisions and transparency
  • We will disclose details of your request for pre-application advice if we receive a Freedom of Information request after you have made a planning application.

Essex County Council

Essex County Council now offers their own pre-application service for a range of areas including highways, education and sustainable drainage. You can find details of their service on their website.


Development Management

Address: Causeway House
Bocking End

Telephone: 01376 557779