Pre-application planning advice

Please note we are unable to provide any planning advice for properties within the New Forest National Park Authority boundary and you will need to contact them directly.

On this page:

Applying for pre-application advice

We are able to offer advice on your application before you submit it. This can help to identify issues with your application  or the proposed development or when you might need to get specialist advice. It can help us to make a decision once you submit an application. 

We can offer advice on seven different categories:

How to apply for pre-application advice

To request pre-application advice you will need to complete the form below, submit the required information and pay the appropriate fee. 

When you apply you will be required to submit:

  • your contact details
  • site address and location 
  • description of proposed development 
  • current use 
  • a plan showing the proposal in relation to the site's boundaries and adjoining properties drawn to scale
  • a sketch of the proposal with measurements or to scale
  • an indicative site layout plan 
  • the relevant fee. 

We may ask for further information if it's needed. You can also include any other details you may feel will assist with the request.  

We offer we will provide written advice only, other than for strategic sites. You will not receive a written response if you book an appointment with the duty planner. 

Please note details of all enquiries, other than strategic sites, will be viewable on our planning application pages and responses to householder pre-applications will be published on our website at date of response.

Book a duty planner appointment

We offer 15-minutes free general advice and guidance with a duty planning officer by phone appointment to support you if you are thinking about extending your home or carrying out minor works to your business's premises. Appointments will be available every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and you will receive your phone call within 10 minutes either side of the booked time.

When booking please provide a direct contact number for us to call you back on.

The duty planning officer can assist you with simple questions about the following types of enquiry:

Together with advice on pre-application and planning application fees.

If your enquiry does not relate to an area covered by the duty officer service you will be advised during the call to follow the pre-application advice process instead.

You can find out more about our duty planner service.

Householder applications

For householder applications (extensions and alterations to residential properties) we offer householder pre-application written advice from a planning officer.  

What to expect: 

  • a formal written response in the form of a letter
  • a 20 working day timescale for a response, unless an extension of time is agreed 
  • input from a planning officer 
  • an analysis of a proposal and officer opinion as to issues or merits of a particular proposal 
  • once a formal response is received the pre application will be closed with any further discussion attracting a further fee.    

What not to expect: 

  • a site visit or meeting 
  • input from consultees 
  • a guaranteed outcome on a planning application.

Business

Businesses seeking to develop their premises may require planning permission. Permission may be required when building new premises, changing the use of existing premises, or extending existing buildings. Certain types of minor changes are permitted without the need to apply for planning permission. You can go to the business section of the planning portal website for guidance on what will or will not require planning permission. 

The display of advertisements at business or commercial premises is subject to a separate consent process within the planning system. If you wish to display an advertisement or signage at your premises or within its vicinity you may need to obtain advertisement consent. 

More guidance on adverts and signage can be found on GOV.UK.

What to expect: 

  • a formal written response in the form of a letter or email 
  • a 20 working day timescale for a response, unless an extension of time is agreed 
  • input from a planning officer or senior planning officer 
  • an analysis of a proposal and officer opinion as to issues or merits of a particular proposal 
  • once a formal response is received the pre application will be closed with any further discussion attracting a further fee.    

What not to expect: 

  • a site visit or meeting 
  • input from all consultees 
  • a guaranteed outcome on a planning application.

Residential development

Residential development is categorised in three different types, minor, medium and major. 

Minor development  

Residential new build or conversion schemes for 1 to 9 units (with or without additional floorspace).

Physical or design amendment to previously approved schemes of any size. 

Medium development  

Residential new build or conversion schemes for 10 to 19 units (with or without additional floorspace).  

Major Development  

Residential new build or conversion schemes for 20 or more units  

What to expect: 

  • a formal written response in the form of a letter 
  • a 25 working day timescale for a response (for minor and medium development  
  • a 30 working days timescale for a response for major), unless an extension of time is agreed 
  • input from a Planning or Senior Planning Officer 
  • a full analysis of a proposal and officer opinion as to issues or merits of a particular proposal 
  • once a formal response is received the pre application will be closed with any further discussion attracting a further fee.    

What not to expect: 

  • a site visit or meeting - the case officer will determine if this is needed
  • input from all consultees
  • a guaranteed outcome on a planning application. 

Should you decide that you would like a more detailed pre-application the council are happy to enter into a PPA.

Listed buildings

This service provides advice on small scale repairs or whether proposed works to listed properties will require listed building consent. It is intended for private owners of listed buildings or planning agents acting on their behalf.

What to expect: 

  • access to ours conservation and design team 
  • a 20 working day timescale for a response 
  • advice as to how best to take your scheme forward or areas to avoid. 

What not to expect: 

  • advice on other planning matters 
  • guaranteed site visit 
  • a guaranteed outcome on a listed building application.

Trees 

This service is for those seeking advice on the management of protected trees before submitting a tree work application. Trees are protected if they are growing within a conservation area or covered by a tree preservation order.  

To find out whether a tree is protected with a TPO, you can either use our map or use the form below. 

What to expect: 

  • access to our tree team
  • a 20 working day timescale for a response 
  • advice as to how best manage protected trees. 

What not to expect: 

  • advice on trees located outside a conservation area or those not the subject of a tree preservation order 
  • advice on the legislation relating to countryside hedgerows and high hedgerows 
  • a guaranteed outcome on a tree works application.

Strategic sites

We offer tailor made planning performance agreements (PPA) which are strongly encouraged for all strategic site proposals. PPA's allow the a two way dialogue between the planning authority and the applicant to agree the range of issues and advice required, considers the most appropriate range of pre application public consultation and agree the timescales for the pre application. You can enter into a PPA that covers from the initial pre-application enquiry through to the determination or through to the discharge of conditions. Further advice on PPA's is available, but the first stage would be to request an inception meeting with a planning officer. The charges for a PPA will be agreed at the inception meeting or shortly afterwards. 

What to expect: 

  • 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 
  • arrange joint meetings with consultees (who will have their own charging schedules) 
  • jointly agree community engagement strategy.    

What not to expect: 

  • advice on other planning matters 
  • a guaranteed outcome on an listed building application 
  • waiver of fees of other outside organisations such as the Highway Authority.

Timescales for advice

We will contact you to let you know you if pre-application can be progressed or if further information is required. This letter will also advise of the timescales for responding to you. 

The advice will include comment on the major planning issues, constraints and requirements. 

Category 

Timescale 

Duty officer meeting 

Meeting to be booked online, ideally with at least 2 days notice 

householder enquiry 

20 working days  

Local business enquiry 

20 working days  

Residential development 

25-30 working days 

Listed buildings 

20 working days 

Trees 

20 working days 

Strategic development sites 

Agreed programme 

Costs

For householder, business and residential development enquiries:

  • Stage 1. Fee will be 25% (plus VAT) of the planning fee for the proposed development and particular type of application.
  • Stage 2. Following the written advice, if further advice is required relating to the same site then further pre-application advice will be given at 15% (plus VAT) of the planning fee for that particular type of application.
  • Stage 3. For any further advice relating to the same site after both the first and second stage advice has been given then additional advice can be given at 10% (plus VAT) of the planning fee.

As a guide, for Stage 1 advice, a householder enquiry would pay £51.50 + VAT totalling £61.80.  For an enquiry relating to one new dwelling house the fee would be £115.50 + VAT totalling £138.60

Listed building and tree enquiries: £60 (inclusive of VAT) 

Strategic developments sites: Fee and programme to be negotiated, however the minimum cost will be 25% (plus VAT) of the planning application fee). A fee of 25% (plus VAT) of the planning application fee will be charged if no PPA is entered into.   

Fees for planning applications can be calculated using the Planning Portal's online calculator

The following categories will be exempt from pre-application advice charges:  

  • Listed building applications where there is no associated planning application  
  • Proposals made by, or on behalf of town or parish councils, local authorities or county council  
  • Conservation Area demolition  
  • Alterations to dwelling houses or buildings to which members of the public are admitted for the purpose of providing means of access or improved facilities for disabled persons  
  • Affordable housing exception schemes in Rural areas by Registered Providers

Any advice is non-binding

Any comments given represent the informal views of our planning officer and are non-binding on the elected Council Members of the Authority or the Executive Head Planning, Regeneration and the Economy.  

The views will be based on the information provided and the research undertaken.  

If a planning application is submitted we must take into account any views expressed by statutory and non-statutory consultees and other interested third parties.  

The eventual recommendation and decision may therefore change when more detailed consideration is given at application stage. The decision notice and the case officer's report will set out in detail the reasons for the decision.   

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