Pros and Cons of Pre-Application Planning Advice

Pre-application advice is an optional service offered before full planning permission that allows you to understand how the development policies will apply, gain advice from a planning officer, identify any potential problems and rectify them before a full planning permission application is submitted.

They usually take the form of a site meeting with a conservation/planning officer and constitute a non-binding view. You will then receive a letter or email pinpointing the policies and issues that are affected.

Here are the pros and cons of the pre-app process:


- Saves considerable amounts of time and money.

- Instant feedback and advice from site meetings.

- Improves customer satisfaction and care.

- Early identification and specialist advice about listed buildings, neighbours, trees, highways, flood risks.

- Guides development and suggests alternatives that solve any problems before the final designs are submitted in the planning permission application.

- Increases the chance of ultimate success, as planners highly regard the pre-app process.

- It allows you to meet the conservation officer and encourages a mutual understanding of the plans before they form their view and advice.

- Allows for the conservation officer to advise you on any other documents that may need to be submitted alongside the formal application

- They help gauge how the local authority will react to the proposal, as they can change their minds in the time between the meeting to the confirmation letter/email.

- It enables you to get to know the planning department and show your willingness to produce and complete a scheme, which can result in them being more supportive of your proposals.



- Delays the full planning permission application and potentially the work start date.

- There is a fee for pre-applications services.

- Individual councils determine their own pre-app processes, which could be a positive or a negative depending on the differences.

- If you are committed to a design but the pre-app consultation officer wants to make changes, this could prove a hindrance.

- You may have a different planning officer for the formal application, who may not have the same views as the other.

- There is no guarantee that discussions will lead to planning applications getting the go-ahead.

- Other specialists may be required for advice on certain matters.

To conclude, the support and advice from the planning officer in the pre-app meeting will ensure the key components on the proposed design have been fully considered and will be presented in the best light. It’s a way of testing the waters before committing to the full planning application.

Our team of expert architects and architectural technicians often prepare and coordinate pre-application enquiries for our clients, and we would be delighted to discuss your project.  

Contact James Clague Architects to find out how we can help.

T: 01227 860 460


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