Householder pre-application advice

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For householder applications (extensions and alterations to residential properties, including related Listed Building and Archaeology advice) we offer householder pre-application advice, which consists of a 30 minute meeting at the Civic Centre with a Planning Officer and a written report.

We can give you advice on whether your works would be acceptable when you apply for planning permission.

Applications for pre-application advice can be made online (see below).

How much does it cost?

£240 including VAT for a 30 minute meeting with a planning officer and written advice.

What information do I need to provide?

We will need accurate site address details, together with a Site Location Plan (see sample below), your email and residential address details and invoicing address details if different. You will be asked to give a brief description of your proposals.

You will also be asked to upload metric scaled drawings of existing and proposed plans, together with any other supporting material. A planning agent can draw these for you and submit your application (see below). Or, here are some examples:

We can accept hand-drawn scaled plans but please note that if your plans are inaccurate, our advice may not stand when you come to apply for planning permission.

You will need to have these drawings ready before you use the booking form.

How do I apply/book a meeting?

You will need to apply online using the booking form (see below). 

Meetings are available Mondays to Thursdays (9.30am to 4.30pm) and must be booked in advance. Normally meetings will take place within 3 weeks from us receiving all the necessary information. All meetings will be held at the Council Offices.

When applying, you will be directed to an online appointment booking system, which will open in a new window.  When you have chosen an available time slot, you will receive an email confirmation with an ID reference. You will need to close the appointment system window to return the pre-application booking form.  Enter the ID reference before continuing.

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What happens next?

Once you have submitted your request for pre-application advice, you will receive an automated acknowledgement and confirmation of meeting booking. We will send you an invoice, with details of how to pay. Payment must be made before any advice is given or a meeting takes place.

You will receive an advice letter within 3 weeks of the meeting. The advice letter will tell you if we think your future planning application will be acceptable. The advice will not cover the need for planning permission.

Your next steps will be to review the advice and think about making a planning application.

All advice is provided on a without prejudice basis only and is not binding on any future decision of the Council.

I just want to know if I need planning permission for my project

Planning Permission and Building Regulations Consent is often required before most building works are carried out or changes made in the use of land or premises.

We can tell you if you require planning permission for a project when you apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. See Do I need Planning Permission?  

I am a local householder. What do I do if I want pre-application planning advice?

If you need planning information on extensions and alterations to a residential property you can do this by:

Why does the Council charge for pre-application planning advice?

St Albans City and District Council has one of the busiest District planning department in the country.

Planning application fees do not cover the cost of pre-application advice. The provision of quality pre-application advice is time consuming and costly. The charge we make covers the cost of providing the service based on estimated officer time and hourly costs. The Council is keen to ensure the costs incurred are recovered directly, rather than falling as a general burden on council tax payers.

What are the benefits of getting pre-application Council advice?

If the pre-application advice is followed:

  • avoidance of unexpected delays and problems. We cannot offer guarantees but it is more likely to result in a positive and timely outcome to a planning application;
  • a greater degree of certainty over the general acceptability of proposals;
  • clarification on how national, regional and local policies will be applied;
  • early identification of areas that will need specialist advice;
  • early input where the work does not meet planning policy;
  • a potential reduction in time professional advisers spend in working up proposals; and
  • clarification on what application form to use and what drawings and information to submit for your planning application to be considered ‘valid’ and registered quickly.

Can I be assured that my planning application will be dealt with quickly?

The speed at which we are able to process planning applications is affected by a number of aspects that are outside our direct control.  These are: 

  • The rise in demand for our planning services; 
  • The general scarcity of trained planning officers, something that all planning departments are experiencing.

We aim to process 75% of all planning applications within 8 weeks. 

Date of last review: 25 May 2017