Pre-application advice

Printer-friendly page

We can give you advice on whether your works would be acceptable when you apply for planning permission. We can give you advice on one proposal only per appointment.

For Householder proposals, see Householder pre-application advice for alterations and extensions to residential properties.

For all non-householder proposals, see below.

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.

We offer pre-application advice via a pre-arranged paid 60 minute meeting with a planning officer for non-householder applications. Listed building advice is charged separately. Advice is given on one proposal per appointment and only information attached with your submission will be discussed within the pre application meeting.

How much does it cost?

The fee is based on the type of development, see the table below.

When will the meeting take place?

Meetings are held approximately three weeks from receipt of a valid request at the Council offices on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 09:30 and 16:30. You can specify a preferred day, morning or afternoon within the request form, but not a specific time. The time of the meeting will be in your confirmation email.

What information do I need to provide?

The more information received with your submission, the more informative the response will be.  If your plans are inaccurate, our advice may not stand when you come to apply for planning permission so ensure, your documents support your proposal, you have the mandatory site plan ready and all plans are to scale.

We require:

  • The completed application form (see below)
  • An electronic copy of an OS-style site location plan at a scale of 1:1250, clearly showing surrounding roads and properties, with the boundaries of the application site outlined in red. This plan is mandatory for all pre-application advice.   If you do not have a Site Location Plan at 1:1250, maps can be purchased from the Planning Portal via the button below.

An example of a site location plan is shown below: 

How do I apply/book a meeting?

  • pay the fee by BACS, payment details below
  • email a completed copy of the pre-application form to planningpreapp@stalbans.gov.uk , attaching the mandatory site plan, supporting documents and confirmation of payment.

BACS: Sort Code: 40-40-01     Account Number: 7140 2609    Account Name: St Albans City & District Council   Please quote site address as reference 

What happens next?

Once you have provided the information listed above and paid for the pre-application service, you receive an automated acknowledgement email. Within 3 working days you receive your confirmation email containing the date and time of your pre-application meeting.

We aim to send you written advice within three weeks of your meeting (unless otherwise agreed with your planning officer). The advice may remain relevant for up to 1 year, subject to legislative or policy changes.

You may wish to consult other bodies about your proposal such as Hertfordshire County Council’s Highways, or the Environment Agency some of which may have their own pre-application charges (see below) Please also note important information below concerning privacy and requests under the Environmental Information Regulations.

The advice given is officer advice, provided in good faith at this point in time, given the nature of the legislation existing today and based on the facts provided by you in writing in your request and at the pre-application meeting. It is therefore given without prejudice, is not binding in any way on the Council and does not form a judgement of whether any subsequent application will be approved or refused.  


St Albans City & District Council Pre-application Charges Effective from 1 January 2016


DESCRIPTIONFEE

NUMBER OF MEETINGS
INCLUDED IN COST

SERVICE STANDARD

BAND A 
Significant Major Projects


50 dwellings or more,  development on land more than 5 hectares, 10,000 square metres or more for retail, industry, warehousing.

Any development that requires an Environmental Impact Assessment.

The Council encourages potential developers to engage in a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) for these proposals.  
Bespoke agreements can be agreed with the Council in
advance of the submission of the pre-application proposal or at the first meeting setting our heads of terms.                         

£3000 + VAT =£36001 meeting lasting up to 1 hour

Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND B
Major Proposals

BAND B1 
between 10-14 dwellings

£1500 + VAT =£1800
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)

1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND B2 
between 15-24 dwellings

£2000 + VAT = £2400
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND B3 
between 25-49 dwellings

£2500 + VAT = £3000  
(includes 1 meeting and advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND B4 
Change of use between 1000-4999 square metres of buildings and land; 
or non-residential development such as retail, leisure, industry, warehousing, 
agriculture 

£1500 + VAT = £1800  
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND B5 
between 1 hectare and 4.99 hectares for non-residential 
development such as retail, leisure, industry, warehousing, agriculture

£2500 + VAT = £3000  
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND C
Minor Proposals

BAND C1 
Minor Proposals for 1-4 dwellings 
(including replacement dwellings)

£750 + VAT = £900   
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND C2 
Minor Proposals 5-9 dwellings

£1000 + VAT = £1200   
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND C3 
Change of use between 1-999 square metres of buildings and land;  
or non-residential development such as retail, leisure, industry, 
warehousing, agriculture, education, care home, sui generis use* 

£1000 + VAT = £1200
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 1 hour


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

BAND C4 
Advertisements

£100 + VAT = £120  
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to 30 minutes


Within 3 weeks after meeting to  
send notes of meetings

BAND D
Householder extensions  
and alterations

BAND D 
Householder extensions and alterations (including any Listed Building and/or archaeology advice)

To apply, see Householder Pre-application advice.



£200 + VAT = £240   
(includes 1 meeting and advice letter)

1 meeting lasting up to 30 minutes  

Send advice within 3 weeks of meeting.   

BAND E

Listed Buildings and Archaeology




BAND E2 
Listed building and/or archaeology advice for non-householder proposals 

£750 + VAT = £900    
(includes 1 meeting and 
advice letter)
1 meeting lasting up to an hour    


Within 3 weeks after meeting to send notes of meetings

Or within 3 weeks to send final response after last agreed meeting

* This gives an indication of the types of changes of use.

These charges are reviewed on a regular basis. 

Advice from Hertfordshire Highways

The county council as highway authority is a statutory consultee for all planning applications with transport impact, as well as authorising authority for any resulting highway works required as part of a development. They welcome and encourage discussions on the transport impacts of new development proposals before a developer submits a planning application. For further information, see https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/services/highways-roads-and-pavements/business-and-developer-information/development-management/highways-development-management.aspx

Advice from Historic England

Historic England (HE) offer a separate pre-application service for applications where they would be a statutory consultee.  If the proposed planning application affects designated heritage assets, listed building consent, faculty consent and scheduled monument consent and Historic England would be consulted, it is worthwhile using this service to check the likely response. For further information and advice from Historic England, please click here

Advice from the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency offer a separate pre-application service.  If the proposed development site is a hectare or more, in flood zones 2 or 3, close to a watercourse or on potentially contaminated land it is worthwhile using this service to check the likely EA response at planning stage. 

For further information and advice from the Environment Agency, please click here.

Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations

If the Local Planning Authority receives a request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), to disclose information relating to pre-application enquiries they are obliged to do so unless the information is deemed exempt under the Act or Regulations. We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of the exemptions (FOI) or exceptions (EIR) set out in legislation.  If you consider that your request is covered by an exemption/exception, for example, it is confidential or commercially sensitive; you should first seek your own legal advice and inform the Council as to the advice received at the time of submitting the pre-application planning advice application where an exemption/exception such as confidentiality or commercial sensitivity is an issue. However, whilst we will take account of this information, the final decision on whether the information should be withheld rests with the Council, and ultimately the Information Commissioner/General Regulatory Tribunal.

Design Advice and Community Engagement


Scheme TypeSuggested Community Engagement by ApplicantDesign Review (Design Review Panel paid for by applicants in addition to the above charges)
Large Scale Major Planning Applications or Sensitive Heritage SitesCharrette or similar Community Engagement Exercise - for example Look St AlbansYes - Design South East or Design Council
Small Scale Major Planning ApplicationsCharrette or similar Community Engagement Exercise - for example Look St AlbansYes - Building Futures
Minor Planning ApplicationsNeighbour ConsultationDepends on sensitivity of site - Building Futures

Building Futures - Sustainability measures and design

building futures

Building Futures is a web-based guide designed to provide practical, user-friendly and up-to-date guidance for applicants on how to include measures to improve sustainability within their designs. It focuses on making development in Hertfordshire more sustainable and of a higher quality in design terms.

Planning Aid

Planning Aid provides free, independent and professional planning advice and support to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay planning consultant fees. It complements the work of local planning authorities, but is wholly independent of them.

Contact details:
The Planning Advisor;
PO Box 1225, Kenninghall, Norwich, NR16 2WR;
Tel: 0870 850 9801 
E-mail:eecw@planningaid.rtpi.org.uk

Planning Aid provides free initial advice to all callers but more detailed help will only be provided to individuals and groups that meet their eligibility criteria.

Date of last review: 31 May 2019