Pre-application advice for developers
We provide a pre-application advice service. This service can help you by:
- giving you an idea of whether your application is likely to succeed
- identifying aspects of your proposal that might need to be changed before you submit your application
- advising you on documents and information you will need to submit with your application
The service does not cover:
- permitted development advice - we are unable to advise whether a proposal needs planning permission. If this is your question you will need to apply for a lawful development certificate (Planning Portal). Permitted development guidance is also available on the Planning Portal: Do you need permission?
- highways advice - separate pre-application advice is available, see Surrey County Council Highways Authority: Transport development pre-application advice
If you aren’t sure about what you need to do, please ask. Contact Customer Services on 01372 474474, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make a pre-application enquiry
To process your enquiry, we will need:
- completed online form
- correct fee
- location plan (to identify the site and relevant planning constraints), see Planning Portal: Buy a planning map - please ensure that the boundary of the application site is outlined in red
- relevant plans: to get the best value from your enquiry you will need to submit drawings of your proposal - we recognise that scale plans can be costly, we will accept drawings annotated with measurements
- supporting documents
Amendments are not accepted once your enquiry has been submitted.
We are unable to accept enquiries received by email or post.
For more information about the criteria we follow when considering planning applications see planning policy and guidance.
How we will respond
Once you have submitted your request with the correct information and the relevant fee, we will:
- record the pre-application enquiry on our database
- send you an email acknowledgement
- contact you for more information if something is missing
- allocate the case to a planning officer
- contact you to arrange a site visit
- identify if other specialists should be invited (where a meeting is included) and contact you with a suggested date and time
- respond to your enquiry in writing (following the site visit and/or meeting) - target response times are listed in the fees schedule
Our response will generally cover the following:
- the planning constraints of the site
- the degree to which a proposal is compliant with planning policy
- if amendments need to be made to the proposal
- whether further specialist information would be required at application stage, for example tree surveys or flood risk assessments
- if financial contributions would be necessary
The detail of our response will be proportionate to the detail you can provide us.
Meetings will be in person at the Civic Centre. We also offer virtual meetings using video conferencing where appropriate.
The online form will prompt you for your availability and once we have validated your request, we will contact you to confirm a meeting date and time. Where relevant and available, additional officers may be invited to the meeting. This may include officers from conservation, trees, environmental health, housing and leisure teams.
All fees include VAT and cannot be refunded if you decide advice is no longer required, even if we have not yet provided it.
Payment needs to be made online by credit or debit card when you submit the form. You can select an option for a third party to pay the fee. The enquiry will not be submitted to us until the payment has been made.
Fees for a combination of works
Where an application is for a combination of works, for example a commercial scheme that includes residential units, the higher of the two fees is applicable. Please select the correct scheme when applying.
If you select a lower value scheme, the application will be rejected, and the fee refunded. You will need to submit another application with the correct fee.
1 - 9 dwellings (replacement dwelling)
Minor applications: follow up
||50% of original fee|
|Major applications: 10-50 dwellings||
|Commercial development: Shopfronts or adverts||
|Commercial development: Up to 4,999 sqm||
|Listed buildings or conservation areas||
Tree advice regarding
applications for works
or felling to TPO trees or trees within a conservation area
|Tree advice relating to a development site||
|Planning performance agreements: 51+ dwellings, 5,000+sqm commercial
For strategic schemes or where appropriate.
|The fee will vary depending on the scale, complexity and resource required.
Contact email@example.com for an informal discussion.
Fee exemptions are available for:
- advice given to non-profit making organisations, charities, hospitals or statutory bodies – the exemption does not apply if a planning agent or architect or other paid consultant is involved
- disabled person – advice on proposals relating to works for the benefit of a disabled person
- Community Infrastructure Levy project
- Claygate Parish Council
We will identify the key planning issues of your proposal and an indication of any constraints related to the site. Advice beyond the site boundary will be provided where specific policy areas apply.
We aim to respond within the target period, however targets are subject to change during times of high application volumes and demand.
Advice given will be the informal opinion of a competent planning officer acting reasonably with the information supplied, based on the current law and policies.
Our advice cannot anticipate issues that result from public consultation which is part of considering a planning application.
Our advice cannot fully anticipate the formal consideration process of a planning application; neither will it be binding on the consideration of any resulting application.
Any advice given is made in good faith and represents the informal opinion of an officer and not necessarily that of the council. Advice will be as accurate as possible, based on current policies and the quality of information you submit. Any advice given doesn't constitute a formal decision and doesn't prejudice any future formal decisions made by the council of any formal planning application which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity.
Although every effort will be made to meet the target timescales, if we require a longer response period in individual circumstances, council officers will notify developers or householders accordingly.
We encourage community involvement in the planning process before an application is submitted. This might include discussions with neighbours, a local exhibition, public meeting, leaflets, or a well-publicised dedicated website, including a facility to make comments.
The case officer can identify community and other interested groups and/or councillors that are likely to have an interest in the proposal. Third party comments should be considered before formalising a proposal and any application, which has undertaken pre-application consultation with a community group, should set out the details of the consultation process and how the application has responded.
Planning Aid is a network of planning volunteers providing free and independent advice to community groups and individuals who can’t afford a consultant.
If you need any help or have any questions, please visit Planning Aid.
Freedom of Information
Pre-application submissions and our written responses to them are not normally published on our website or made available for public viewing. However, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) we may receive requests for information relating to pre-application requests and any advice given.
We are obliged to provide this information, however this does not include personal details, confidential or commercially sensitive information. If you feel your submission contains confidential or commercially sensitive information you must bring this to our attention at the start of the correspondence.
For information on how we use your data please read our privacy notice.