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Home > Planning > Planning Applications > Making Applications > Pre-application Advice

Pre-application Advice

Coronavirus (COVID-19) 

The delivery of the pre-application advice service continues, following the latest Government advice regarding coronavirus. 

With regard to Government social-distancing advice, we are seeking to avoid face-to-face meetings and restrict site visits where possible. Officers will suggest conference calls and other similar means of available technology where necessary. This can include the submissions of up-to-date video and/or photographs of the site/location with the enquiry to assist remote working. When a site visit is required, it will be carried out in accordance with the following Protocol: Site Visit Protocol.

While we’ll aim to process pre-application enquiries as quickly as possible, please be aware that the impact of the current situation on processes and staff resources might result in a measure of delay in its handling.



Why seek advice?

Whether you are a developer of a large scheme or a householder wishing to improve your home, it is advisable to seek advice before submitting your planning application. We can let you know whether your proposals are supported by planning policy and whether there are any issues that may prevent  planning permission being granted.

Basic, free of charge advice on the planning process is available by visiting the main Council Offices at Whitfield  or over the telephone. Useful guidance can also be found on the Planning Portal  If you would prefer a specific review of your proposals and detailed guidance on the application process, we recommend that you obtain formal pre-application advice. This is a charged-for service and is available for any scale of development. We are happy to provide advice at any time, whether it is just a discussion on some initial ideas or a review of more detailed plans.

Seeking our advice gives you an opportunity to understand how local and national policies will be applied to your development. We will identify at an early stage where there is a need for specialist input, for example about:

  • Heritage assets (including listed buildings and conservation areas)
  • trees
  • landscape
  • noise
  • transport
  • contaminated land
  • ecology
  • flood risk
  • archaeology

We will assist you in preparing proposals for formal submission which, providing you have taken our advice fully into account, will be handled more smoothly and  may lead to a reduction in time spent by your professional advisors in preparing proposals.  Amendments or alternative forms of development may be suggested if a proposal is unlikely to be acceptable.

You can use the service just once or you may find it beneficial to obtain advice throughout the evolution of your scheme.

Our charges

We have established a menu of charging to reflect the size and complexity of particular schemes. Hopefully your scheme will fit into these categories, but if not, do contact us for a quote.

 Written + Meeting
Householder   100  165
1-4 dwellings 250  350
1-4 dwellings follow-up advice*  150  250
5-9 dwellings  400  750
5-9 dwellings follow-up advice*  250  350
10-49 dwellings - 1,200
10-49 dwellings follow-up advice* 300 600
50+ dwellings - 2,300
50+ dwellings follow-up advice* 500 1,000
Commercial up to 250m² 100 165
Commercial up to 500m² 150 250
Follow-up advice* 85 150
Commercial up to 999m² - 600
Follow-up advice* 150 250
Commercial over 1000m² - 1200
Follow-up advice* 300 600
Listed Building Advice 185 285
Highways Kent Highways -
Surface Water/Suds KCC Coastal/River -
Flooding/Water quality Environment Agency - Pre-application Enquiry Form


* This additional fee is applicable only if you require a formal review. It is not chargeable for matters of clarification


We also need the following information for schemes of 10 dwellings and above:

  • Written details of the address and proposal
  • Description of the nature and scale of the development proposed and the uses to which land and buildings are to be put 
  • Site location plan with the site clearly marked (to a recognised scale, north point etc) 
  • Sketch drawings providing details of the proposal (to a recognised scale) 
  • Photographs of the site and surrounding area, with particular regard to any nearby houses or other development which might be affected by your proposal 
  • Contact details including phone number and email address 
  • An initial design and access statement 
  • Access and parking arrangements 
  • This may also need to be accompanied by ecological, landscape, contamination, flood and transport assessments depending upon the location, nature and complexity of the development


Listed building advice

If you are considering carrying out works to a listed building you may wish to seek advice from the Heritage team before submission of a listed building consent application. If your question is brief and requires a general response you can telephone for free of charge advice. However, if your query requires research, a site visit or a written response from the Heritage team a fee will apply.

In order for the Officer to provide an appropriate and informed response you will need to provide the following information:

  • Written details of the address
  • Description of the works proposed. You may also be requested to submit an initial Heritage Statement.
  • Site location plan with the site clearly marked (to a recognised scale, north point etc) 
  • Sketch drawings providing details both of the existing Listed Building and the proposal alterations (to a recognised scale) 
  • Photographs of the Listed Building as relevant to your query
  • Contact details including phone number and email address  

There are exemptions to the fee for Listed Building pre-application advice for queries regarding alterations proposed to respond to disability issues such as access, for parish or town councils and for works that are classed as an emergency.  Please contact us to discuss.

Listed building consent is free of charge.

What the costs cover

Our fees cover administration costs and the time spent in research, assessment, a meeting as necessary, and in making a written response.


How long for a response

Where your enquiry seeks written advice only, we will do our best to reply within 20 working days. If such an enquiry is deemed to require a meeting and/or site visit prior to a response being given, you will be contacted and asked to provide an additional fee in-line with our charges. Once the additional fee has been received your enquiry will be processed.

If you have paid for a meeting, the case officer will arrange a suitable date depending on the complexity of the scheme and the amount of work that will be needed beforehand. We will aim to provide a written follow-up of the meeting within 15 working days of the meeting taking place. If your enquiry is of a complex nature, more time may be needed and we will advise you of when you may expect a reply.


How to apply

Please email

Telephone: 01304 872486

Pre-application advice cannot guarantee the final formal decision that will be made on your application. For instance: It’s possible, after the advertising of the application, other material planning considerations will emerge that couldn’t be anticipated at the pre-application stage e.g. as a consequence of statutory consultee views; new policy considerations can also come into play e.g. changes in Government planning guidance since the advice was given; and ultimately, while officers can provide advice, in some cases the final decision on an application will be made by the Planning Committee. That said, any pre-application advice that has been provided will be carefully considered when reaching a decision.

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