Planning advice service

Submit a planning advice request

Getting specialist advice from us before you make a planning application could help you:

  • avoid costly mistakes
  • save time
  • understand our policies and specialist areas
  • identify potential problems early on and find solutions
  • get advice about how to improve your scheme

You can submit a planning advice request using our online form:



Our advice service

We provide positive advice about improving schemes, not just advise whether they are likely to be supported, and in our responses we will advise about the information needed for a subsequent application.

We can provide different levels of advice depending on how much detail and support you want.

Temporary changes to our planning advice service

Following the latest government and public health advice, in order to reduce the escalation of Coronavirus, we have taken the decision to temporarily change how we deliver our planning advice service. We are committed to continuing to provide a high quality service with the same benefits and outcomes as before. However, it is important that we prioritise the health and safety of our residents and staff, as well as applicants. Our level 1 service remains the same, however, changes to our level 2 and 3 service are explained in the relevant sections below. 

Level oneThis gives the simplest level of advice about the principle of a proposal. It will suit you if you want to avoid the time and expense of getting detailed plans drawn and do not want detailed advice.

We will not visit the site and we provide a written summary of our advice within two weeks.

We will advise only whether the principle of the type of development you want to do is acceptable. Examples might be asking us about the principle of extending the roof of your house or the principle of converting a building into flats.

You will normally find it helpful to get more advice from us through levels two or three before you apply. We also cannot offer this service for alterations to listed buildings. ​
Level two

This will provide you with much more detailed written advice than level one, including on the detail of your proposal, within four weeks of your request. It will also include advice from internal consultees, such as Highways and Transportation, where relevant.

We will not include a meeting to discuss your proposals or explore alternatives. Under the temporary arrangements we will no longer visit your property but we will expect you to provide extensive photographs of the property and the neighbouring buildings and context. If the Planning Officer dealing with your request thinks they need additional photos please be prepared to provide them. We will also use satellite imagery planning history at yours and neighbouring properties, as well as our detailed knowledge and understanding of the borough to offer our advice.

Level three

This is the same as level two but also includes a meeting to explain our advice and explore improvements and alternatives with you. Following the meeting we will issue our advice in writing within five weeks of your original request.

We will no longer be carrying out these meetings face to face. We will discuss arrangements with you on an individual basis however, we can do this by Skype or telephone, whether with one or more individuals. Please speak to you Planning Officer one registered to discuss arrangements.

Follow up for level two and threeOnce you have our advice through levels two or three you may amend your proposals and want updated advice.

The fee for this is lower than the initial advice and you can choose whether to have it without a meeting (level two) or with a meeting (level three).
Level fourThis is designed for larger and more complex proposals where ongoing advice is required from a range of officers, possibly over many months or years.

We manage the process through a planning performance agreement with you, following an initial scoping meeting to agree the objectives of the agreement including timescales, key milestones and scheduled meetings. In some cases it might include preparing a brief or supplementary planning document to guide development of the site.

The cost of this will depend on the nature of the scheme and will be agreed on a case by case basis. If you would like us to provide level 4 advice please contact PlanningLine on 020 7361 3012.


What information do I need to give you?

The more information you give us about what you want to do, the more valuable and precise our advice will be. This includes:

  • clear address for the site, preferably with the postcode
  • brief description of what you want to do such as a ‘two storey rear extension’
  • confirmation of the advice level you require
  • plans of what you want to do, drawn to metric scale no bigger than A3 with a scale bar on each page
  • a fee to cover our costs of providing your advice

To get the best out of the service we suggest you also send us more detailed information where you can, such as:

  • scaled plan showing where your proposal would be on the site
  • photographs showing the key features of the site with the directions shown on the plan above
  • for subterranean development, draft construction traffic management plans and other plans required by our subterranean development policies


How much will advice cost?

Pre application advice fees


The cost of the time we take to provide advice is not covered by the statutory fee for making a planning application. The charge covers our costs for providing the advice and so it is not met by council tax payers generally.

The scale of fees is based on the size of the proposal and the level of detail that is sought. We currently offer a reduced fee for local community groups seeking advice about their own proposals for enhanced community facilities.

If your proposal includes more than one category of development, the fee payable is the highest of those that apply, but they are not added together.

The fee includes VAT at 20 per cent and will not be refunded if you decide advice is no longer required even if we have not yet provided it.

Where advice is required to resolve a breach of planning control, we may charge an individual site specific fee to ensure we cover the costs of providing advice.


Freedom of Information

The advice we provide under this service is generally confidential until a related application is submitted and development proposals are publicly available. Since March 2016 we automatically publish any advice we have provided once the related application is submitted. At that point there is normally no reason under any legislation to insist the advice is confidential.

We may continue to receive requests for advice to be disclosed at earlier stages, which will need to be assessed individually under the legislation. If you think there are sufficient reasons under the legislation that your request and advice should remain confidential at those earlier stages please advise us in writing of the reasons at the time of your request. We will not respond at the time of your request but will take it into account when deciding whether to release information earlier than usual.