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Pre-application advice

If you need planning information on extensions and alterations to a residential property (including domestic outbuildings) you can do this by accessing the national Planning Portal. It provides simple-to-use interactive guidance for householders about a wide range of planning related matters. 

You can find professional advisors (‘agents’) who are registered with relevant bodies here:

Duty planning officer service

For all initial enquiries to our Development Management Team, we offer a free of charge duty planning officer telephone service.

You can call the duty planning officer on 0300 123 7027 for planning advice between 1pm and 4.45pm Monday to Friday.

This telephone service is appropriate for discussing the following types of proposal, for which formal advice will not normally be provided:

  • householder applications (for extensions, outbuildings, etc.);
  • discharge of or compliance with planning conditions;
  • proposals requiring ‘prior approval’ or ‘prior notification’ under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Alternatively you can leave a message for the duty planning officer using our online form:

Make enquiry

For more complex schemes, a more detailed assessment/discussion will often be required (the duty officer can advise if this is the case). 

Formal pre-application advice (charges apply)

We offer pre-application advice via an initial telephone call with a planning officer followed, where necessary/required, by a pre-arranged meeting (of up to 60 minutes) at our offices in Chester.

Advice will be given on one proposal per meeting and only information attached with your submission will be discussed.

We will not provide written advice. If you require a written record of the meeting, you may make a record and ask the officer to confirm its accuracy.

If you require further advice following the meeting you will need to make another application.

We will advise you of specific constraints affecting your site, key policy considerations (including what infrastructure contributions might be required), what documentation we will expect to be submitted with a planning application, and an opinion as to the likelihood of permission being granted. We will also make recommendations about how your proposal could be improved.

To access this service you will need to complete our pre-application advice form and pay the relevant charge:

Pre-application enquiries can either be submitted by email or post.

Pre-application advice payment

You will also need to submit the following information:

  • a location and site plan (giving post code and grid ref where appropriate), which can be obtained from the Planning Portal website.
  • sketches of the proposal
  • photographs of the site and surroundings
  • a brief summary of the proposals and the condition of the existing site
  • a list of any key issues about which you require specific advice

The more relevant information you submit, the more useful the meeting is likely to be. If the information supplied is inaccurate, our advice may not stand when you come to apply for planning permission.

Once we have registered your application you will be contacted by a planning officer. We are unable to make assurances about timescales at present.


For each type of development a charge will apply for formal pre-application advice given by us.

All charges are inclusive of VAT.

  • category A (larger major proposals): £2,040
  • category B (major proposals): £1,200
  • category C (minor proposals e.g. three to nine dwellings or proposals more than 75 square metres): £600
  • category D (other proposals): £270

It is envisaged that householder advice will be provided free of charge via the duty planning officer service, but if applicants require formal advice due to the complexity of their proposal this will fall within category D.

We have decided that the cost of providing this service should be recovered directly from the developer and not fall as a general cost to the council taxpayer. It should be noted that the current statutory planning application fees do not cover the cost of pre-application advice given by us.

If I pay for the advice will it secure my planning permission?

No. Whilst we will do our best to work positively and proactively with developers, all advice is given without prejudice to the outcome of any subsequent application. Any subsequent planning application will be subject to notification/consultation of interested parties and, dependant on the views expressed, this may affect the outcome of your application. We encourage prospective developers to liaise with neighbouring owners/occupiers and parish councils prior to submitting planning applications.

Advice will be given in good faith, based on the legal and policy position at the time of application and the information provided. All advice is given without prejudice and is not binding in any way on us.

For more information, visit Gov.UK

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