Pre-application service

Pre-application advice can provide guidance on whether planning permission is required, if proposals would be acceptable and flag any potential issues that may arise.

Anyone in Northumberland considering development on any scale can obtain our advice before submitting a formal planning application.

This advice cannot be given over the phone, by email or in person as we require specific information in the form of a pre-application enquiry. Our pre-application service can save you time and money, help reduce invalid applications and enable speedier decisions to be made.
If you are unsure if the works to your home, business or land etc. require permission you can submit a £30 ‘do I need permission’ pre-application enquiry.

Please ensure you have read the advice on our do I need planning permission page first as this information may answer your question. If you choose to submit a pre-application enquiry to ask us to look into whether or not your proposed works require permission we will respond to you in writing within 15 working days. Our response will inform you:
  • if your proposal would require planning permission, listed building consent or advertisement consent,
  • the fee, plans and reports you will need to submit if permission is required.
This is a basic a yes/no answer option and does not include a site visit. If permission is not needed you may go ahead with the works, however if permission is needed you would then need to formally apply for and obtain planning permission before you can go ahead with the works. If you need advice on whether or not your proposal is likely to be supported please use the more detailed advice option below.
You may already know you need planning permission but are unsure what type, whether it would be supported or what you can do to make it more acceptable. 

Whether you want advice on works at your home, listed buildings, changes of use, business developments, advertisements or a large scale development our detailed pre-application service will inform you:
  • if you need permission, what type
  • of the planning history of the property and details of relevant planning policies and considerations
  • of the comments returned from internal consultees where relevant such as ecology, highways, conservation, public protection, tree officers, education etc.
  • whether or not your planning application is likely to be supported and reasons why
  • what may be done to make your scheme more acceptable
  • what plans and reports would be required thereby avoiding unnecessary costs/delay
The fee and timescale for a written response depends on the type and scale of the works please see the Schedule of Pre-application Fees. For more detail on what the service involves please read the Pre-application Advice Protocol. A further protocol document is available for major / strategic schemes.
We would encourage you to submit your applications by email rather than on paper during the COVID-19 outbreak. This ensures will be able to process your documents electronically whether we are based at Council offices or working from home.

Please note: if any of the following information is missing from your application it will be made invalid and will not be looked at by a Planning Officer until the outstanding information/fee is submitted:

  1. complete a pre-application form (Word version) / (PDF version). Please provide an email address on the application form so we are able to correspond by email rather than post.
  2. pay the fee online or call 0345 6006400,
  3. location plan is required, the site (including all land required to carry out the proposed works) must be outlined in red. We will accept a Land Registry plan (such as those included with property deeds) as long as it is to 1:1250 or 1:2500 scale. You can purchase a location plan online for about £11 using the Planning Portal. We cannot accept photos of plans or google maps in place of a scaled location plan. 
  4. send the documents and the payment reference/receipt number to the email address on the form. We will acknowledge your submission within 5 working days.
Please note:

The quality of advice given will depend upon the level of information provided so the submission of additional information (although not mandatory) will be welcomed. It would be helpful to include a basic plan of your proposal with dimensions and distances to boundaries or the public highway (where relevant) and materials to be used, photos for replacement windows etc. For major / strategic pre-applications it is likely further information will be required as described in the major protocol.
  • These applications are not available to the public so this information will not appear on our website. View the privacy notice.
  • We cannot give you advice on building regulations as this is dealt with by Building Control.
  • We cannot accept photographs of plans as these cannot be printed and measured to scale.
  • Fees include VAT