Skip to main content
Text size

Householder pre-application advice

We are currently dealing with a large number of planning applications and are offering a written pre-application report service only at the current time. 

We can give you advice on whether your works would be acceptable when you apply for planning permission. Please note we can give you advice on one proposal only per pre-application request.

For information on the fees and services that are available please see Planning Fees and Charges from April 2024.

What are the benefits of getting pre-application Council advice? Toggle accordion

If the pre-application advice is followed:

  • avoidance of unexpected delays and problems. We cannot offer guarantees but it is more likely to result in a positive and timely outcome to a planning application;

  • a greater degree of certainty over the general acceptability of proposals;

  • clarification on how national, regional and local policies will be applied;

  • early identification of areas that will need specialist advice;

  • early input where the work does not meet planning policy;

  • a potential reduction in time professional advisers spend in working up proposals; and

  • clarification on what application form to use and what drawings and information to submit for your planning application to be considered ‘valid’ and registered quickly.

How much does it cost? Toggle accordion

Pre-application service fees are non-refundable. All fees are based on estimated officer time and hourly costs and aim to provide cost recovery only. For a written report only, the fee from April 2023 is £200.40. There are different fees if Listed Building consent or conservation area advice are also required.

For full information on the fees and services that are available please see Planning Fees and Charges from April 2024.

What information do I need to provide? Toggle accordion

The more information received with your submission, the more informative the response will be.  If your plans are inaccurate, our advice may not stand when you come to apply for planning permission so ensure your documents support your proposal, you have the mandatory site plan ready and all plans are to scale.

We require:

  • A completed pre-application request form
  • An electronic copy of an OS-style site location plan at a scale of 1:1250, clearly showing surrounding roads and properties, with the boundaries of the application site outlined in red. This plan is mandatory for all pre-application advice.   If you do not have a Site Location Plan at 1:1250, maps can be purchased from the Planning Portal.
  • electronic copies of any additional plans to be considered (examples below)
  • any other supporting documents

Please also read our Privacy Notice - Pre-application advice

How do I apply? Toggle accordion

Pay the fee by BACS, payment details below

Email a completed copy of the pre-application request form  to, attaching the mandatory site plan, supporting documents and confirmation of payment.

BACS: Sort Code: 40-40-01
Account Number: 7140 2609
Account Name: St Albans City & District Council

Please quote site address as reference.

What happens next? Toggle accordion

You will receive an acknowledgement email once full payment has been received. 

We aim to send you written advice within six weeks of your acknowledgement (unless otherwise agreed with your planning officer). The advice may remain relevant for up to 1 year, subject to legislative or policy changes,

You may wish to consult other bodies about your proposal such as Hertfordshire County Council’s Highways, or the Environment Agency some of which may have their own pre-application charges. Please also note important information concerning privacy and requests under the Environmental Information Regulations.

The advice given is officer advice, provided in good faith at this point in time, given the nature of the legislation existing today and based on the facts provided by you in writing in your request. It is therefore given without prejudice, is not binding in any way on the Council and does not form a judgement of whether any subsequent application will be approved or refused.

Cancellation charges Toggle accordion

Where a request for pre-application advice is made and subsequently cancelled, the following charges will apply:

  • Cancellation notified within 0 to 5 working days of the submission of the original request - 75% of fee refunded
  • Cancellation notified within 6 to 10 working days of the submission of the original request - 50% of fee refunded
  • No refunds will be made for cancellations notified 11 or more working days after the submission of the original request 

Sample plans


If you require your client to pay for the meeting please follow the process below

BACS: Sort Code: 40-40-01
Account Number: 7140 2609
Account Name: St Albans City & District Council
Please quote site address as reference

Frequently asked questions

I just want to know if I need planning permission for my project Toggle accordion

Planning Permission and Building Regulations Consent is often required before most building works are carried out or changes made in the use of land or premises.

We can tell you if you require planning permission for a project when you apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. See Do I need Planning Permission?  

Where else can I get planning advice? Toggle accordion

If you need planning information on extensions and alterations to a residential property you can do this by:

  • Looking online (free).  
    The Planning Portal is owned and managed by PortalPlanQuest Limited (PPQ). It provides simple-to-use interactive guidance for householders about a wide range of planning related matters; 

See our  Local Plan Policies;

You can also see what your neighbours have had consent to build or if there are any planning constraints on your home.

You can also get advice from a planning agent, architect or surveyor (charges vary).  Check they are registered with a recognised professional body: 
Royal Town Planning Institute
Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors
Architects' Registration Board.

Why does the Council charge for pre-application planning advice? Toggle accordion

St Albans City and District Council has one of the busiest District planning department in the country.

Planning application fees do not cover the cost of pre-application advice. The provision of quality pre-application advice is time consuming and costly. The charge we make covers the cost of providing the service based on estimated officer time and hourly costs. The Council is keen to ensure the costs incurred are recovered directly, rather than falling as a general burden on council tax payers.

Can I be assured that my planning application will be dealt with quickly? Toggle accordion

The speed at which we are able to process planning applications is affected by a number of aspects that are outside our direct control.  These are: 

  • The rise in demand for our planning services; 

  • The general scarcity of trained planning officers, something that all planning departments are experiencing.

We aim to process 75% of all planning applications within 8 weeks.