Householder pre-application advice

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For householder applications (extensions and alterations to residential properties, including related Listed Building and Archaeology advice) we offer householder pre-application advice via a pre-arranged paid for meeting with a planning officer. The fee is paid online when you book your appointment, please have your payment details to hand as you will have only 30 minutes to make payment once you have booked your appointment.

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 appointment.

How much does it cost?

£240 including VAT for a 30 minute meeting with a planning officer at the Civic Centre and written advice. Pre-application service fees are non-refundable.

PLEASE NOTE: If you do not fully complete the online booking process, including making a payment, a pre-application appointment will not be made.

What information do I need to provide?

Before you start the process please make sure that you have all the necessary documents (see Documents required below) ready to upload. Please also ensure you have read our Privacy Notice. It is in your interest to provide detailed information such as detailed plans (to scale or with dimensions) when you book your appointment. Our advice will be based on the information that you provide with your application.

Please also have your payment details to hand as you will only have 30 minutes to submit payment at the time of booking. Payment must be by debit or credit card via the online booking process so we cannot accept cheques or BACS transfers.

Documents required

A site location plan must be provided. Please upload 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 and must be uploaded when you book an appointment. If you do not have a Site Location Plan at 1:1250, maps can be purchased from the Planning Portal via the button below.

Planning Portal Buy a Plan

You will be able to upload up to 8 further documents – please provide metric scaled drawings of existing and proposed plans, together with any other supporting material. A planning agent can draw these for you and submit your application (see below). Or, here are some examples:

We can accept hand-drawn scaled plans but please note that if your plans are inaccurate, our advice may not stand when you come to apply for planning permission.

You will need to have all your drawings ready to upload before you start the booking process.

How do I apply/book a meeting?

You will need to apply online (see below).

Make an appointment for pre-application advice

We apologise that our online pre application booking service is not working currently. Please email details of your request to, staff will contact you to arrange payment and make an appointment.

Apply Button

Meetings for householder pre-applications are available on:

Mondays and Wednesdays between 9.30am - 12.30pm,

Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1.30pm - 4.30pm

Meetings must be booked in advance. All meetings will be held at the Council Offices.

You will be asked to complete an initial form and upload your documents. Once you submit the form you will be directed to our online appointment booking system. 

When you reach the appointment booking system please ensure that you select the correct service - Householder pre-application advice is for works or extensions to an existing house or within the boundary of an existing house’s garden. It does not include proposals relating to a new dwelling/s in existing gardens. 

You will only have 30 minutes to pay the fee so please have your payment details to hand at the time of booking. Once you have completed the process and paid, you will be sent a booking confirmation by email which will include details of how to change your appointment if needed.

If you do not complete the booking process an appointment will not be made and your documents will be deleted after 7 days.

We aim to send you written advice within three weeks of your meeting (unless otherwise agreed between you and your case officer). 

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 and at the pre-application meeting. 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.

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

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?  

I am a local householder. What do I do if I want pre-application planning advice?

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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. 

Date of last review: 16 November 2018