Skip to main content
Text size

Pre-application advice

We can give you advice on whether your works would be acceptable when you apply for planning permission. We can give you advice on one proposal only per appointment.

For Householder proposals, see Householder pre-application advice for alterations and extensions to residential properties.

For all non-householder proposals, see below.

We offer pre-application advice via a pre-arranged paid meeting with a planning officer for most non-householder applications. If your pre-application request is for Band A Significant Major Project, we are currently only able to offer a written report.

Listed building advice is charged separately. Advice is given on one proposal per appointment and only information attached with your submission will be discussed within the pre-application meeting.

Meetings will be carried out by telephone or via Microsoft Teams. We will send a Microsoft Teams calendar invite should you wish to have a virtual meeting with your case officer. Please indicate your preference of telephone call or virtual meeting within the form.

Pre-application fees and charges from April 2022

For information on the fees and services that are available please see Planning Advice and Enquiries Charges from April 2022

How much does it cost? Toggle accordion

The fee is based on the type of development, see below. All fees are based on estimated officer time and hourly costs and aim to provide cost recovery only. The fees vary depending on the size and complexity of the proposals.

For information on the fees and services that are available please see Planning Advice and Enquiries Charges from April 2022

When will the meeting take place? Toggle accordion

Meetings are held approximately three weeks from receipt of a valid request via telephone or Microsoft Teams on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 09:30 and 16:30. You can specify a preferred day, morning or afternoon within the request form, but not a specific time. The time of the meeting will be in your confirmation email. If your pre-application request is for a Band A Significant Major Project you will only be offered a written report.

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:

  • The completed application form (Pre-application meeting request form - 2020 - see below)

  • Privacy Notice - Pre-application advice (PDF - 194 kb) - See below

  • 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 via the button below.

An example of a site location plan is shown below as well as electronic copies of any additional plans to be considered and any other supporting documents:

How do I apply/book a meeting? Toggle accordion

  • pay the fee by BACS, payment details below

  • email a completed copy of the pre-application 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

Once you have provided the information listed above and paid for the pre-application service, you receive an automated acknowledgement email. Within 3 working days you receive your confirmation email containing the date and time of your pre-application meeting.

We aim to send you written advice within four weeks of your meeting (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 (see below) Please also note important information below 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 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.  

What happens if I want to cancel? 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

Advice from Hertfordshire Highways

The county council as highway authority is a statutory consultee for all planning applications with transport impact, as well as authorising authority for any resulting highway works required as part of a development. They welcome and encourage discussions on the transport impacts of new development proposals before a developer submits a planning application. For further information, see

Advice from Historic England

Historic England (HE) offer a separate pre-application service for applications where they would be a statutory consultee.  If the proposed planning application affects designated heritage assets, listed building consent, faculty consent and scheduled monument consent and Historic England would be consulted, it is worthwhile using this service to check the likely response. For further information and advice from Historic England, please click here

Advice from the Environment Agency

The Environment Agency offer a separate pre-application service.  If the proposed development site is a hectare or more, in flood zones 2 or 3, close to a watercourse or on potentially contaminated land it is worthwhile using this service to check the likely EA response at planning stage. 

For further information and advice from the Environment Agency, please click here.

Freedom of Information Act and Environmental Information Regulations

If the Local Planning Authority receives a request, under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) or Environmental Information Regulations (EIR), to disclose information relating to pre-application enquiries they are obliged to do so unless the information is deemed exempt under the Act or Regulations. We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of the exemptions (FOI) or exceptions (EIR) set out in legislation.  If you consider that your request is covered by an exemption/exception, for example, it is confidential or commercially sensitive; you should first seek your own legal advice and inform the Council as to the advice received at the time of submitting the pre-application planning advice application where an exemption/exception such as confidentiality or commercial sensitivity is an issue. However, whilst we will take account of this information, the final decision on whether the information should be withheld rests with the Council, and ultimately the Information Commissioner/General Regulatory Tribunal.

Design Advice and Community Engagement

Scheme Type

Suggested Community Engagement by Applicant

Design Review (Design Review Panel paid for by applicants in addition to the above charges)

Large Scale Major Planning Applications or Sensitive Heritage Sites

Charrette or similar Community Engagement Exercise - for example Look St Albans

Yes - Design South East or Design Council

Small Scale Major Planning Applications

Charrette or similar Community Engagement Exercise - for example Look St Albans

Yes - Building Futures

Minor Planning Applications

Neighbour Consultation

Depends on sensitivity of site - Building Futures


Building Futures - Sustainability measures and design

building features

Building Futures is a web-based guide designed to provide practical, user-friendly and up-to-date guidance for applicants on how to include measures to improve sustainability within their designs. It focuses on making development in Hertfordshire more sustainable and of a higher quality in design terms.

Guidelines for waste and recycling disposal

Planning Aid

Planning Aid provides free, independent and professional planning advice and support to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay planning consultant fees. It complements the work of local planning authorities, but is wholly independent of them.

Contact details: 
The Planning Advisor; 
PO Box 1225, Kenninghall, Norwich, NR16 2WR; 
Tel: 0870 850 9801

Planning Aid provides free initial advice to all callers but more detailed help will only be provided to individuals and groups that meet their eligibility criteria.