Pre-application advice

The city council adopted revised pre-application fees for all submissions as of 1 April 2024. View the new schedule below.

What is pre-application advice?

Pre-application engagement encourages pro-active working between applicants and other interested parties such as statutory consultees, other council services, elected members and town and parish councils.

It offers significant potential to improve the overall quality of the development proposed and the places and spaces it creates for communities. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states “early engagement has significant potential to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the planning application system for all parties”. This engagement also assists in highlighting the interplay of planning aspirations with wider legislative and policy frameworks, so that development proposals are designed with other constraints and opportunities in mind.

The Council will advise on the acceptability of a proposal in principle, as well as provide detailed comments on a development and advise on what documents are required to support the formal submission. Where relevant, we will also encourage the use of a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA).

Benefits of seeking pre-application advice

Submitting a formal planning application can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming, especially if it is refused for reasons that could have been overcome prior to submission. Pre-application advice allows you to:

  • save the cost of pursuing applications that are unacceptable in principle;
  • avoid the application being refused, or needing to resubmit, for issues that could have been resolved prior to submission;
  • reduce the time (and fees) of your professional advisors;
  • understand the relevant policies that apply your development;
  • identify the need for specialist input early on, such as heritage, arboriculture (trees) and ecology;
  • understand the documents that will be required for a prompt validation of the application, and what further supporting information could be helpful; and
  • work collaboratively with the Council, in its capacity as the local planning authority, to overcome problems.

The Pre-Application Charter

The Council has developed a Pre-Application and PPA Charter. This details how the take up of pre-application advice will be encouraged and delivered by the Council, in its capacity as the local planning authority. Equally, applicants and interested parties are also expected to respect and fulfil its aims, recognising that a collaborative approach delivers timely, positive and pro-active outcomes. It provides clarity over when wider engagement and/or a PPA should be considered.

The Charter is best practice and sets out the manner in which the Council aims to operate. It does not, however, impose mandatory expectations on the parties involved. Specifically, requesting pre-application advice does not guarantee that planning permission will be granted, but it can provide advice on what would be required to make your development proposal acceptable.

Request pre-application advice

Pre-application advice requests should be made using the link below. You should provide as much information about your development as possible so that we can give you accurate and relevant advice and calculate the applicable fee correctly. The following information will be required:

  • a full description of the nature of the development, including amount, scale and uses proposed;
  • a site location plan identifying the land to which the enquiry relates;
  • a block or site layout plan, or illustrative masterplan, as appropriate;
  • the relevant fee (see table below); and
  • such other information which is relevant to the proposal.

You can find out more about what these documents must contain in our Planning Application Validation Requirements.

Fees and response times

The following table sets out the fees applicable to each category of pre-application advice offered. Fees are charged per proposal unless otherwise stated (e.g. two proposals for a single site submitted at the same time will attract two times the relevant fee and be handled as two separate enquiries). Where a proposal falls into multiple categories, the fees will be combined.

The Council will aim to provide a written response within the timeframes stated, although occasionally further time may need to be agreed to receive and compile responses from consultees.

Meetings with officers will not be facilitated as an alternative to written pre-application advice. Any meetings are designed to offer a forum between technical experts and consultees (e.g. transport consultants with highways officers) to further discuss matters previously identified in a written response. Such meetings are charged per consultee involved (at no more than 2 per meeting), based on the fee for advice relating to planning conditions.

All fees and timeframes are effective as of 1st April 2024.


Cost (inc. VAT)


Enlargement, improvement or other alteration to an existing dwelling and any other development proposed within the curtilage of an existing dwelling


Written response only, within 6 weeks

External works only to existing buildings (non-householder)




Advice prior to discharge of planning conditions (cost per condition)


Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 1 dwelling


Listed building consent and/or demolition in a conservation area (without new development)


Site meeting with conservation officer only, and written response within 6 weeks

Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 2-4 dwellings


Up to one-hour meeting and written response within 6 weeks

Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 5-9 dwellings


Other floorspace (New build & conversion inc. change of use of land): up to 500sqm


Other floorspace (New build & conversion inc. change of use of land): 500-999sqm


Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 10-24 dwellings


Up to one-hour meeting and written response within 10 weeks

Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 25-49 dwellings


Other floorspace (New build & conversion inc. change of use of land): 1000-2499sqm


Other floorspace (New build & conversion inc. change of use of land): 2500-9999sqm


Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 50-499 dwellings


Up to two-hour meeting and written response within 10 weeks

Residential dwellings (New build & conversion): 500+ dwellings


Other floorspace (New build & conversion inc. change of use of land): 10,000sqm or more


* Unless otherwise agreed under a PPA.

Submit your pre-application enquiry

Once you have submitted your request, we will contact you to confirm the fee that applies. If you wish to proceed, we will take payment and register your enquiry within 5 working days, informing you of the relevant case officer and anticipated time for a response.

Important disclaimer

You should be aware that any pre-application advice provided is made at officer level only and does not constitute a formal decision of the Council. Any views or opinions expressed, are given without prejudice to the consideration by the Council of any formal planning application, which will be subject to wider consultation and publicity. Although the case officer may indicate the likely outcome of a formal planning application from their professional point of view, no guarantees can or will be given about the decision that will be made on any such application.

It should be noted that planning policies, constraints, etc. change from time to time and may affect the advice given. The relevant policies referred to within any pre-application advice may therefore change over time.

The provisions of the Freedom of Information Act apply to the Council, as a public authority. It should be presumed that information supplied to the Council is likely to be disclosed under the above Act, if requested to do so. Our Pre-application and PPA Charter indicates that we will publish the advice given as and when the formal application is received, and provides guidance on confidentiality.

Planning enquiries contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ