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Pre-application advice and interactive house

All requests for pre-application advice can be made using our pre-application form. Please note that you must provide the minimum level of information set out in the form to ensure that timely advice can be given.

You can email your application to or send to us at our main office. In order to cover our costs for pre-application advice, we introduced pre-application charges in accordance with Section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003.

Please note: that from 1 January 2018 we increased our pre-application fees. A copy of the new fees schedule along with the current fees can be viewed in the document below:-

Note: Payments are fixed for pre-applications and all our prices include VAT charged at 20%.

Contacting us before formally submitting a planning application can be critically important. It should provide you with a clear understanding of your developments objectives and constraints, as well as provide an opportunity for wider engagement, where appropriate, with other stakeholders, including the local community.

Pre-application engagement can:

  • Can identify opportunities for scheme improvements at a stage when a proposal can still be modified, resulting in a higher quality development;
  • Significantly increases the likelihood of gaining a positive recommendation by our planning officers;
  • Helps to communicate the vision and objectives for the area;
  • Develop a shared understanding of constraints, opportunities and context;
  • Agree information requirements and identify schemes which are unlikely to be supported;
  • Establish timescales and explain administrative processes;
  • Reduce delays through early engagement of key parties.

Some householder development works do not require planning permission, as they are classed as permitted development. You can use the Planning Portal Interactive House for guidance on many household projects. Furthermore, certain development works may not also require planning permission from us as they would be classed as permitted development. 


These include, for example:

  • Erection of click and collect structures;
  • Certain telecommunications development;
  • Certain agricultural and forestry development;
  • Extensions to offices, industrial buildings, schools and universities.

Although pre-application advice possibly forms a material consideration of a formal planning application, it does not constitute a formal or guaranteed outcome in the determination of a future planning application or other form of submission. Any views or opinions expressed are given in good faith, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to a period of public consultation and maybe decided at a Planning Committee.

Applications submitted without pre-application discussions and require significant amendments to make the development acceptable are likely to be refused.

Vacant Building Credit

Where a vacant building is brought back into any lawful use, or is to be demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer will only be offered a financial credit (equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of the relevant vacant building(s)) which will be offset against the affordable housing contribution for the development, where the building(s) has been completely (100%) vacant for a period of 6 months before any application is submitted to the council. The building(s) cannot be made vacant (e.g. terminating leases of existing tenants) for the sole purpose of redevelopment. 'Abandonment' in this context, follows the interpretation in general planning law, and, depends on factors such as the condition of building(s), length of non-use, whether there has been an intervening use and evidence of the owner's intentions.

Applicants will need to provide the gross external floor area (GEA) of any vacant building that the wish to claim vacant building credit on, and, the proposed building. The GEAs must be signed off by a RICS Chartered Surveyor or RIBA member architect.

Other available pre-application advice

Hertfordshire County Council Highways Development Control has a specific design guide for development as well as a planning obligations toolkit for sustainable transport measures. They have also introduced a new pre-application service where you can seek advice on highway related matters such as sustainable transport, highway safety and design of highway networks. To speak to them please call 0300 123 4047 or email

Our information on dropped kerbs and crossovers gives an overview of what you need to know if you would like to have a dropped kerb (also known as a vehicle crossover) to enable you to drive your vehicle across a footway and/or verge onto your property.

There are also other statutory bodies which you may wish to consult with about your proposal:

Duty Planning Service

Our Duty Planning Service will remain as a free service to provide general planning advice for householders in the Council's reception and on the telephone, but, please note that this will be for small scale developments only. You can contact our duty planning officer between 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday on 01438 242159 or email No appointment is necessary but enquiries are limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. No site visits or written responses will be available from this service. An answer machine will be available in the afternoons and any calls received will be dealt with by the duty officer the following morning. In addition, any email received in the afternoon will also be passed onto the duty planning officer to respond the following day.