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Planning Pre-Application Advice Service

Using our advice service before making a planning application can help things go more smoothly

This service is not a substitute for a planning application.

This is a formal advice service available for a Icon for pdf fee [29KB] . For general planning enquiries, please contact the Duty Planning Officer.

We are currently taking action to address a backlog in applications. Please visit our Planning Applications Backlog page for more information. We apologise that we may not be able to respond to all pre-application enquiries within the stated timeframes at the current time, but will keep you updated on progress.

From 3 August 2022, we have a new Pre-Application (Pre-App) service. We've outlined how the new service will work below.

The pre-application advice service cannot be used to advise whether or not planning permission is required for a proposal. To receive a formal confirmation of whether planning permission is required, an application for a certificate of lawful development can be submitted to the Council.

For strategic development proposals we encourage the use of Planning Performance Agreements.  Please contact us via in relation to any such proposals.

Please note: the online Pre-Application form is currently being reviewed. Please complete the following PDF to apply for pre-application advice: Icon for pdf Pre Application Advice Application Form [17KB]

How will pre-application advice be given?

Type of advice

Nature of advice

Timeframe for a response

Advice in principle

This is the fastest pre-application enquiry available based on the principle of the development only. It comprises a desktop study only, with no visit to the site, no consultations with any internal or external consultees and no meeting.
A response is provided purely on the principle of the development, based on the policies in the development plan. The response will not cover matters of detail or design.

15 to 20 working days.

Option A

Detailed written advice only. This is the same as advice in principle, but consultations are undertaken with internal consultees and responses on all issues arising from the proposal, including detailed design.

30 working days.

Option B

Detailed written advice after a Site Visit. This is the same as detailed written advice but includes a visit to the site by the planning officer.

30 working days.

Option C

Detailed written advice with a follow up meeting. This is the same as above with detailed written advice and a follow up meeting with the case officer. 

No site visit will be undertaken.

30 working days.

Option D

Detailed written advice, with Site Visit and a follow up meeting. This is the same as detailed written advice with a follow up meeting, but it includes the case officer carrying out a visit to the site.

40 working days (or timeframe TBA on submission for complex major development).

Pre-app with additional options

This is the same as above, but if the pre-app contains additional options, or opinions, then the application will be as above, plus an additional 50 per cent of the fee for each subsequent option.

TBA - dependent on submission and number of options/requests made.

Further advice

Further advice includes subsequent pre-application enquiries of the same character (and/or description) by the same applicant on the same site as a previous paid for pre-application enquiry or planning application. This is charged at 75 per cent of the fees listed for pre-application advice.

The same timeframe as for pre-application advice.

Fast track

This is a faster service than the above and can be sought by paying an additional 50 per cent on top of the fees listed. The faster timescale will be agreed upon request and is subject to availability and resources. We reserve the right to refuse requests subject to resources and availability.

To be agreed upon request.

You should choose which service you want to purchase and only select 1 of the above.

How to apply

The first step is to complete an application form. Please complete the following PDF to apply for pre-application advice: Icon for pdf Pre Application Advice Application Form [17KB] Please submit the completed application form by email and send it to and supply the appropriate fee (plus VAT) as set out in the Icon for pdf Pre Application Advice Fees Document [29KB] .

When you send anything to us, please quote 'PREAPP' and the site address, and provide your contact details.

Please see below for other documentation you can include with your submission.


Ways to pay

To pay for our Pre-App service you can:

Plans, supporting documents and information to provide

There may be further supporting material required than mentioned here, and your Planning Case Officer may request this during pre-application advice discussions.


  • Pre-Application Advice Request Form: complete and submit either the online form or the printable version - this states the location and includes an accurate, detailed written description of your proposal
  • A Site Location Plan clearly identifying the site or building in question

You may also include these other types of supporting document:

  • Block plan
  • Elevation Sketch Plan
  • Photographs

Commercially sensitive applications

If your application is commercially sensitive, you may want to optionally include a completed Icon for doc Commercially Sensitive Material Checklist [42KB] . You will also need to consider the Icon for pdf Planning Pre-Application Environmental Information Regulations (EIR) and Freedom of Information (FOI) guidance [3KB] .

The pre-application guidance we give will be based on a planning case officer's professional judgement and is overseen by a senior officer. Giving our advice doesn't mean we've agreed to the proposal, or made a decision on it ahead of a planning application being made. Applications still need to go through the full process of assessment.

After you've applied

Once we receive your completed application form along with your payment, we'll check it and give it to a case officer to manage. Where possible the same officer will deal with any subsequent planning application.

We'll send you an acknowledgement, along with a unique reference number, within five working days.

Depending on which option you've selected, the Planning Case Officer will then:

  • Carry out research, and identify any key issues likely to be raised by your proposal (if applicable)
  • Consult with relevant West Berkshire Council specialists (if applicable)
  • Arrange a Site Visit and/or meeting (if applicable)
  • Advise you of any amendments or alterations that could be made to improve your proposals and overcome planning concerns
  • Advise you on the possible outcome of a future planning application
  • Advise you on the possible 'Heads of Terms' that may apply to any necessary legal agreement

We will send a written response to you within the timeframes stated above. Sometimes the process takes longer than this to allow for the return of consultation responses. We'll let you know if this is the case and agree a revised target date.

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