Pre-application advice

We are committed to delivering a high quality pre-application advice service which provides professional and timely information and advice to customers. We have therefore introduced a new enhanced pre-application service (commencing on 4 July 2016). This will enable the delivery of timely advice, at the detail required, according to the type of advice requested and the complexity of the proposals under consideration. Related planning pages on the website have also been updated and improved to provide a wealth of information on planning related matters.

Pre-application advice is a good way of getting feedback on your development proposals.

  • Officers can advise on all necessary plans and supporting documentation required which will reduce delays in the validation process.
  • It can increase your chances of submitting a successful planning application.
  • The advice provided will guide applicants through the issues and policies relevant to their scheme, based on the information submitted with the request.
  • Officers will also advise on how issues should be approached and give an indication of whether a scheme is likely to be successful, but no guarantees can or will be given about the decision that will be made on any such application.

Applicants should be aware that officers cannot always foresee every issue that may arise during the course of a planning application, including whether or not an application will be determined under delegated powers, or by councillors at the Development Control Committee who may not agree with the advice provided by officers. 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.

You can pre-book a 30 minute meeting to obtain advice from a Planning Officer between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday for householder developments

Appointments between:

  • 9am and 1pm will be at Council offices, West Suffolk House, Bury St Edmunds
  • 1pm and 5pm will be at Council offices, College Heath Road, Mildenhall.

Where a meeting is requested, it is expected that contact will be made within five working days from the receipt of any such request in order that a meeting date be arranged for a mutually convenient time thereafter.

Where written advice only is sought then it is expected that this will be provided within 20 working days from the receipt of any such request.

Where written advice is sought following a meeting it is expected that this will be provided within 20 working days from the date of any such meeting.

Please note that this is a West Suffolk wide service and you can attend a meeting at either office regardless of the location of the development or the site that you wish to discuss provided it is within our area.

Planning officers are unable to provide advice about appropriate works to trees. You may wish to contact a tree surgeon.

The pre-application advice charging schedule offers flexible fee options according to the nature of development proposed.

Exemptions to fees will only apply in the following circumstances:

  • enquiries relating to proposals for alterations or extensions to a dwelling house for the benefit of a registered disabled person
  • an enquiry relating to a proposal for the carrying out of operations for the purposes of providing a means of access for disabled persons to or within a building or premises to which members of the public are admitted
  • if the enquiry is being made by or on behalf of a parish council then the fee is 50%

If you would like pre-application advice, you will need to submit your request through the online pre-application advice form: