Pre-application advice

Due to unprecedented demand for our pre-application advice service and significant increases in planning application submissions, we have regretfully taken the decision to temporarily suspend our current 20 working day response target. We will still endeavour to respond as quickly as we can and will always seek to assist where possible in relation to urgent enquiries.

We remain committed to delivering a high quality pre-application advice service which provides professional and timely information and advice to customers. This will enable the delivery of timely advice, at the level of 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 therefore 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 remote 30 minute telephone or video call (using Microsoft Teams) meeting to obtain advice from a Planning Officer between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday for householder developments.

Where any kind of 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.

Planning officers are unable to provide advice about appropriate works to trees. You may wish to contact a tree surgeon, or an arboricultural consultant.

Please also note that this pre-application service is not able to offer specific listed buildings advice, or specialist wider heritage advice. If informal specialist advice is also required in connection with listed buildings, including development within their curtilage, this should be sought at an early stage in the design process and prior to finalising your proposals, by contacting the conservation officers directly by email.

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

It is now possible to pay for additional advice from Suffolk County Council at the same time as you seek advice from West Suffolk Council. Advice is available in relation to highway related matters, as well in relation to sustainable drainage and flood risk management, with more details of this set out below. 

Sustainable drainage systems and flood risk management

Advice on flooding and sustainable management of surface water can be included with your pre-application enquiry through our online pre-application enquiry service.

The Flood and Water Management team at Suffolk County Council (SCC) are a statutory consultee on surface water drainage proposals for major developments (10+ dwellings, 1,000+ square metres of floor space or sites in excess of 1 hectare).

We strongly recommend that all applicants for major developments (or minor applications where drainage and flood risk may be a significant constraint) seek pre-application advice regarding surface water drainage and flood risk as we can help you meet national/local policy and guidance and assist with a more straightforward route through the planning process. 

Advice can be requested as a ‘bolt-on’ via our pre-application service. Visit SCC's website for more information on what the Flood and Water Management team do. 

To enable the Flood and Water team to provide the most detailed advice possible, we need some information about the site and the proposals. This section sets out the documents required to process pre-application enquiries involving Suffolk County Council’s Flood and Water team. 

Please note your pre-app will not be validated until the information required is provided. 

Any pre application enquiries for 50+ dwellings or non-residential developments over 5,000sqm must be accompanied by a site-specific flood risk assessment or flood risk check. Details on Flood risk assessments can be found at GOV.UK: Flood risk assessment for planning applications. Flood risk maps can be found at GOV.UK: Check long term flood risk.

Information on historic flooding events can be sought be emailing floods@suffolk.gov.uk or visiting the SCC website: Flooding and drainage.

Flood risk assessments (FZ3 or Site Area over 1 hectare) must include an evaluation of flood risk (fluvial, pluvial and groundwater) to the site (SCC may require modelling of ordinary watercourse if EA Flood Maps not available).

Contour plan to include an assessment of topography/flow paths/blue corridors. 

Preliminary site investigation report to contain a minimum of three or more trial pits to BRE 365 and associated exploratory logs (check for groundwater). 

Preliminary hydraulic calculations to include:

  • discharge Rates (using suitable method that is, FEH, IH124 (ICPSUDS) or modified rational method (brownfield sites)
  • storage volume
  • long term storage (if required) 

Please visit Suffolk County Council's guidance on development and flood risk webpage for more information.

We must receive these documents in order to proceed with your enquiry.

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