Pre-planning application advice service

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Click here to download application forms for pre-applications.

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Pre-planning application advice service

The city council is committed to providing an efficient, effective and customer focused planning service, which helps guide developers through the planning process to ensure that high quality developments can be delivered.

We seek to provide a positive climate for pre-application discussions, offering a development team approach with impartial and professional advice within an agreed timeframe. The service is structure to provide an ‘in principle’ feed back on your proposal as well as more detailed discussions and negotiations on a scheme before you submit a formal planning application,

The service is not compulsory and may not be appropriate for all situations. However, the Council actively encourages pre-application discussions for all development and particularly more detailed and complex major development proposals before submission for formal consideration.

What are the advantages for customers?

There are many benefits for customers, in having preliminary discussions with the city council including:

  • Confirmation as to whether planning or related permissions such as Listed Building Consent are needed;
  • Obtaining information about the planning history of the site;
  • Gaining a clearer understanding of planning policies and other material planning considerations such as transportation issues, landscaping, noise/odour nuisances etc
  • Possible cost saving in not proceeding with an application if the Council advises that there are difficult issues to overcome and which suggest a high risk of refusal;
  • Improved quality of the planning application as a result of officer advice, which may suggest improvement or alteration;
  • Information on which other bodies to consult early - for example the Environment Agency and the Lead Local Flood Authority in areas subject to flooding;
  • A better understanding of timescales, administrative and committee processes; as well as guidance on the level and nature of information required to meet the national and local validation requirements.
  • An increased chance of a quicker decision on the application and reduced risk of protracted Committee and appeal processes;
  • Detailed negotiations can result in the relevant details being submitted at the planning application stage and thus avoiding the need for some conditions;
  • A validation meeting with planning officers and administration staff would be offered to assist in the submission and validation of planning applications;
  • In the case of major or clearly contentious proposals, obtaining advice on how to involve the community and the possibility of entering into a Planning Performance Agreement, enabling legal agreements and other issues which may delay decisions being addressed and resolved prior to the submission of a formal application.
  • Urban Design Guidance for Pre Applications (pdf, 1mb)

How do I obtain pre-application advice?

In order to manage the process all enquiries should be submitted on the pre-application enquiry form and submitted together with the relevant fee and necessary supporting documents as described in the checklist on the form. Click here to download the form from our website and forward it with the necessary supporting information to or by post to Newcastle City Council, Development Management, 9th Floor, Civic Centre, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.

Charging arrangements

In accordance with the Local Government Act 2003, it has been agreed to introduce charges in order to recover the costs of providing the service. The charging will be levied on all pre application requests received after the 1 September 2010.

A two stage charging structure has been introduced. Stage one is to provide an initial assessment and advice on a proposal including a single meeting either on site or in the office with the case officer and a written response on the enquiry. Limited internal consultation will be carried out but we will not normally engage with external consultees at this stage. The response will provide advice on the principle of the proposal and will identify key issues to be addressed as far as these can be identified at this early stage. No detailed advice will be given on the detail of the scheme at this stage.

Following on from stage 1 developers will have the option of moving to stage 2. This will allow for more detailed discussions and may involve external consultees, where necessary. It will also cover such matters as Heads of Terms of legal agreements and scoping the content of various studies such as Transport Assessments necessary to support a planning application. Stage 2 may involve a series of meetings to discuss and resolve issues prior to the submission of the application. Developers may choose not to opt for stage 1 but to have a single comprehensive response. In this case the flat rate fee applies. Advice from the city council acting as lead local flood authority can be obtained under a separate pre-application process (see end of this section).

The fee will be required before a request for pre application advice will be processed.

Click here to go through to our online payment page. Select 'Pre-application fees' from the list.

Exemptions to the charging scheme have been introduced to reflect the fee regulation exemptions.  This includes repair and maintenance to listed buildings, conservation area consent, adaptation of a property to improve the comfort of a disabled person, works to trees covered by tree preservation orders and trees in conservation area. Domestic extensions will also be exempt.

    Charging Stage 1 fees for seeking an in principle view including 1 meeting and written advice.
All fees quoted include VAT
Charging Stage 2 fees for detailed pre-application enquiries leading to submission of a planning application.
All fees quoted include VAT
1 Minor Developments:
1-4 dwellings, or creation or change of use of 10 - 499 sq m floor space
£180 for each site
A further fee of £240 as a follow on from stage 1, or
flat rate of £420
2 Medium Developments:
5 - 9 dwellings, or creation or change of use of 500 - 999 sq m floor space
£420 for each site A further fee of £780 as a follow on from stage 1, or
 flat rate of £1200
3 Major Developments:
10 - 99 dwellings , or creation or change of use of 1,000 - 9,999 sq m floor space
Applications likely to need EIA
£600 for each site A further fee of £1800 as a follow on from stage 1, or
flat rate of £2400
4 Large Strategic Developments:
100 or more dwellings, or creation or change of use of 10,000 sq m or more floor space
All minerals developments. Outline or hybrid applications over 5ha
Price on application Price on application
5 Exemptions:
- Adverts
- Works to trees
- Works to listed buildings
- Local charities solely reliant on local donations
6 Householder Developments:
Extensions to domestic houses and flats
Click here to see our household page for further advice and guidance

What information do I need to provide?

The council will require certain information to be submitted with your pre-application enquiry to ensure that proper evaluation and robust feedback can be given. The pre-application enquiry form provides a checklist of the information that should be submitted. 

The level of information that should be submitted should be commensurate with the scale of the development that you are proposing. Plans and information about the existing site conditions, as well as specific details of your proposal are required so as to enable a desktop analysis to be carried out by officers. The more comprehensive the information supplied, the more detailed our response will be.

How long will it take?

Within 5 working days of receipt of the pre-application enquiry form, fee and supporting information you will receive an acknowledgement confirming receipt of the pre-application request and the case officer contact details.

On most minor developments we will aim to send you a letter with our pre-application advice within 28 working days of receipt of all information.

We will aim to respond to stage 1 medium and major projects within 35 working days of receipt of all information.

On all stage 2 projects and for strategic and complex developments a timetable for processing the pre-application enquiry will be agreed in writing following receipt of the proposal. This will allow us to tailor the service to your requirements. The applicant can also enter into a Planning Performance Agreement to set out timescales for the submission and determination of an application.

What advice can I expect to receive?

You will receive a written response to your proposal which will seek to provide clear guidance on the principle of development. The level of detail in the reply will depend on whether you have requested a stage 1 or a stage 2 response. The response may include the following information:

  • Local, regional, and national policies that are relevant; whether the scheme complies in principle or not; how policies would be applied;
  • Land Designations: which are relevant to the site e.g. Conservation Area, Listed Buildings, Green Belt, etc
  • Residential development: acceptability of mix of units; standard of accommodation; affordable housing;
  • Design: comments on built form, scale, massing, views, street scene, patterns, historic context, etc;
  • Crime prevention: comments with respect to 'Secure by Design' principles;
  • Amenity: which properties may be affected and what further assessment may be required in terms of daylight/sunlight studies, noise studies, tree surveys etc;
  • Transport and highways: advice and comments on servicing, access, parking standards, cycle parking, disabled parking, requirements for transport impact assessment etc;
  • Public consultations: whether engaging in community consultation is appropriate and who to consult;
  • Financial contributions: possible heads of terms or planning obligations that may be necessary;
  • Documentation or information requirements: what you will need to submit with your formal planning application; possible timescales for processing; Committee dates etc.
  • Validation meeting: a meeting with the planning case officer and administration team will be offered to check that the application meets the validation checklist.


The Council will make every effort to ensure that the advice given in the pre-application process is as accurate as possible. However, any advice given by council officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal response or decision of the Council with regards to any future planning applications and, whilst it may be a material consideration, cannot be held to bind the council in its validation or formal determination of a subsequent application.

If an application is subsequently submitted which fails to take on board advice given by officers, then the council may refuse it without further discussion with the applicant or their agent.

Lead Local Flood Authority pre-application advice

The City Council also acts as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) and is a statutory consultee in relation to surface water management on all major applications and any development that may affect a watercourse or waterbody. All applications which have the potential to impact upon surface water runoff, groundwater and watercourses are strongly advised to seek pre-application advice from the council’s Flood Management Team. The benefits of undertaking this pre-application service include:

  • Early advice on flood management issues that could affect a sites development options;
  • Advice on the scope of a flood risk assessment to accompany an application;
  • Advice regarding surface water management measures appropriate for the development, generating greater cost certainty to the development;
  • Increasing the speed at which the flood management impacts of the development can be assessed at the application stage and associated certainty in the application being approved;
  • Advice regarding whether any proposed SuDS can be adopted by the Council  and other long term management issues;
  • The early involvement of the LLFA will save the developer time and money over the length of the planning process.

It should be noted that the LLFA will have limited scope to negotiate amendments to an application once it is registered. The formal response of the LLFA regarding a planning application will be based purely on the information submitted. Guidance regarding the LLFA pre-planning application process can be found here.

Building Regulations pre-application advice

We are able to engage our colleagues in Building Control to offer advice on Building Regulation matters as part of the pre-application planning process.

The early involvement of Building Control as part of the pre-application planning process can be particularly beneficial on complex or large scale projects or where there may be difficult design considerations to be overcome in achieving compliance with both planning and building regulation requirements.

Building Control's pre-application service can offer advice to clients in identifying key design issues impacting upon Building Regulations compliance and assist in the practical resolution of these matters.

The aim of the service is to reduce the impact and necessity for late design changes and to speed the process to Building Regulations approval upon submission of formal Building Regulations applications. This offers the potential to save clients time and unnecessary expense.

The Building Regulations pre-application advice service is currently provided free of charge.

Building Control contact details

Phone: 0191 278 7878 and ask for Building Control Service

Newcastle Building Control Services
Civic Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne

Development Management contact details

At our Customer Service Centre
Phone: 0191 2787878 and ask for Planning.


In writing:

Development Management
Civic Centre
Barras Bridge
Newcastle upon Tyne

Page last updated: 
28 July 2017
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