What is the pre-application advice service?

Our pre-application advice service supports customers with their planning application needs by offering guidance before a planning application is submitted. This can save you time and money and will ensure that you provide the right information.

A planning officer will assist you and ensure you are in a strong position to address any planning considerations, such as the need for design changes, financial contributions or community improvements to help lessen the application’s impact.

Benefits of using the service

Our service can help you by:

  • Identifying key planning issues and requirements
  • Speeding up the development process
  • Minimising subsequent planning application costs
  • Avoiding unfinished applications

If you submit a planning application without any pre-application discussions, and there are difficulties that are unlikely to be capable of resolution within the statutory time frame, negotiations will not normally be entered into and the decision is likely to be a refusal.

Types of pre-application services

Householder developments

This is for homeowners wishing to alter or extend their homes, minor domestic proposals or permitted developments

For further help see the pre-application advice flowchart.

Major and minor development

This is for change of use, commercial properties, new builds and large major schemes.For major developments it will be a formal chargeable service with officers making accompanied site visits (where requested) and producing a written report of their findings. 

For further help see the pre-application advice flowchart.

We encourage applicants to enter into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA). This process seeks to secure early agreement between the parties as to the type of development within a defined programme, with a greater likelihood of a favourable decision.

See the PPA process and template

Applicants who have submitted proposals for pre-application advice on major schemes may be invited to give a short presentation of their proposals to the Southampton Design Advisory Panel.

What you need before you start your pre-application

  • Location Plan with site outlined in red on an Ordnance Survey (OS) licensed plan (1:1250)
  • Outline plan of proposed buildings (1:200)
  • Current use and proposed use (including amount of development)
  • Photographs, sketch drawings of site and surroundings (scale not necessary but measurements must be included)
  • Sketch drawing showing height and scale of development
  • Draft design and access statement (based on contextual survey and analysis of site constraints and opportunities)
  • Name(s) of all owners/mortgagees of the land (major proposals only)
  • Any community involvement you have undertaken (for example, consultations with interest groups)


Fees fall into four categories – for full details, and exemptions, visit our Fees for pre-application advice service page.

Please note that the pre-app fees currently listed were set in 2009. Following a review these fees will be increasing for submissions received on or after 1 October 2020 and this decision was deferred by the Council from 1 April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Apply for pre-application advice

  • Southampton City Council are currently experiencing some technical difficulties with the online Pre-application form.

  • Therefore, until further notice if you experience a problem or would like any further assistance please email: planning@southampton.gov.uk.

Both types of pre-application service can be applied for using the online form below. Payment is processed at the time of submission, ensuring that the application is not delayed, so have your credit/debit card to hand.

Apply for pre-application advice

Alternatively, the offline version of the form can be used. Download and complete the form, before emailing it back to us, along with the relevant fees and documents listed above.