Pre-application advice service

Planning championWe offer an expert pre-application advice service to support you with your planning application needs. This can save you time and money before you put in your application and will ensure that you submit the right information.

Our service can help you by:

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

There are two types of pre-application services:

Householder developments: This is for homeowners wishing to alter or extend their homes, minor domestic proposals or permitted development. For further help see the pre-application advice flowchart and Pre-application advice service guidance.

Major and Minor developments: This is for change of use, commercial properties, new builds, large major schemes. The flowchart and accompanying details give full guidance (please see the documents section). For larger developments, typically 100 or more dwellings and/or 10,000sq.m of commercial floorspace, it will be a formal chargeable service. With officers making accompanied site visits (where requested) and producing a written report of their findings. We encourage applicants to enter into a Planning Performance Agreement (PPA).

The Southampton Design Advisory Panel can help with pre-application advice by acting as the public's experts on matters of design and through its advice to assist in continually raising the standard and quality of places, spaces and buildings across the city.

Our aim

Our aim is to make sure that you are in a strong position to address all the apparent planning considerations. This includes the need for any financial contributions or community improvements that mitigate against the scheme’s direct impact prior to the submission of an application.

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

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)

How to apply for pre-application advice

Our online form allows you to apply for pre-application advice and pay online, saving time.

Apply for pre-application advice

Alternative way to apply

You can also apply via our offline Pre-application form. Please complete the form and email it to, along with the pre-application service fees and relevant documents listed above. We would strongly advise you to use our online form, as this will make sure that your request is processed as quickly as possible.

If you cannot use our online payment system, you can also make payment to us via cheque, BACS or via the cash office at Gateway.