Pre-application advice service

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.

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
  • The opportunity to present your scheme to our independent Design Advisory Panel

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.

Confidentiality Statement

We will endeavour to keep your request for pre-Planning advice confidential. However, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI Act 2000) and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR 2004), it may be necessary for details of your submission, and our pre-application advice, to be disclosed upon request.

If you are submitting information which you consider to be confidential, such as commercially sensitive information, you should indicate this as part of your pre-application submission with justification as to why the details should not be disclosed under the above legislation. The online form will ask you to complete a free text box explaining your justification, but feel free to supplement through your submission.

If a request under FOI/EIR is received the Council will consider your request to retain information from public disclosure. However, the passage of time may mean that the information you submit is no longer sufficiently sensitive to be considered confidential.

Types of pre-application services

Householder developments

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

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. 

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 (DAP). The DAP is only for those applicants that have formally engaged in the formal pre-application service offered by the Council.

Apply for pre-application advice

Pre-application advice fees fall into a number of categories – for full details please visit our Fees for pre-application advice service page.


Before you fill in this form

If you are an agent submitting a pre-application on behalf of a client, and wish the client to make payment, please do not complete this form. Instead, email the pre-application and all supporting documentation to

You won't be able to save this form to complete later, so please allow yourself 10 minutes to fill in the form.

You will also need the following details. Payment is needed to submit the application but the following documents are optional to provide. However, the documents would give us a good understanding of the pre-application advice needed so please include them if possible:

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

Request for pre-application planning advice