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Householder and Small Business Planning Advice

For householder and small business queries, we offer 15 minutes of free advice and guidance with a planning officer, via our Householder and Small Business Planning Advice. This should be used for advice in the very early stages of your planning application (typically prior to having had plans drawn up), or where you have a question around a particular aspect of planning, including queries related to permitted development.

Appointments for our Householder and Small Business Planning Advice are limited and typically fill up quickly.  Please use our General Guidance to find answers to many common questions that may result in you not needing to make an appointment. In addition, the ‘Common Projects’ page on the Planning Portal has information on over 50 typical homeowner building projects.

Please do not use the appointment to discuss multiple queries at the same or different locations - in order to keep to 15 minutes, the officer will only deal with the query entered into the appointment booking form.

What can the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice advise on?

  • Simple extensions (typically these would be of single storey or no bigger than 40m2. For larger, more complex or multiple extensions at the same property, please use our Pre-Application Service.
  • Construction of new garages or outbuildings, or conversions of existing garages or outbuildings.
  • Construction of the following:
    • Conservatory or porches
    • Private swimming pool
    • Dormer window(s)
    • Roof alterations
    • Solar panels and other renewable energy measures such as air source heat pumps
    • Cycle shelters
  • Queries over garden or boundary walls and fences
  • Conditions that have been attached to a householder planning permission
  • Advice on old planning applications or permitted development (including properties in conservation areas)
  • For small businesses, you can use the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice for business development queries, including a change of use or extension for business premises up to 100m2. For larger businesses, please use our Pre-Application Service.
  • Note that for any alterations or extensions to a Council-owned property, including garden or boundary walls or fences, you will first need permission from either South Cambridgeshire Housing our Cambridge City Housing before contacting the Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service.

After your call, if you feel you still need further advice, then please make a further appointment. The planning officer assigned may be a different individual, but will have access to any notes that were made during the first call. However, if the Planning Officer feels that you are looking for a level of detail that is best dealt with via the Pre-Application Service, you will be directed to that service instead.

The Householder and Small Business Planning Advice service should not be used for the following:

Please note that the Planning Officer cannot:

  • provide an opinion on whether planning permission would or would not be granted
  • discuss the technical merits of applications, refusals or appeals
  • agree to any minor amendments to planning permissions
  • discuss enforcement enquiries
  • deal with the discharge of any planning conditions on a decision notice
  • take payment for any planning service
  • provide any written response or documentation

Any advice provided is informal and provided in good faith, based on the information and evidence made available at the time. Such advice is the individual opinion of the Officer and is not a formal decision of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service.

If you're based in South Cambridgeshire, please log into MySouthCambs and use the Planning option.

If you're based in Cambridge city, please phone the contact centre on 01223 457000 to book an appointment.