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Pre-application advice

Duty planner service 

For domestic (householder) queries only, we offer 15 minutes of free advice and guidance with a duty planning officer to support you with your planning application relating to your home. The duty planner can answer questions about: 

  • the planning application process for householder applications
  • how householder planning applications are assessed 
  • conditions that have been attached to a householder planning permission 
  • extensions, conservatories or a porch 
  • a garage or outbuilding 
  • new or altered vehicle access 
  • dormer windows or roof alterations 
  • a wall or fence 
  • new windows or doors 

The appointments are over the phone and available on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings from 9:40am to 12:20pm. Book a duty planner appointment.

Pre-application meeting and/or written advice 

We offer various kinds of paid-for pre-application advice, which can save time and money for anyone considering submitting a planning application. Options range from a 30-minute video call consultation, through to meetings and written responses from specialist officers. This service can: 

  • identify the main planning issues for your proposal and how you could address them 
  • tell you what you need to submit with your planning application 
  • speed up the overall process of getting planning permission 
  • reduce the costs of your eventual application 
  • avoid applications getting rejected by us due to insufficient information or applying for the wrong type of permission. 

Our pre-application advice service cannot guarantee that any subsequent application will be approved, but it will give you an indication of how successful it may be. 

How long does it take? 

After you have submitted and paid for your request for pre-application advice, we will aim to acknowledge that we have received your application and tell you which case officer has been allocated to your case, within 10 workings days.

Once your pre-application has been acknowledged, we will aim to provide a written response within 4 weeks for householder advice and 6 weeks for other types of advice.

How much does it cost? 

Fees are shown when you choose your required option through the Cambridge City and South Cambridgeshire forms. 

Fees are waived for Parish Councils, small charities and applications specifically required for the needs of disabled persons. 

Payment is taken online via a credit or debit card. 

Apply for pre-application advice 

Apply online via the Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire websites. 

If you aren't a resident of Cambridge City or South Cambs, then visit either website where you can complete as a guest.  

Pre-application follow up 

Pre-application follow-up advice is only available after a pre-application written response has been issued, and in agreement with the planning officer assigned to your case. Pay for your pre-app follow-up  

Planning Performance Agreements 

A Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) is a project management tool which the local planning authorities and applicants can use to agree timescales, actions and resources for handling particular applications.

PPA can be used on applications of varying size and complexity but can be particularly useful in setting out an efficient and transparent process for developing a large and/or complex planning application. They encourage joint working between the applicant and local planning authority, and can also help to bring together other parties such as statutory consultees.

A PPA does not commit the local planning authority to a particular outcome. It is instead a commitment to a process and timetable for determining an application.

Further detail on PPA is provided on the planning performance agreement webpage.