Get planning pre-application advice

Planning and building control

Alert

We encourage you to get pre-application advice from us before you apply for planning permission.

Planning applications can raise complex issues and we can help homeowners, local businesses and developers through the process to deliver high-quality schemes.

For homeowners, this helps identify any areas that we think may need to be changed to make the proposal acceptable. For larger applications, it's important that you know early on if an idea is worth pursuing at an early stage, saving you time and money.

A planning officer will work with you to identify the level of detail required in your application, and will let you know which supporting materials are required.

While the outcome of your application cannot be guaranteed, it is more likely to succeed if you speak to us before submission, taking on board our recommendations.

Household advice service Click to get info

Our householder service gives planning advice on domestic extensions and alterations, such as lofts, windows, porches, garages and outbuildings, walls and fences, hard standings and access for vehicles, and satellite dishes. We also advise on any additional considerations if your property is in a conservation area or is a listed building.

We offer two options for householder pre-application advice:

  • a formal pre-application service - You submit a pre-application form and we will send you a full written response. This can take up to eight weeks.
  • an informal pre-application appointment - You’re given a 20 minute appointment to discuss your proposal with one of our planning officers. You will receive a  brief summary email of the meeting.

Our service gives you the opportunity to:

  • make sure your proposal is in line with our planning policies and other guidance
  • get advice to help you develop or change your proposal
  • get advice on what you need to submit as part of your application
  • get advice on revised schemes following a refusal, withdrawal or dismissal at appeal
  • get advice on how to resolve a planning breach, where an extension has been built without planning permission 

Some alterations don’t need planning permission, this is known as ‘permitted development’. Our pre-application advice service can’t tell you if your proposal falls under permitted development. Find out about permitted development on the government's Planning Portal.

Before applying for pre-application advice, we recommend that you read:

Request pre-application advice

To request pre-application advice, you need to provide:

  • a site plan at scale 1:1250 so that we can identify your location. You can buy site plans on the Planning Portal
  • photographs of your property - these must show the front, sides (where possible) and back of your property (looking down your garden and back towards your home if appropriate). It’s also useful to provide photos of your neighbouring properties and street
  • proposal plans, or proposal sketches demonstrating intended extensions

The advice we provide will depend on the details you include in your application, so please provide as much as you can. 

Request pre-application advice

To use this form, you'll need to log in, or sign up, to My Account, where you can manage all your online services. Find out how to set up your My Account.

We offer pre-application advice for small and medium proposals.

Small proposals are:

  • 1-3 units (including flat conversions)
  • new build or extensions of 100sqm - 499sqm
  • change of use - 100sqm - 499sqm
  • telecoms masts and equipment
  • advice on conditions, non-material amendments, minor material amendments

Medium proposals are:

  • 4-9 units (including flat conversions)
  • new build or extensions of 500sqm - 999sqm
  • change of use - 500sqm - 999sqm

What format does the advice take?

A planning officer will contact you within 10 working days of you sending in the request form, to discuss how to proceed with the advice. This might include potential site visits, meetings and a formal written response. In most cases we provide a formal written response, which we aim to send within six weeks of your request, unless otherwise agreed. 

Cost

Small proposals - £700 + VAT

Medium proposals - £1000 + VAT

If you need a further meeting, such as because of revised plans, there is a follow-up charge.

For details, see our pre-application advice charging schedule (PDF 222KB).

How to request advice

  1. Pay, using the online form below, making a note of your payment reference number 

Pay for pre-application planning advice

  1. Download and compete the request form Pre-application form: small and medium proposals (PDF 280KB)
  2. Email it to planningvalidation@walthamforest.gov.uk, writing your payment reference number on the email
  3. We will get back to you to confirm receipt and letting you know how to proceed

If you’re not sure how much to pay, complete the request form, and ask in the email for payment guidance.

We offer three different advice services for major proposals:

  • concept meeting
  • pre-application advice
  • Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) service (this service can be added as part of the pre-application advice service, if required)

Concept meeting

A concept meeting is recommended before you have plans drawn up, to discuss the principle of development on the site. The meeting lasts one hour.

After your meeting, we’ll send you a written response via email. We aim to send it within 15 working days, unless agreed otherwise. 

Please note, a concept meeting is to discuss only the key strategic and planning policy matters. No other plans regarding layouts, building heights will be considered. If you require further detailed assessment, please request a pre-application meeting for a major proposal.

Cost

The cost is £500 plus VAT.

How to request a concept meeting

A concept meeting is by pre-arranged appointment only.

  1. Pay, using the form below, making a note of your payment reference number 
  1. Download and complete the request form Pre-application form: concept meeting (PDF 280KB)
  2. Email it to planningvalidation@walthamforest.gov.uk, writing your payment reference number on the email
  3. We’ll get back to you to confirm receipt and let you know how to proceed

Pre-application advice

Before you apply for planning permission, you can take advantage of our pre-application advice service.

This takes the form of a pre-arranged meeting with a planning officer and other specialised officers (such as design, conservation, transport, housing, sustainability) if required.

It will last from one to two hours.  

Within 21 working days of the meeting, a planning officer will provide you with a formal written response. It will advise:

  • what level of development could be acceptable on the site
  • what relevant policies should be considered as part of the development to move pre-application discussions forward
  • whether or not your proposal is likely to be acceptable at application stage
  • what you need to do to make your application acceptable
  • how we will apply our policies to your proposal
  • what type of local engagement is appropriate
  • which type of application you need to submit, and what supporting documentation you will need to supply with it

General guidance about concept and pre-application meetings

Please follow these guidelines to get the most from your meeting:

  • please bring no more than three other people with you to the meeting and provide the name and job title of each attendee in advance
  • bring hard copies of all the information submitted

Please note, our officers will only be able to comment on the plans provided before the meeting. There won’t be an opportunity to review drawings or other changes to your scheme at the meeting.

Follow-up meetings may be arranged for an extra fee.

Cost

The cost will depend on the scale of your proposals:

  • small scale major proposals: £2500 plus VAT
  • medium scale major proposals: £3500 plus VAT
  • large scale major proposals: £5000 plus VAT
  • strategic major proposals: £6500 plus VAT

Please see our charging schedule (PDF 222KB) for full costing details

How to request pre-application advice for a major proposal

  1. Pay, using the online form below, making a note of your payment reference number 
  1. Download and complete the request form Pre-application form: major proposals
  2. Email it to planningvalidation@walthamforest.gov.uk, writing your payment reference number on the email
  3. We’ll get back to you to confirm receipt and let you know how to proceed 
If you’re not sure how much to pay, complete the request form, and ask in the email for payment guidance.

Planning Performance Agreement (PPA)

If your proposal is complex, you might benefit from entering into a planning performance agreement (PPA) with us.

We receive a number of significant major development schemes that are often complex due to issues such as design, height and density, particularly if the proposal is in, or close to, an area of special character. Often many of these schemes involve complex discussions around scheme viability.

A PPA sets out a timetable for progressing a major planning application.

To ensure that the proposals are of the highest quality, we will work with you from project inception to planning decisions being determined and all associated conditions discharged.

Our PPA service will draw up a clear timetable of meetings between specialist officers and consultants (such as conservation design, highways, sustainability and viability) to help overcome issues associated with the planning process. This can be particularly beneficial in speeding up the process and minimising risks.

Please note, a PPA doesn't prejudice the outcome of a planning application or guarantee planning permission.

How to request our PPA service

If we think this might benefit you, we will suggest it during your pre-application meeting.

Cost

This is a bespoke service. As such, the cost will depend on the complexity of the PPA and the numbers of meeting required. We will agree costs with you before you sign up to the agreement.