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Pre-application advice and charges

Please note: The planning service is experiencing high levels of demand for pre-application advice and due to this there may be a delay in our assessment and response to these. We will advise you if this is the case. Any potential delay will vary depending on the nature and complexity of the proposal. 

Please be assured that Case Officers are working extremely hard to progress these, and other service demands, as quickly as possible. We ask that customers respect our Officers when they are providing a planning service and that they treat them fairly and appropriately. Behaviours which are unreasonable or excessively challenging towards any individual will not be tolerated.

We take a proactive approach to development proposals and we encourage applicants to enter into discussions before submitting a planning application. This will allow any issues to be identified and discussed at an early stage so that possible solutions can be suggested.  Any advice given will be objective but will be without prejudice to the formal consideration of any subsequent application.

The Borough Council website contains a wealth of information that may assist you with your planning enquiry:

Local Planning Policy documents are available here:

The Planning Portal website also contains useful advice, including interactive guides for domestic related development, to help you determine whether you need to apply for planning permission.  For more detail visit The Planning Portal website.

The scale and type of development where a pre-application advice fee applies is set out below.

Planning History

Complete planning history details are not available online. However, they can be requested. Here are our contact details.

Pre-Application Advice Fees

The scale and type of development where a pre-application advice fee applies is set out below. The fees are inclusive of VAT. The Council will only issue a VAT invoice if requested.

Householder Development

Householder Development


Extension to dwelling/works within domestic curtilage


Residential Development

Number of Dwellings Created


1 dwelling (includes one-for-one replacements)


2-4 dwellings


5-9 dwellings


10-49 dwellings


50-99 dwellings


100-199 dwellings


200+ dwellings


Non-Residential Development (Floor Space)

Floor Space (measured externally)


Less than 500 square metres


500 square metres - 999 square metres


1000 square metres - 1999 square metres


2000 square metres - 4999 square metres


5000 square metres - 9999 square metres


10000 square metres or greater


Non-Residential Development (Site Area) Where No Building Operations Are Proposed

Site Area


Less than 0.5 hectares


0.6 hectares - 0.99 hectares


1 hectares - 1.25 hectares


1.26 hectares - 2 hectares


Greater than 2 hectares


Engineering Works

Engineering Operations


All engineering works


Planning Conditions

Planning Conditions




External Advice

External Specialist Advice (Pre-Application Stage and Formal Application Stage)


Procured advice in connection with planning proposals

Full recovery cost

External Advice Information

The Council will seek to obtain the full cost of obtaining external specialist advice from the applicant in connection with relevant pre-application enquiries and formal planning proposals, including the variation of legal agreements.  Prior notification applications subject to the 28 day determination limitation are specifically excluded from this process.

The cost of submitting a pre- application enquiry is set locally through the Council’s annual review of Fees and Charges. This cost seeks to cover Officer time and assists in making the Planning service more cost neutral to the Council as a whole.

In February 2020, this review introduced the concept of recovering other costs associated with the Planning service.  In a limited number of cases the Council will need to obtain external specialist advice in connection with planning queries. Such advice may be needed, for example where the applicant presents a viability case to justify a development approach; where the agricultural need for a development requires consideration; specific advice as to the ecological potential of a site or the urban design credentials of a scheme. This expertise is not always available in-house and in such instances the Council uses a Framework of appointed independent advisors to critically evaluate such proposals.

As of 1 April 2020, the principle of recovering the cost of securing external advice from the applicant has been agreed through the Council's decision-making processes. The benefit of the development is seen by the applicant and thus the principle of the applicant paying these additional and unusual costs is justified. This approach is also in line with other Councils within Worcestershire.

The Council will be responsible for notifying the applicant/agent that this process applies and will seek the applicant’s agreement in principle to pay these costs. The Council will then, using the Framework, secure the relevant advice and pay the external advisor. Once the applicant has reimbursed the Council, the relevant information will be released and the merits of its contents evaluated.

If payment is not received the Council reserves the right to withhold the contents of the obtained advice.  In relation to formal applications, the scheme may be refused on the grounds that the proposal has not been appropriately adjudicated.  The Council may also need to continue to procure advice in order to inform its position. If the scheme is refused and a subsequent appeal is lodged, it may be appropriate for the Council to seek to recover those costs through an appropriate costs claim.

Costs are subject to VAT at the normal rate. Payment should be made to the Council using the invoice number provided. When making a payment it is advised that you also notify the relevant Case Officer accordingly.

Change of Use Schemes

With respect to changes of use schemes, if the development is a change to create dwellings, the charge will be for the number of dwellings created. If the change is to another use, the charge will be based on the floor area created or the site area involved if there are no building operations proposed.

Fee Concessions

Some pre-application advice is provided free of charge. For example, where the development is for the direct benefit of a disabled person (and as such there would be no fee incurred to make the planning application) (the list of fee exemptions set out in the national fee schedule defines these as (a) the extension and/or alteration relates to a disabled person's dwelling house to improve access, safety, comfort etc. and (b) the proposal is for the provision of a means of access for disabled persons to public buildings) or where works relate to a Listed Building and such works require Listed Building Consent only.

Some pre-application advice is provided at a reduced or concessionary rate. If the proposal is being submitted by or is for the benefit of a Parish Council or other Local Authority, then the appropriate fee is reduced by 50%. If the scheme relates to a solely affordable housing scheme and the applicant is a Registered Social Landlord or a registered Housing Association, the appropriate fee is reduced by 50%.

Worcestershire County Council Pre-Application Highway Advice

In addition to our charges, Worcestershire County Council Highways have a separate fee charging schedule for pre-application advice. The document setting out the County's pre-application process and associated fees is available here.

Get advice

You can telephone and speak to an Officer or email us details of your proposals by using our contact details

For pre-application advice, please complete and return this downloadable request form and pay the relevant pre-application fee.

Pay for your advice

  1. Via BACS electronic transfer. Use sort code 309697 and account number 00369020 and quote 3201–90010–41170 and the site address. It is important that you telephone the planning team on 01527 881770 to confirm the transaction
  2. With a cheque with the first line of the site address on the reverse and a covering letter to this address
  3. Cash payments are not accepted
  4. Request a secure payment link - please contact us, here are our contact details.

More advice and help

Here is a wealth of first class advice on a range of small scale projects on the Planning Portal for homes and businesses from the national planning advice website.

Working from home

You do not necessarily need planning permission to work from home.

The key test is whether the overall character of the dwelling will change as a result of the business.

If the answer to any of the following questions is yes, it is likely that planning permission will be required:

  • Will your home no longer be used mainly as a private residence?
  • Will your business result in a marked rise in traffic or people calling?
  • Will your business involve any activities unusual in a residential area?
  • Will your business disturb your neighbours at unreasonable hours or create other forms of nuisance such as noise or smells?

Further information on working from home is available here.

Wildlife Assessment Check

The UK Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning has released a free online pre-planning application tool – the Wildlife Assessment Check.  The tool is designed to help householders and smaller developers who are making planning applications, permitted developments or works to Listed Buildings who may be less aware of biodiversity legislation and their responsibility to consider protected and priority species, as well as statutory designated sites that may be impacted by their works.  The tool allows applicants to check whether their proposed site and works are likely to require expert ecological advice before making a planning application. 

You can find out more about the tool here.

Privacy Notice

We collect, hold and process information supplied by you in accordance with the Data Protection Act, to allow us to provide services effectively.

The Privacy Notice for Development Management relating to pre-application advice is available here.

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