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Request planning advice

We can give you advice before you submit your planning application. This can help you understand any key issues your application might face and the likelihood of it being supported.

We offer 2 different types of advice:

  • written
  • meeting

We provide written advice for all requests, providing you give us the information we need.

We only offer meetings for major development proposals, such as 10 or more dwellings or a building of more than 1,000 square metres.



Type of development Written Meeting
Householder development £118 Not applicable
Minor development (1 to 9 dwellings) £236 £118
Small major development (10 to 50 dwellings) £531 £118
Large major development (10 to 499 dwellings) £1652 £118
Strategic development (over 500 dwellings) PPA PPA
House in multiple occupation £236 £118


Type of development Written Meeting
Change of use (up to 100sqm) £300 Not applicable
Minor commercial (creation of 0 to 999 sqm of floor space or over 0.1 ha) £500 £650
Major commercial (creation of 1000 sqm or more of floor space or over 1.0 ha) PPA PPA

If you’d like to follow up on the written response or meeting, we charge a fee of £85 per hour for a Planning Officer, £100 per hour for a Senior Planning Officer, or £150 per hour for a Principal Planning Officer.

If you’d like additional specialist advice from another officer included in the written response or meeting, we charge a fee of £100 for any type of development (although this will be charged per hour if it requires more intensive research).

If you’d like another officer to attend the meeting, we charge a fee of £500 for the Head of Service, £400 for the Planning and Building Control Manager, or £300 for the Planning Manager.  

Make a request

To make a request for advice you need to email: or write to: Planning and Building Control, Harlow Council, Civic Centre, The Water Gardens, Harlow, Essex, CM20 1WG.

You’ll need to make sure you specify which type of advice you’d like and make the subject of your email ‘Request for pre-application planning advice’.

What you need to provide

To make a request, you will need to provide:

  • detailed location plan of the site, its boundaries and neighbours
  • description of the development (including the uses, the amount of development proposed for each use and the maximum and minimum height, width and length of each building)
  • layout plan showing any separate development areas within the site and access points
  • description of how the development will affect the surrounding area
  • explanation of why you would like to meet and suggested location and time (for meeting requests only)

If you would like a more detailed response, you will also need to provide:

  • existing and proposed floor plans and elevations
  • survey drawing of existing and proposed site levels
  • tree survey or arboricultural report (if there are trees affected by the development)
  • explanation of the rationale for the design

After we receive your request

Once we receive your request for written planning advice, as long as you have provided all the information we need, we will:

  • research the planning history of the site
  • visit the site
  • discuss with specialists in Planning Services
  • tell you who we have consulted with and who you still need to consult

We will then give you our written response within 8 weeks. Our response will give you advice on:

  • the key national and local policies
  • a summary of the main issues
  • if you have any S106 obligations

If we do not think your proposal is acceptable, we will tell you what changes you need to make it acceptable.

If you requested a meeting, we will confirm whether your development would need a meeting within 7 days. If it does, we’ll arrange it within 14 days and let you know the date, time, venue and agenda. The meeting will take place within 3 weeks of your initial request. 

If we don’t think you need a meeting, we will offer to provide a written response instead.