Planning pre-application advice

Pre-application discussions are useful in identifying planning issues early on in the development process.

Often this leads to reduced costs later on by avoiding unacceptable submissions.

If an application is submitted without the benefit of pre-application advice, we will not normally negotiate amendments before reaching a decision.

What planning pre-application advice can you get?

We offer different types of advice depending upon the nature of your proposal.

If you are a householder looking to extend your home or a small business looking to carry out small scale works to your premises (up to 99sq.m in floor area) and would like to talk to somebody about your plans you can meet our Duty Planner Officer by appointment in the Public Advice and Service Centre.

This appointment lasts for 20 minutes and costs £55.

The Duty Planner will talk your proposals through with you and give you verbal advice as to their acceptability, which will be followed up by a short written note of what was discussed, a copy of which will be provided to you.

To get the most out of this time, you are strongly encouraged to bring some plans/drawings of your proposal and photographs of your property along to the appointment.

To make an appointment, please telephone 01708 433100. Payment will be taken over the telephone.

The fee is non-refundable. In the event that you cannot attend the appointment, please give us at least 24 hours notice to arrange another date and time. If we receive less than 24 hours notice, then a further fee will be applicable.

Further information about householder proposals is available online via our Residential Extensions and Alterations Supplementary Planning Document.

If you are a householder looking to extend your home or a small business looking to carry out small scale works to your existing premises (up to 99sq.m in floor area) and would prefer to have a written response from us instead of a meeting we will provide a letter which gives an opinion as to the acceptability of your proposals and suggestions for amendment for a fee of £88.

The scope of advice we are able to offer depends upon the information you supply to us. Therefore, please provide as much detail as possible about your proposals, including plans/drawings and photographs.

This information should be sent to Development and Building Control at the address shown.

Your request for advice will be acknowledged on receipt.

Information on whether permission is needed is available via the Planning Portal.

If you are still unclear, you are invited to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness. This will give you a binding decision from the Council as to whether permission is needed or not. The current fee for this application is £86. The application can be made online via the Planning Portal.

If you are intending to build one new dwelling, including a detached annexe we are able to provide you with written advice on your proposal. Please see the pre and post planning advice charges.

Please provide as much detail as possible about your proposals, including drawings. This information should be sent to Development and Building Control at the address shown.

Your request for advice will be acknowledged on receipt.

If you are intending to build four dwellings or 500sq.m of new floor space upwards.

Following a site visit, we will arrange a face-to-face meeting with you and follow this up with a written record of the points discussed. Please see the pre and post planning advice charges.

Please provide as much detail as possible about your proposals, including drawings. This information should be sent to Development and Building Control at the address shown.

Your request for advice will be acknowledged on receipt.

Request planning pre-application advice

Download and complete the pre-application form 

Our Pre-application advice document shows the fee for each type of advice we provide and how to request advice.

Please email your completed pre-application form to planning@havering.gov.uk or send it to:

Development and Building Control,
London Borough of Havering,
c/o Town Hall,
Main Road,
Romford RM1 3BD,
Tel: 01708 433100.

What happens after you have asked for advice?

Upon receipt, the Planning Officer allocated to deal with your enquiry will contact you and agree upfront a timeframe for response.

If you are happy with this timescale, you will be asked to pay the fee and submit full details of the proposals, including drawings, within 5 working days. 

The agreed timeframe for response will begin once the fee has been paid and the drawings received. Where the fee is paid and the drawings submitted after 5 working days, we reserve the right to review our time frame for response.

Please note we are currently unable to meet our published timescales for pre-application advice where a face to face meeting and/or a written response will be sent. This does not affect face to face meetings with our duty planner.  We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause. 

If you still wish to obtain our advice on your project, please email planning@havering.gov.uk with the following information:

  • your contact details
  • the site address
  • a description of the proposals so that we can understand the nature of the development

Pre-application fees explained

Fees received in connection with planning applications do not cover the cost of professional advice provided to applicants and/or their agents.

Recognising this, in 2005, the Council decided that the cost of providing such advice should be covered by the applicant, rather than the Council taxpayer.

Since then, using powers from the Local Government Act 2003, the Planning Service has charged for giving professional advice on certain development proposals.

Following a review, we have introduced a scale of new charges which are more reflective of the amount and nature of work which goes into providing the advice.

You can pay by cheque or debit card. Cheques should be made payable to ‘London Borough of Havering’.

Card payments can be accepted in person within our reception area located in the Public Advice and Service Centre in the Liberty Shopping Centre,  Romford (9am to 11am Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, excluding the last Wednesday of the month) or by calling 01708 433100.

Follow up fees 

We appreciate that development proposals can change during the feasibility and planning stages.

To enable on-going discussion with the Case Officer following receipt of our written comments, we charge a proportionate follow up fee for requests for further comments and discussion, where appropriate.

Follow up fees are also applicable to further post-application work, for example requests to vary legal agreements. These will be charged in line with the costs set out in the table below for follow up work.

Site visits

Site visits are an important part of pre-application discussions. Where a site visit is offered, it would be helpful in submitting your pre-application request if you could confirm whether the site is viewable from public vantage points or whether specific arrangements for access need to made in advance.

The purpose of the Case Officer's visit is to inspect the site and its surroundings rather than to discuss the proposal in detail. The opportunity for detailed discussion comes as part of a follow up meeting, where a meeting is offered.

Building control 

We offer a competitive Building Control Service and as part of this can offer pre-application advice as part of the Planning pre-app service. Building control advice can often be invaluable in identifying issues at an early stage, minimising the likelihood of changes to the project being required post planning decision, which can cause delays and extra cost.

If you would like building control advice, we ask that you commit to using the Council's building control service. The first hour is free of charge, with extra time charged at £70 per hour - however this will be deducted from the building control application fee, when your building control application is submitted.

Planning performance agreements 

If you are a developer intending to submit a significant planning application for new housing or a business intending to submit an application for substantial extensions or new premises, we would welcome a discussion with you before the pre-application process begins about entering into a Planning Performance Agreement with us.

Central Government encourages the use of Planning Performance Agreements for larger and more complex major planning proposals to bring together the developer, the Local Planning Authority and other key stakeholders to work in partnership throughout the planning process.

Determining major planning applications within the statutory 13 week timeframe while achieving best use of land and quality outcomes for the local community can be complex and challenging for everyone involved.

Entering into an agreement helps to ensure that the proposals are project managed throughout the application process, in accordance with timescales that have been agreed by all parties.

While a Planning Performance Agreement will help ensure a major application is processed to an agreed timetable with meetings to help overcome issues that arise during the application process, the signing of a Planning Performance Agreement between the applicant and the Local Planning Authority does not prejudice the outcome of a planning application nor does it give a guarantee of planning permission.

If entering into a Planning Performance Agreement is of interest to you, please telephone us directly before submitting your pre-application advice request.

Payment for entering a Planning Performance Agreement will be required with this based on the likely time required in managing the pre and post application process as well as extra service provided during the application consideration process

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