Pre-Application Advice

Changes to Pre-application Service

From the 1st of October, East Cambs are introducing a number of improvements to the pre-application advice service that we provide. Details of which are given below:

Plan Checking Service

If you have applied for householder pre-application advice, this will now include the option of a free follow-up plan checking service. This allows you to check the application and supporting documents are correctly completed before submitting your application. See section below for more information on this service.


We will no longer be charging charities or small businesses (those with 5 or employees or less) for pre-application advice. In relation to small business exemptions, the proposal must directly relate to the growth or improvement of the business being discussed.

One off meeting request

There may be instances where you feel that follow up written advice after a meeting is not appropriate or not necessary for your enquiry.  We will now be offering the option of a one-off meeting to discuss your proposals. If choosing this option please be aware that officers will take notes for their records but no formal response will be sent.

It is advisable to enter into preliminary discussions with the Local Planning Authority prior to submitting any planning application. East Cambrigeshire District Council introduced a formal pre-application advice service in 2010 - the application form and fees can be found below:

The purpose of pre-application advice is to guide applicants through the issues and policies relevant to their scheme. Officers will also advise on how issues should be approached and give an indication of whether a scheme is likely to be successful. Applicants should be aware that officers cannot always foresee every issue that may arise during the course of a planning application.

More information on the Council's Pre-application service is also available in the following leaflet

Any advice given by officers during pre-application discussions does not constitute a formal decision by the Council in respect of any future planning applications. Whilst such advice will be a material consideration, it cannot bind the Council in its validation or formal determination of a subsequent planning application.

If an application is submitted that fails to address any issue highlighted by officers, it is likely that it will be refused without further discussion with the applicant or their agent.

N.B. The Pre-application advice service is not intended to deal with Permitted Development (PD) enquiries. If you require conformation of PD rights, you can look to the Planning Portal Interactive House for more information.

Householder Plan Checking

You can use this service anytime within 12 months of your original pre-application response. You will need to make sure you tick the box on your application form (new forms will be available from the 1st October) to advise us that you wish to use this service.

Once you have submitted your pre-application request form, if you have selected this option then please contact us on 01353 616136 when you are ready to submit your application to book an appointment.

Appointments will be available Monday – Friday 10:00 until 16:00 and there will be 4 available slots per day. The system will work on a first come first serve basis.

We are hoping to introdue an online appointment system for this service in the near future.


Upon receipt of your application, you will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your application and the contact details of the officer dealing with your enquiry.

If you have paid for written advice, your case officer will endeavour to reply to your request within 20 working days from the date of your acknowledgement letter. Where you have requested a meeting, the case officer will endeavour to contact you within 5 working days from the date of your acknowledgement letter to arrange a suitable date and time for the meeting.

N.B. All meetings will take place at the Council offices in Ely.

Other information

Where your planning application involves an element of affordable housing, you may wish to speak to the Council's Housing Development Officer prior to submitting your application. You can find their contact details and more information on housing in the District on the Housing pages of this website.

Planning Agents

It is your choice whether to use a planning agent to submit your planning application on your behalf. As a Local Planning Authority, we are unable to make any recommendations to you, however we can provide you with information from applications previously submitted to the authority that may assist you in making your decision. More information on planning agents is available on the Council's Planning Agents webpage.