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Pre-application advice

Pre-application advice is optional - you don't have to use it. However, if you don't use it or if advice given is not reflected in your application, we will not negotiate further changes to the project.

If no pre-application advice has been sought we will not accept amendments or further details on applications. However, if negotiations can be resolved within the statutory time period (including 21 days for re-consultation), we may accept amendments.

This approach is not intended to be inflexible. Our hope is that it ensures we determine applications within the statutory time frame. We support early engagement in the planning process. This enables discussion and proactive revisions during the pre-application stage to ensure that applications are dealt with in appropriate timeframes.

We recognise that you may wish to risk assess the planning merits of your proposal and you may seek professional planning advice. We will assume that any application submitted following our pre-application advice reflects your wishes as to its scope, content and nature.

Our expectations about design management  

We are keen to ensure that the design process for considering medium to larger scale development proposals, from initial conception to completion, can be managed thoughtfully and transparently to be effective and efficient for everyone involved.

We have, in partnership with other Suffolk authorities, developed a Design Management Process Map which describes how we typically expect medium to larger scale proposals to emerge and be considered. This describes the usual steps from inception through to delivery and construction.

We believe that this will be a useful tool that should be used as part of the pre-application discussion to help manage the steps in a range of development proposals. We will expect to discuss with you how you will bring your project forward through each of these steps.

Further details please see the PDF link below:

Suffolk Design Process Map v2.2 (July, 2021)

Our pre-application advice service is available if you are considering any development, and would like advice before submitting a planning application.

This includes anything from building extensions, to building multiple houses.

Advice is available either:

  • in writing
  • via telephone/video meeting
  • at an appointment onsite

Read further information about how our Planning services are operating during COVID-19

The fee will depend on the size of the development proposed.

Heritage pre-applications

Due to current resources, and volume of applications, we may need an extension to our published timescales for:

  • site visits
  • meetings
  • our formal responses

We apologise in advance and we aim to progress your enquiry as soon as it's practical to do so. We will keep you informed on the progress of your pre-application.

When we validate your enquiry, we will confirm the date for the expected response. We will return to our normal service as soon as capacity allows. 


This webpage was last updated on Thursday 10 February 2022.

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