Planning Permission: Is pre-app advice from a council really worth it?
Local councils used to offer free informal "advice" for people before they submit a planning application. Councils now charge for this service, often many hundreds of pounds, and it's called "pre-app" or pre-application advice. On the face of it, even if it costs a lot of money, this might sound like a good idea. But is it really?
When you submit a pre-app request to a council, what you are actually paying for is the opinion of a junior council officer. It's not their job to find a way to dig deep to make your application work, nor to tell you the many and varied ways that their opinion could be changed or over-ruled. The only way for you to get that information is to go to an independent planning permission advisor, like Planix.UK.
As Simon Anderson from Planix.UK says: "Most planning permission decisions are not black or white. They are in the grey zone of interpretation. One person's interpretation or opinion of an application could be different from another's.
"One thing is clear, local councils are rarely on the side of applicants in these matters. Time after time we have helped people to win planning permissions against the initial opinion of the local council officers.
"I have even heard of people getting refusals even when their council's own pre-app advice was a yes. So it's really not worth paying a council for pre-app advice. Better to hire us or another independent planning permission advisor. We can look at all the policies, precedents and people involved, and give you the true likelihood of success, and tell you how to get there."