Request pre-application planning advice
Find out how you can apply for pre-application planning advice.
From 1 August 2023, we will publish pre-application advice provided pursuant to all pre-application requests when a related formal application is subsequently validated. This applies where pre-application discussions began on or after 1 August 2023. Further advice on this change is available in the ‘Freedom of Information’ section of this page.
All day this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 3 December 2023, you will not be able to search or comment on planning applications or request planning pre-application advice due to essential system maintenance. These services will resume on Monday 4 December 2023. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.
We provide planning pre-application advice for anyone considering proposals that may require planning permission or a related consent. The advice will help speed up the development process and avoid unacceptable proposals. Prior to seeking our advice we recommend that you engage with the local community to seek their views.
We offer advice to householders wanting to carry out environmental performance improvements to their properties at a discounted rate. The discounted fee for householder environmental performance improvements is applicable to those living in flats and houses and where buildings are listed and unlisted.
In addition to advice from planning officers, you can choose to also obtain specialist advice from other council services where this would help with the development of your proposal. For further details of this service, including fees, please see the pre-application fees schedule.
We offer free advice if:
- your query is related to trees
- your proposal is related to a disabled access improvement
The benefits of pre application advice are:
- understanding how our policies will be applied to your proposal
- identifying the need for specialist input, such as from Environmental Health, Place Shaping officers or Building Control officers at an early stage
- assisting in the preparation of proposals for formal submission
- helping to reduce the time that you or your professional advisors spend in working up the proposals
- indicating those proposals that are completely unacceptable
Please note that officers will not arrange a pre-application meeting (where a meeting is included in the pre-application service - see our fees schedule above) or respond to your pre-application request until the council is in receipt of the correct pre-application fee.
Discounted advice for householder environmental performance improvements
The council is committed to helping residents to respond to the climate emergency, particularly where we can work together to reduce carbon emissions from our homes, which are a significant contributor to carbon emissions from the built environment in Westminster. To support this commitment the council now offers advice to householders on certain environmental performance improvements for a discounted fee. This service is available to those living in flats and houses and those living in listed buildings as well as unlisted buildings.
The service provides advice to residents to help them make sensitive retrofit choices that will improve the environmental performance of their homes to cut carbon emissions. Appropriately chosen retrofit measures may also help to reduce energy bills.
Before you make your pre-application advice request we recommend that you read our helpful online advice on how to sensitively retrofit your home to improve its energy performance and sustainability. You should also explore the guidance provided in the Retrofitting and Sustainable Design chapter of our Environmental Supplementary Planning Document.
For further advice on this service, including the retrofit measures this service applies to, please see our pre-application fees schedule.
Early community engagement
The council expects that new and emerging development proposals will be shared with local communities through open, transparent, inclusive, and responsive community engagement that occurs at the earliest possible stage. We published our Early Community Engagement guidance in February 2022 to support applicants and developers to deliver best practice community engagement in Westminster on emerging development proposals.
For major development we expect that engagement with local communities will have begun prior to initial pre-application engagement with the council. Further advice on the expected timing of community engagement and the engagement methods that should be used is provided in our guidance.
Engagement with councillors
Requests for meetings are to be made through the Governance and Councillor Liaison team by emailing [email protected].
Guidance on when the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development and the Chair of Planning may consider it appropriate to meet with landowners and developers is available in the document below:
These contact details should only be used for requests to meet Councillors and the Planning Committee Chairman on planning matters. Submission of pre-application enquiries should be made using the calculate fee and apply option.
Freedom of Information
The advice that we provide via the pre-application advice service is generally confidential until a related application is validated and the development proposals are publicly available.
Whilst it is recognised that there are legitimate reasons for pre-application advice to occur within a confidential environment, we are committed to ensuring that the planning process is open and transparent. Therefore, once a related application is validated, we will publish the council’s advice given to you at pre-application stage where a pre-application request was submitted on or after 1 August 2023.
Where multiple pre-application requests have been made for the same site and substantially the same proposal, the submission date of the first pre-application request will be the point at which discussions ‘began’.
Published: 15 January 2021
Last updated: 30 November 2023