Pre-application advice on development proposals

Requests for Pre Application Advice

If you would like an opinion on your proposal before submitting an application you should make an application for pre-application advice.

You can apply online or download a PDF copy of our pre-application advice form. The form sets out the minimum information we need in order to process your request.

Once your request for advice has been received with the relevant fee, we aim to contact you within 5 working days to acknowledge receipt of your form and inform you of the name of the case officer dealing with your request. If we need further information at this time we will let you know what we need.

Pre-application advice form (pdf 38KB)
Charges for pre-application planning advice 2017-18 (pdf 23KB)

What should you provide?

The following information and plans should be submitted with the Request Form. If insufficient information is submitted we will not consider your enquiry and we will be unable to provide pre application advice.

As a minimum please include:

  • Site location plan at an appropriate scale, usually 1:1250 or 1:2500
  • Details of current use and relevant history. Photographs can be helpful.
  • Details of the nature and scale of the development proposed. More information may be required if more detailed advice is requested
  • Sketch drawings of the proposed development to include a proposed layout, floor plans and elevations, sufficient to indicate the scale and height of development proposed.
  • The relevant basic fee which must be paid in advance before the request is registered. Where there are additional charges eg for site meetings or additional meetings or hourly charges an invoice will be sent.

What we will provide:

Your request will be assigned to a named Case Officer. The Officer will aim to provide you with a written response, or arrange a meeting or otherwise contact you within 21 days of receipt of the request.

We will provide a development team for major proposals with named individuals as the expert points of contact. In some cases it may be necessary to involve statutory or other consultees and this may take longer in order to provide a comprehensive response. The Case Officer will keep you informed of likely timescales. We will aim to provide written advice within 10 working days of any meeting held.

The Case Officer will provide a written response covering the following matters:

  • Relevant planning history
  • Relevant Sefton Unitary Development Plan and other policies
  • Main planning issues
  • Reports and information required
  • Likely recommendation
  • S106 requirements and commuted sums

The comments given will be an officer opinion which is given without prejudice to future consideration of a formal application by Sefton Council. The information given will be the best available at the time but it is possible that new issues and information may arise at application stage and may affect the recommendation. You should also bear in mind that any subsequent changes to planning legislation or planning policies may affect the advice given. The weight that can be given to pre application advice will diminish over time.

All case officer responses will be confirmed and signed by a senior officer (team leader or team manager).

We will make all efforts to respect any request for confidentiality, but under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 we may be forced to release them if the requester makes a formal complaint to the Information Commissioner (ICO), and ICO feel the case for withholding is insufficiently strong, or the public interest is too great.

Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS)

Sefton Council strongly encourages consultation with Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS) as part of the pre-application process to help facilitate the development management process where appropriate.  When we receive a request for pre-application advice we encourage you to consult MEAS at the same time and inform you of our intention to pass your details and the pre-application request to them. 

Early consultation with MEAS will assist applicants in planning for required information and assessments, including environmental surveys that are likely to be needed before you submit a planning application or other application for consent.  This will help reduce the risk in working up your proposal and may lead to a faster decision.  The MEAS pre-application charging policy and fees, effective 01 June 2017, can be found in the document below:

I Want MEAS Pre App Advice (pdf 77KB)

Enquires to measdcconsultations@eas.sefton.gov.uk 


Last Updated on 10 October 2017