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Pre-application advice on development proposals

Pre-Application Enquiries and Planning Performance Agreements

The Council provides a comprehensive pre-application advice service, where you can choose the level of service that you require and whether you wish to have a site meeting or MS Teams meeting to discuss your scheme. If you would like an opinion on your proposal before submitting an application you should make an application for pre-application advice.

The fees for the service have been updated and are provided below.

Download a copy of our pre-application advice form. The form sets out the minimum information we need in order to process your request.

Pre-application advice form (word 109KB)
Pre-application advice charges 2024-25 (word 27KB)

Benefits of Pre-application Engagement

  • Identify opportunities for scheme improvements at a stage when a proposal can still be modified, which result in higher quality developments.
  • Reduce delays through early engagement with internal consultees and other key parties.
  • Establish timescale and agree the information required up front to reduce the time it takes to validate and process applications.
  • Identify the schemes which will be supported as well as those that are unlikely to be supported, so reducing the time and fees with submitting unnecessary applications.

Once your request for advice has been received, 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.

Our fees are based on time spent by the consultees and officers, who support the whole process from validation to the decision making. Please note that the Merseyside Environmental Advisory Service (MEAS) have their own pre-application advice service


What do you need to provide?

The following information is required to enter into a pre-application enquiry:

  • Site location plan at an appropriate scale 1:1250 or 1:2500
  • Details of the current use, photographs can be helpful
  • Details of the nature and scale of development proposed.
  • Drawings of the proposed development, layout, floor plans, elevations and any additional information to enable appropriate advice to be provided.

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 28 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 Local Plan policies 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).

Planning Performance Agreements

• The Council also provide the opportunity to enter into Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs), which are a management tool to agree timescales and actions to ensure a better quality of development. These agreements are best suited to major schemes.
• We offer 4 levels of service which are detailed on our schedule below.

Planning Performance Agreement Schedule (word 15KB)

If you would like to enter into a planning performance agreement, or seek clarification on categories or bespoke PPAs, please email us at

Data Protection

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 details 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.


Last Updated on Tuesday, March 26, 2024

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