Planning advice and pre-applications

Use our pre-application advice service to help you from concept and construction through to completion.

Pre-application advice

The Council provides a comprehensive pre-application advice service with detailed advice, guidance and feedback on proposals. Pre-application requests can be made by email to

The benefits of using the pre-application service are:

  • Comprehensive advice on a proposal, including advice on relevant Local Plan policies, relevant consultee advice and key planning issues to be considered;
  • Advice on validation requirements, minimising scope for an invalid application submission, including relevant plans, reports, and surveys required to support your application;
  • Advice from a named Planning Officer in advance of your application submission, with your application then being considered by the same Officer, providing continuity

You should consider what level of advice would be most useful for you in preparing your application, and you should also be aware that the more detail provided up front in the pre-application process the more comprehensive advice the Planning Officer can provide in return.

What will the advice include:

Our pre-application response may include:

  • An indication of whether the proposal is likely to be acceptable in Local Plan policy terms;
  • Identifying any neighbouring amenity or design constraints of the proposal;
  • Identifying other possible site constraints e.g. environmental, flood plain, ecological or highways constraints;
  • Identifying matters that may be covered by planning obligations;
  • Identifying what pre and post submission consultations are advised.


Design PAD

The Council offers a unique pre-application service for major proposals (10 dwellings or above and 1000sqm floorspace and above) called Design PAD. Design PAD meet monthly to appraise major pre-application schemes in a collaborative setting. Landowners and developers have the opportunity to present their proposals directly to planning officers and key consultees. 

The starting point for discussions is a site constraints plan to enable discussion of the site and its constraints in the first instance rather than a fully developed proposal. Proposal and indicative options are encouraged for further discussion rather than a finalised proposal.  During the course of the meeting positive elements of the proposal and areas of concern will be identified together with suggestions on how to achieve a favorable scheme.

Key consultees attending Design PAD meetings include Lincolnshire County Council Highways and Lead Local Flood Authority, the relevant drainage board, the Council's Chair of Planning Committee, the Principal Urban Design Officer, a consultant landscape architect and the case officer.

As part of the Design PAD package, you will also receive minutes of the meeting and a full pre-application response. The process is an iterative one and you will be able to bring amended proposals to the meeting for discussion prior to submitting a planning application. Planning Applications that have taken this approach are considered to significantly enhance their chances of a decision within the 13 week timeframe for applications.

What to submit:

  • A site location plan (1:1250/1:2500 scale) with the site outlined in red;
  • A description of the proposal;
  • Sketches/plans of your proposal - these do not need to be to scale but draft measurements are required;
  • The relevant fee;
  • Any supporting information e.g. photos.

If your proposal is a major proposal, the following addition items are considered necessary:

  • A site constraints plan - showing boundary treatments; site levels; indicative existing landscape features e.g. on and off-site trees, watercourses, hedgerows;
  • Indicative proposed landscaping plan;
  • Indicative drainage strategy; and
  • Highway access proposals.



We will aim to respond to pre-application enquiries within 6 weeks once all the necessary information and the appropriate fee has been received. More complex proposals or those requiring a site visit and/or a Design PAD meeting may take to longer to assess.

If we cannot respond within 6 weeks we will let you know when you can expect to receive a full reply.

Depending on the nature and scale of the development, pre-application advice will be offered by letter, email or by a meeting in person at the site or in the Council's offices.

The case officer will judge the appropriate means of conducting pre-application discussions to provide you with constructive and relevant comments and advice to assist you in the submission of a planning application. Site meetings cannot be offered in all cases, with each pre-application assessed individually by the case officer as to whether a site meeting is considered necessary.



Pre-application fees and charges


Duty Planning Officer

The Council provides a duty officer service available by appointment. Customers wanting informal advice can arrange an appointment by calling our customer service centre on 01476 40 60 80.

The following information will be required:

  • details of enquirer;
  • customer questions/nature of proposal - the more information provided allows for a more informed response; and
  • any other information that you think may be relevant to the duty officer including any plans, drawings or photos.

The Duty Planning Officer is available to give advice on:

  • the completion of planning application forms;
  • the relevant fee for any given application or proposal;
  • general advice on the planning process; and
  • interpretation of planning application drawings submitted by others e.g. by your neighbour

The Duty Planning Officer cannot offer formal advice whether or not a proposal may require planning permission. For more information on whether planning permission is required please see further information here.

Any informal advice given cannot bind the authority as to the eventual outcome of the application and does not prejudice any subsequent decision of the Local Planning Authority pursuant to the submission of a formal planning application which may generate previously unknown issues either through responses to statutory consultations or evaluation of the more detailed information submitted with the application.