County Planning: pre-application advice

Request pre-application advice before submitting a planning application.

1 Overview

Pre-application advice can help to:

  • verify local requirements
  • reduce the likelihood of submitting invalid applications
  • help you understand how planning policies and other requirements affect your proposals
  • increase the likelihood of your application being approved.

We recommend you refer to:

Please note: For pre-application advice from County Highways, please see Pre-application advice for roads and transport. For sites in the National Park, please contact the South Downs National Park Authority.

2 What advice can I expect?

The pre-application advice given is not intended to be exhaustive or definitive, particularly given the early stage of the development process. Rather, it is intended to draw attention to the main issues which should be considered as part of the application process. The advice we give can only be informal and is given on the basis of the information available at the time.

Advice provided may include:

  • the need for planning permission
  • the relevant planning policies, site constraints/designations
  • the site’s planning history (West Sussex County Council (WSCC) decisions only)
  • identification of key planning issues
  • the planning merits of the proposal and its acceptability
  • identification of information required to accompany an application, (with reference to our Local List)
  • an indication as to whether an EIA Screening request should be submitted
  • recommended further consultation, including within WSCC
  • possible conditions/legal agreements
  • suggested mitigation measures.

3 Types of advice and costs

All charges include VAT.

Minor proposals: Sites with an area less than one hectare, where less than 1,000m2 of floorspace will be created.

Major proposals: Sites of more than one hectare in area, where more than 1,000m2 of floorspace will be created; and/or likely to be EIA development.

Written advice only

Written confirmation of the County Council’s views, based solely on a ‘desktop’ assessment and the information you submit.

  • Charge - minor proposals: £290
  • Charge - major proposals: £720

Meeting at County Hall

A meeting with you (and/or your representative(s)) at County Hall for up to two hours. Written advice based on a ‘desktop’ assessment.

  • Charge - minor proposals: £430
  • Charge - major proposals: £925

Meeting on site

A meeting with you (and/or your representative(s)) at the site, for up to two hours (excluding travelling) and written advice.

  • Charge - minor proposals: £500
  • Charge - major proposals: £1,210

Follow-up meetings

Additional advice provided with respect to any further information or alterations to the proposals.

  • Charge - minor proposals: £145
  • Charge - major proposals: £360


You will be asked to make payment online once we have received your application.

4 What you need to provide

As a minimum, you should provide the following information with your request. The more information you are able to provide, the more accurate advice we will be able to provide.

About the site

  • Address and grid reference
  • Location plan (site and surroundings, boundary)
  • Existing and/or proposed site layout, including access

About the use

For all developments:

  • Estimated vehicle numbers, access arrangements
  • Current site use and proposed site use (if changing)
  • Photographs of site

For waste developments:

  • Waste management proposed (including waste processing activities)
  • Annual throughput
  • Waste types (for example, inert, biodegradable, mixed)
  • Sources (for example, commercial, municipal, construction)
  • Catchment

For mineral developments:

  • Annual quantities to be extracted/processed
  • Timescale of development

5 Request pre-application advice

All advice given is on the basis of the information provided with your request and without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application. It does not constitute formal advice or a planning decision, which is only given as part of the application process. We cannot therefore give guarantees about the final, formal decision that will be made on your application.

Little or no weight will be given to the content of our advice for applications submitted more than three years after the date of the advice being used.

Complete our online application form.

Pre-application advice online application (external link)

We will respond within seven days to confirm:

  • whether sufficient information has been received
  • the name of the officer who will deal with your enquiry
  • indicative dates for a meeting (if requested)
  • the required fee (or receipt thereof).

Written advice will be provided within 21 days of a request being received or a meeting being held.

Please note: Do not use the above form to request advice on highways issues associated with any proposed development. Visit Pre-application advice for roads and transport for further information and to apply.

6 Request environment and heritage advice

Our Environment and Heritage Team provides a chargeable advice service on matters such as landscape, ecology and archaeology.

The advice will assist:

  • statutory undertakers when undertaking works that may impact on the natural or historic environment
  • developers of major planning applications where they impact on a key or sensitive site.

For more information, email:

7 Request advice on highways issues

To request advice on highways issues associated with any proposed development, visit Pre-application advice for roads and transport.

8 Request advice on flood risk management

To request advice on flood related issues associated with any proposed development, visit Flood Risk Management: Pre-application advice.

9 Contact our team

Last updated:
2 April 2024
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