Pre-application advice for roads and transport

Request advice on road and transport issues associated with any proposed development.

1 Overview

Note: Pre-application fees will increase in line with inflation from 1 April 2024.

Local planning authorities consult us for advice on any road and transport issues that affect proposals submitted for planning permission. They then take our recommendations into account when making a decision on a planning application.

We can provide advice on road and transport issues associated with any proposed development before you submit a planning application. The benefits of seeking advice include:

  • reducing the time and cost involved in working up proposals
  • reducing the subsequent cost of unsuccessful applications
  • comprehensive information on what you need to provide with your application
  • helping to speed up the decision-making process once an application has been submitted.

If you submit an application without seeking our advice first or have not used the advice given, we will base our response to the local planning authority on the information submitted with the application on the planning portal. At full planning stage, there will unlikely be time to discuss at length and revise a proposal/design before the local planning authority needs to make a decision on the application.

2 Coronavirus: traffic volumes and speed surveys

Coronavirus has reduced traffic on our highways and decreased public transport use. We continually monitor the situation and its impact on the county's transport network. Whilst usage has risen, levels are still lower than they were pre-pandemic. There is uncertainty about when or whether usage will return to previous levels.

As a result, surveys need to follow these criteria:

  • Speed surveys: You can use speed surveys undertaken in free flow conditions. They should be undertaken in line with CA 185 Vehicle speed measurement.
  • Traffic flow surveys: You can undertake traffic surveys for vehicle movement. If nearby historical permanent data is available, you may need to compare surveys. This will ensure flows are representative. We may ask for the application of a growth factor if there is a considerable gap in the data. Permanent count data is available on our Traffic counts page.

The applicant must show, with evidence, that surveys give robust data to support a planning application. We can provide site-specific advice about this. Use our pre-application advice service at Level 1 - free written advice.

In most instances the above process will be appropriate. We reserve the right to review applications on a case-by-case basis. If necessary, we may request further information or data to support surveys.

3 Advice levels

Our advice can include:

  • relevant policies and guidance
  • the required level of detail and supporting information necessary to provide a valid assessment of highways and transport matters
  • whether a contribution towards highways and/or transport improvements is likely to be required
  • transport assessment scoping to determine the content, preparation and presentation of a transport assessment likely to satisfy our requirements
  • comments we have made about previous applications at the proposed site
  • the suitability of access arrangements
  • a review of your road safety audit and a designer response.

Details about the levels of advice

Level 1 - Free written advice

We provide a substantive written response free of charge to your first request for advice. That response will either:

  • state that we have no comment to make
  • state that we are satisfied with the proposal, based on the information provided
  • refer you to national and local policies and guidance that should be considered
  • provide advice on the development proposal as submitted.

For larger development proposals, we cannot provide a full response to transport assessments or other technical proposals as part of our free service. However, we may be able to advise on scoping for these documents.

This service:

  • is suitable for small to medium developments where the proposals are straightforward
  • includes a written response sent within 21 days of receipt of your request
  • includes advice that will reflect the level of detail that you have provided
  • does not include a meeting.

If you require further correspondence with us after a free written response has been issued (including calls and emails) charges will apply for more in-depth discussions or review of further information/drawings or the request of a meeting. The request will move to a Level 2 request.

Level 2 - Single meeting with written advice

This service:

  • is suitable for small to large developments where the proposals are not straightforward and might require discussion to resolve matters
  • includes a single meeting at our offices or on site - we will aim to contact you within five working days of receiving payment or an invoice being issued to arrange the meeting
  • includes written confirmation of advice, sent within 21 days of the meeting
  • includes advice that will reflect the level of detail that you have provided
  • incurs a cost that must be paid upfront.

If you require further correspondence, review of further designs or meetings with us, further charges will apply.

Level 3 - Development team

This service is suitable for larger strategic developments that will require our longer-term involvement and multiple meetings. It includes scoping, meetings, site visits and ongoing correspondence. We will agree specific timescales, the nature of the advice required and costs with you. To discuss your requirements please email

4 Cost

After receiving your request for pre-application advice, we will send you an email to pay online if we are providing one of our chargeable services. Payment will be required before meetings can be booked with our officers.

Alternatively, we can issue an invoice, if required. Please indicate on your application if you require an invoice and provide the invoicing details and any purchase order number required by the payee. When paying by invoice, meetings can be booked in with our officers once the invoice has been issued.

Fees and charges: Number of dwellings, commercial and retail area in square metres and single meeting and written response.
No. of dwellings Commercial and retail area Single meeting and written response
Up to 10 Up to 100m² £360 plus VAT
11-24 101m²-500m² £860 plus VAT
25-49 501m²-1,000m² £1,220 plus VAT
50-79 1,001m²-2,000m² £1,790 plus VAT
80-199 2,001m²-5,000m² £2,865 plus VAT
200+ 5,001m² + £3,150 plus VAT

After an initial meeting and response has been provided, should further review of additional information be requested that requires considerable officer involvement then the following fees will apply.

Fees and charges: Number of dwellings, commercial and retail area in square metres and additional written response only.
No. of dwellings Commercial and retail area Additional written response only
Up to 10 Up to 100m² £145 plus VAT
11-24 101m²-500m² £570 plus VAT
25-49 501m²-1,000m² £860 plus VAT
50-79 1,001m²-2,000m² £1,575 plus VAT
80-199 2,001m²-5,000m² £2,865 plus VAT
200+ 5,001m² + £3,150 plus VAT

5 Additional information

Be aware that:

  • a substantive response can say that we have no comment to make, are happy with the proposed development, refer to current standing advice, provide general advice and include justification for our views
  • requesting pre-application advice from us is not mandatory but we will no longer enter into discussion over the scope or content of any specialist highways and transport proposals outside this service
  • any advice given does not constitute a formal response or decision
  • any views or opinions are given in good faith and on the best of ability, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to public consultation and ultimately decided by the local planning authority
  • little or no weight will be given to the content of our pre-application advice for schemes submitted more than three years after the date of the advice being used
  • any advice given in relation to the planning history of the site, planning constraints or statutory designations does not constitute a formal response under the provisions of the Local Land Charges Act 1975.

Supporting information

6 Request advice

Please note: Any meetings for pre-application advice will be via conference call for the time being. No site meetings will be taking place.

Please read the information on this page before submitting a request for advice as it has recently been updated (February 2022).

Request pre-application advice (external link)

Please include the following documentation with your request as an absolute minimum or your request will be returned and we will be unable to book it in, which may increase response times.

  • Site location plan (scale 1:1,250) with the site boundary shown.
  • Description of proposed works/Transport Scoping Note

By providing more information, we will be able to provide a much more comprehensive response. For example, the documents listed below are required for a full planning application; submitting these at the pre-application stage will provide a much more solid basis for a future planning application.

  • Schedule of existing uses, including planning history with reference numbers.
  • Description, including site layout plans of the proposed development and schedule of uses.
  • Summary of reasons supporting site access/highway works proposals, including plan (scale 1:200 or similar) with achievable visibility splays indicated.
  • Design Audit of proposed highway works, including identified departures from standards.
  • Final stage 1 Road Safety Audit of proposed highway works and RSA Audit Response Report (in line with GG119), including amended plans as necessary.
  • Location plan of key services indicating locations of education, employment, food retail, non-food retail and healthcare facilities.
  • Reference to supporting national, regional and local planning documents and policies.
  • Parking strategy, including provision of parking for all modes of transport, using the new WSCC guidance on parking at new developments issued in September 2020. (For developments in Arun, Crawley and the South Downs National Park, please refer to their own parking guidance documents.)
  • Relevant data collected to date.
  • Proposed trip rates supported with Trip Rate Information Computer System (TRICS) outputs and site selection methodology.

In terms of our chargeable services, we now require payment to be made before a meeting can be booked in with one of our officers. If paying by invoice, then this can be done once an invoice has been issued.

Extra information submitted after an initial submission, but before a meeting, will have to be done so in a reasonable time to allow officers time to review this before a meeting. Extra information submitted in the 48 hours prior to any meeting may result in the meeting being cancelled and re-arranged to allow our officers time to review the information and prepare.

7 What happens next

After submitting your request for advice, you will be contacted for payment of the non-refundable fee for our chargeable services. For free written advice, you will receive an email confirmation that the request has been booked in.

Please note: No meetings can be booked until payment has been received or an invoice issued.

8 Contact our team

If you have a query about applying for pre-application advice, please get in touch:

Last updated:
4 April 2024
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  • West Sussex County Council will only use this email address to respond to any issues raised.