Planning Advice and Queries

Planning Pre-Application advice

Planning Pre-Application Advice  

Our planning advice service can provide informal guidance. For example, if you know you require Planning Permission you can use it to see whether you are likely to get that permission before you formally submit an application to us.

Getting early advice can help speed up the planning process as any potential problems can be highlighted before you apply for Planning Permission. Submitting a formal planning application can be complicated, expensive and time-consuming, especially if it is refused for reasons that could have been overcome prior to submission. We therefore offer pre-application advice in order to:  

  • Avoid delays caused by invalid applications 
  • Save the cost of pursuing applications that are unacceptable in principle 
  • Avoid applications being refused, or needing to resubmit, for issues that could have been resolved prior to submission 

Any advice given cannot guarantee the approval of any subsequent planning application, but will guide you through the elements to consider in your submission.  In all cases we will:  

  • Outline the relevant policies that apply your development. 
  • Identify the need for specialist input (e.g. listed buildings, trees, noise etc). 
  • Seek to provide an initial view on the acceptability of your development proposal, before you submit a planning application.  
  • Advise on what documents are required with a future planning submission.

This online form will allow you to apply to our advice service. You can upload additional documents to send to us at the end of the form.

The following information should be provided*:   

  • Site location plan with the site outlined in red & other neighbouring land under the same ownership outlined in blue, at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500; 
  • Block plan/site plan showing the proposed layout of the site at an appropriate scale 
  • Full description of the nature of the development, including amount, scale and uses proposed; 
  • Detailed floor plans and elevations or sketch proposals 
  • Other information to help explain the development, for example draft design and access statement, photographs, street scenes, relevant site history etc. 

*we recognise that a reduced level of information may be appropriate for smaller scale submission under our Category A Householder Advice Service.

Scope of Service and Fees 

Category A - Householder Advice Service

We offer a written only advice service that allows you gain informal feedback on whether changes or developments you wish to undertake to your property require planning approval, and how the Council might view any future submissions made for these proposals.   

This advice service can also provide informal guidance on how to submit a lawful development certificate if you wish to obtain formal confirmation that your proposed works would be lawful within the criteria of the Permitted Development Order. 

We do not offer site visits or meetings for householder pre-application requests. You are advised to supplement any query you send to us with photos and images. If you can include materials in your submission that provide a comprehensive understanding of your property and its surroundings, this will ensure you receive the best advice.  

The charge for this service is £180 (including VAT) 

Category B (1-9 Dwellings) 

Our advice service on proposals for a single new dwelling (including the demolition of an existing dwelling and its replacement, and changes of use or conversions to dwellings) are charged at a set fee of £459 (including VAT). This provides a meeting* and written advice.  

For proposals of 2-9 dwellings the fees are:   

£459 (including VAT) for the first dwelling plus £90 (including VAT) for each additional dwelling.  

For example, a proposal for 5 dwellings would be charged at 459 + (90 x 4) = £819 (including VAT) 

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes 1 officer for 2 hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category C (10-249 dwellings) 

Our advice service on proposals for 10 new dwellings (including changes of use or conversions to dwellings) are charged at a set fee of £1200 (including VAT). This provides a meeting* and written advice.  

For proposals of 11-249 dwellings the fees are:   

£1200 (including VAT) for the first 10 dwellings plus £36 (including VAT) for each additional dwelling.  

The maximum fee payable for a meeting* and written advice under Category C is capped at £5,400 (including VAT).   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes 1 officer for 2 hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category D (250+ dwellings) 

Our advice service on proposals for 250 new dwellings or more are charged at a set fee of £6,000 (including VAT).  

This provides for meeting(s)* and written advice.  

The service assumes a maximum of 30 hours of officer input. Any input required beyond these 30 hours would be charged in line with our published hourly rates**. 

Category E (Hotels, HMOs, Communal housing of elderly & disabled) 

Our advice service on proposals for Hotels, HMOs, Communal housing of elderly & disabled are charged at a minimum set fee of £432 (including VAT). This provides a meeting* and written advice.  

Every 100sqm of building floorspace or 0.1 hectare of site area (whichever is higher between floorspace or site area) above the first 100sqm of building floorspace or 0.1 hectare of site area is then charged at £144 (including VAT). 

The maximum fee payable for a meeting* and written advice under Category E is capped at £5,400 (including VAT).   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you required follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category F (Listed building and Conservation Area advice) 

Our advice service on proposals for Listed building and Conservation Area advice is a bespoke charge based on agreed assumptions for the time and inputs involved.  

The relevant hourly rates for this service are:   

  • Hourly rate for Conservation Officer - £85.80 (including VAT) 
  • Hourly rate for Senior Conservation Officer - £112.20 (including VAT) 
  • Hourly rate for Manager - £150 (including VAT) 

In addition to the hourly rate for officers involved, if you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £96 (including VAT).  

Important Note: Please do not pay for Category F Pre Application advice before we advise you as to the fee payable. Once we receive your request, we will contact you to advise regarding the fee.

Category G - Shopfronts 

We offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials shopfront proposals.  

We do not offer site visits or meetings for Category G requests.  

The charge for this service is £180 (including VAT).

Category H - Advertisements  

We offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials for advertisement proposals.  

We do not offer site visits or meetings for Category H requests.  

The charge for this service is £180 (including VAT).

Category I (Telecommunications) 

We offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials for telecommunications proposals.  

We do not offer site visits or meetings for Category I requests.  

The charge for this service is £180 (including VAT).

Category J (Agricultural, forestry & glasshouse development – less than 465sqm) 

Agricultural, forestry and glasshouse development proposals of less than 465sqm are charged at £180 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

Category K (Agricultural, forestry & glasshouse development – more than 465sqm) 

Agricultural, forestry & glasshouse development proposals of more than 465sqm are charged at a minimum set fee of £240 (including VAT). This provides a meeting* and written advice.  

Every additional 75sqm of building floorspace (or part therefore) beyond the first 540sqm is then charged at £144 (including VAT). 

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category L (Change of use of land to equestrian) 

For proposals for the change of use of land to equestrian we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials. This charged at £180 (including VAT) 

If you wish for a site visit to take place there is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you wish for a meeting* with officers of the Council, the time involved will charged in line with our published hourly rates**. 

Category M (Anemometer masts or single wind turbines of less than 100m in height) 

Anemometer masts or single wind turbines of less than 100m in height are charged at a set fee of £720 (including VAT). This provides a meeting* and written advice.  

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**.  

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category N (Wind and solar farm developments) 

Our advice service on proposals for Wind and solar farm developments is charged at a set fee of £4,800 (including VAT).  

This provides for meeting(s)* and written advice.  

The service assumes a maximum of 30 hours of officer input. Any input required above 30 hours would be charged in line with our published hourly rates**. 

Category O (Other developments including change of use: floorspace less than 200sqm and the site area is less than 0.1 hectares) 

Proposals for other developments (i.e. not falling in another category listed here) including change of use: floorspace less than 200 sqm and the site area is less than 0.1 hectares are charged at £240 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**. 

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category P (Other developments including change of use: floorspace less than 1000sqm and the site area is less than 0.5 hectares) 

Proposals for other developments (ie not falling in another category listed here) including change of use: floorspace less than 1000sqm and the site area is less than 0.5 hectares are charged at £420 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**. 

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category Q (Other developments including change of use: floorspace less than 5000sqm and the site area is less than 1 hectare) 

Proposals for other developments (i.e. not falling in another category listed here) including change of use: floorspace less than 5000sqm and the site area is less than 1 hectare are charged at £1,800 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**. 

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category R (Other developments including change of use: floorspace less than 10000 sqm and the site area is less than 2 hectares) 

Proposals for other developments (i.e. not falling in another category listed here) including change of use: floorspace less than 10000 sqm and the site area is less than 2 hectares are charged at £3,300 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**. 

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Category S (Other developments including change of use: floorspace more than 10000 sqm and the site area is more than 2 hectares) 

Proposals for other developments (i.e. not falling in another category listed here) including change of use: floorspace more than 10000 sqm and the site area is more than 2 hectares are charged at £4,800 (including VAT). For this we offer a written only advice service based on a desktop assessment of your submission materials.   

If you wish for a site visit to take place this is an additional charge of £240 (including VAT). This charge assumes one officer for two hours including travel. If the arrangements for any proposed site visit differed from these assumptions, the Council reserves the right to increase the charge in line with the published hourly rates**. 

If you require follow-up written clarification on an element of written advice provided under this service, there is a set charge (per request) of £180 (including VAT). 

Notes relating to the services offered:

*Meetings

Cherwell District Council has declared a climate emergency. In accordance with our Climate Action Framework it is the Council's normal practice to hold meetings virtually. If you wish to have a face-to-face meeting, this will need to be agreed on a case-by-case basis, recognising the carbon implications of unnecessary travel.

**Hourly rates from 1st April 2024 (all quoted rates include VAT) 

  • Planning Officer £112
  • Senior Planning Officer £132
  • Principal Planning Officer £158
  • Team Leader £178
  • Senior Manager £198

Listed Building and Conservation Area advice

  • Conservation Officer £71.50
  • Senior Conservation Officer £93.50