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How to request pre-application advice

How to request pre-application advice

Seeking pre-application advice before you make a planning application can help to increase the chance of making a high quality planning application that is faster to process.

  • Advice in person

    We offer general planning advice over the phone via our free-to-use Duty Planning Officer Service.  

    You can speak with a SDNPA Planning Officer between 10am to 12pm, Monday to Wednesday on 01730 814810

    This service only relates to the areas of the following districts which are within the National Park:

    • Adur & Worthing District Council 
    • Arun District Council 
    • Brighton & Hove City Council 
    • Mid-Sussex District Council 
    • Wealden District Council 

    To check if you are within one of these areas please see a map of the National Park.

    Should your enquiry relate to one of the below, please contact the relevant authority:

    • East Hampshire District Council
    • Chichester District Council
    • Horsham District Council 
    • Lewes & Eastbourne District Council
    • Winchester City Council 

    For more information on this service and what to expect, please read our guidance. 

  • Advice in writing

    We offer two types of written pre-application advice for those who know they will need planning permission but want to ensure they have all of the information required:

    • Free general advice for householders. Householders should complete a Request for householder pre-application advice form and return it to the relevant Local Authority in your area of the National Park. A fee will be payable if you require a site visit. Click here for more details.  
    • Levied (paid) advice for non-householders. Non-householders should complete a Request for non-householder pre-application advice form and return it to the relevant Local Authority in your area of the National Park. Charges for this service have been set to recover the costs of the officer time involved. For a list of charges and how to pay, see Pre app charges/how to pay.

    Please note that in the interest of transparency, all applications for pre-app advice are viewable on our Public Access interface, unless there is a commercial justification or risk to vulnerable individuals submitted with the enquiry.

    Withholding of pre-app data is discretionary, but may not be exempt from FOI requests.

  • What happens next?

    The relevant local authority will acknowledge receipt of your pre application submission, including whether additional details or fees are required before the application can be passed to a case officer to deal with.

    Once the application is valid, a case officer will be allocated to the application and they will determine whether a site visit (which may incur additional costs) is necessary. 

    Householders should receive a reply within 20 working days of receipt of the request. 

    All pre-application advice constitutes an informal opinion, based on the information you have provided and does not guarantee that planning permission will be gained on submission of an application. 

    This advice will not prejudice any decisions that the South Downs National Park Authority, or other planning authorities, make on any future formal planning application.


"The Downs...too much for one pair of eyes, enough to float a whole population in happiness."