Our Pre-Application Advisory Service

Here we explain how we handle Pre-application enquiries and what to expect. On initial contact we will determine the nature of the enquiry, identify the issues it raises and decide whether we should become involved.

Please note that we now offer three types of Pre-application advice, as outlined below. This is a brief overview; for more details please go to our Enhanced Advisory Services section.

Initial advice

This is a free service available to prospective applicants for planning permission affecting designated heritage assets, listed building consent, faculty consent and scheduled monument consent. As part of this free service we will assess the information provided and provide one letter of advice. It can also include a site visit or meeting and review of further information where this is necessary for us to offer our initial advice.

This free service has recently changed from 15 hours of free advice to a free cycle of advice and now also includes prospective applicants for Marine Planning consent, as well as planning permission affecting undesignated heritage assets of archaeological interest in Greater London outside the City of London & Southwark (where we do not provide such advice).

Under the free cycle of advice we will:

  • either, confirm within 21 days that we do not need to be involved with the case, or
  • confirm the need for our involvement by sending you our 'Agreement to Advise' letter within 21 days. This will include arrangements for the delivery of our advice and the information on which it is to be based.
  • ask for additional information where necessary, in order to gain a better understanding of the proposals and their impact
  • carry out a site visit if we deem necessary
  • send our Initial Advice letter

Extended Pre-application advice

If in discussion we agree that the circumstances necessitate more than a free cycle of advice from Historic England, we are able to offer an extended paid-for Pre-application advice service. This covers our engagement in the formulation of proposals beyond the Initial free service. For example, a named lead specialist will be able to comment on emerging schemes and participate in design team meetings.

You will be given an indication of the estimate of the cost for this service before deciding whether to proceed.

Our Service Description provides further information on our Extended Pre-Application Service.

Formal advice

For this free service you will need to provide a full set of plans and other information exactly as would be included in the intended statutory application. We will then carry out a one-off assessment and give our formal written advice on the proposal, based on the information then available, within 21 days of a request to do so.

Please note that advice on the information needed to support an application is part of our free Initial Pre-application service.

Involving others

Whether or not we become involved, it is important for those considering development to engage with others, such as the local planning authority, local community, relevant national agencies and national amenity societies, as appropriate. We commend the Local Government Association's 10 commitments for effective pre-application engagement and seek to follow them in our work. We collaborate with relevant parties and may make our advice available to others.

When we are consulted on infrastructure and other proposals with prescribed deadlines for response, we will aim to meet such deadlines, taking into account our corporate responsibilities and priorities. We encourage groups to consider their local heritage in neighbourhood planning.