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Pre-application advice

There are various different types of application. The most common is for 'full' planning approval, 'change of use', 'reserved matters' or to 'vary the condition of a valid planning approval'. Guidance on this is available from the downloadable documents box, with appendices in relation to highways, trees, ecology and economic matters. Guidance is also available in relation to how to describe your proposal. Guidance on other types of application can be accessed via the links below.

You should also refer to the relevant Planning Policy, including the Strategic Plan.  For residential development (including extensions) a Design Guidance has been published.

Advice can be sought by sending the Pre-Application Advice form in the downloadable documents to our dedicated email address Before submitting a request for such advice, please review the Pre-application service guide (see downloadable documents) and ensure your request contains the relevant information. Before submitting a request for such advice, please review the Pre-application service guide (see downloadable documents) and ensure your request contains the relevant information.

Pre-application discussions are not normally publicised. However, for all applications we encourage applicants to talk to their neighbours and for larger developments (e.g. with Environmental Impact Assessment) we encourage the applicants to undertake informal consultation.

Other types of application

  • Minor Change to a Planning Approval - To make a change to a planning approval after it is been approved

  • Registered Building Consent - For works to Registered Buildings or the demolition of any building within a Conservation Area

  • Certificate of Lawfulness - To demonstrate that something is lawful or that it has been in place for long enough to become immune from enforcement action (this is a technical assessment not a consideration of planning merits)

  • Advertisement Consent - An application form for 'express' permission from the Department to display adverts

  • Condition Discharge - The submission of details or information required by a condition attached to a planning approval

  • Building Control - More information about this separate process

Major Planning Application process

A trial has been launched of a new and optional process for supporting applicants with the navigation and coordination of major applications, ensuring that the determination process is expeditiously managed. For more information see the Major planning applications process guide in the downloadable documents section. A summary document about the main consultees is also available from the downloadable documents section.

Data retention

Please be aware that pre-application advice may be relevant should the Department be subject to any request under Freedom of Information legislation or General Data Protection Regulations. Correspondence relating to any pre-application enquiry will be only retained by the Department for 2 years, after which any pre-application discussion detail will be destroyed. Accordingly if you were hoping to rely on pre-application discussion that is older than 2 years you will need to seek fresh advice.

Last updated: 24 May 2023

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