Pre-Application Advice

Covid-19 Service Changes

In response to the current COVID-19 situation East Cambridgeshire District Council has implemented changes in working practice to limit the risk to its staff and the public. The majority of Planning Officers are now working remotely and the Council has taken the decision to avoid all face-to-face meetings between its officers and members of the public.

In terms of the Council’s pre-application service this means that face-to-face meetings will not be held until further notice. Pre-application advice can still be sought in writing or, as an alternative, meetings can be carried out as a remote meeting or over the telephone.

Please be aware that while the Council is seeking to limit the disruption caused to its planning service, the provision of pre-application advice may be delayed by the changes to the working practices required to protect staff and customers.

Before submitting a planning application, we strongly recommend that you use our Pre-application Advice service. You can download and print the guidance and application form below. 

Please see the Planning Data Retention & Privacy Policy and ECDC's Privacy Notice

Why should I use this service?

We can offer you specialist advice on the various matters you will need to consider before submitting an application. This can include (not exhaustive):

  • Clarifying which policies will apply to your development;
  • Advising you to ensure you consider all the issues and give full consideration to advice given, which should speed up the process of determining your application ;
  • Can reduce the amount of time taken by professional consultants and can save costs;
  • Advising you if the principle of the development is unacceptable, therefore saving you the cost of a full planning application.

For Householder enquiries, we provide a free plan-checking service to help ensure your application is complete and therefore avoiding delays in the registration process. Please tick the box on the application form indicating you would like to use the plan checking service, you can book an appointment for your plan check by using the link below:

How does it work/How much does it cost?

There are guidance notes and fees attached to the form at the top of this page and you can select the level of advice you require, as well as any specialist advice you may also want.

We can receive advice requests in hard copy form or via email to

Upon receipt of your application, you will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of your application and the contact details of the Officer dealing with your enquiry.

If you have paid for written advice, the case Officer will endeavour to reply to your request within 20 working days from the date of your acknowledgement letter. Where you have requested a meeting, the case Officer will endeavour to contact you within 5 working days from the date of your acknowledgement letter to arrange a suitable date and time for the meeting.

N.B. All meetings will take place at the Council offices in Ely.

Any advice given by Officers during pre-application discussions does not constitute a formal decision by the Council in respect of any future planning applications. Whilst such advice will be a material consideration, it cannot bind the Council in its validation or formal determination of a subsequent planning application.

If a planning application is submitted that fails to address any issue highlighted by Officers during pre-application discussions, it is likely that it will be refused without further discussion with the applicant or their agent.