Pre-Application Stage

The Development Management section encourage prospective applicants to apply for pre-application advice prior to the submission of formal planning applications.

Why use this service:

The pre-application service allows for the early identification of key issues and contributes towards both quality outcomes and the avoidance of delays in the formal planning application process. It is a fundamental part of the Development Management Section’s role, specifically in terms of customer service and is actively encouraged by the National Planning Policy Framework. It enables us to confirm the planning policy requirements for a planning application, the amount of information or documentation needed for an application, and to advise on whether a scheme is likely to be viewed favourably by officers and, if not, the changes that would need to be made. This service provides great value for money and provides greater certainty for applicants, and a reduced risk of an application being refused or needing to be withdrawn once it has been formally submitted.


  • Site Visit: Officer will endeavour to visit the site within 10 working days of receipt of the valid enquiry
  • Written response only: Will be issued within 25 working days of receipt of the valid enquiry.
  • Written response following meeting: Will be issued within 35 working days of receipt of the valid enquiry

How much does it cost?

Three Rivers District Council operate a chargeable pre-application advice service. The charges are based on the amount of time and resource involved and details of our charges can be found at:

How to submit?

You are encouraged to submit your pre-application request electronically to Please note we are no longer accepting cheques as a means of payment.

Where appropriate officers will seek input from additional specialists including conservation officers, urban design officers and tree and landscape officers. There may be additional charges applicable if these officers attend meetings.

Whilst you are going through the planning process it is advisable to consider the design in terms of compliance with the building regulations as this is the next stage once you have obtained planning permission. We may be able to offer the attendance of a Building Control surveyor at a meeting. They would be able to review the submission for compliance with the Building Regulations, to avoid the need for further changes to be made following any grant of planning permission. It is important to remember that Building Control is different to planning and requires both a separate application and approval.

Please note that the pre-application service cannot provide formal confirmation as to whether a proposed development requires planning permission, or whether a proposed amendment to a planning permission would be considered non-material. Such determinations can only be provided following submission of a formal application

The Development Management Section also offer a formal follow-up pre-application service where amendments have been made to a proposal in response to the planning officer’s comments. Please note that it is at the discretion of officers to determine whether to accept proposals as ‘follow up’ enquiries or to require a full pre-application fee if the proposal is materially different or does not respond to officer comments.  Please refer to the above application form and charging schedule for details.

Hertfordshire County Council Highways provide guidance on transport and highways implications of developments and they operate their own pre-application service. Full details can be found on their website:

All requests to Three Rivers District Council for pre-application advice will involve a site visit and a written response. A meeting may be held at the Case Officer’s discretion if requested by the applicant or their agent and an additional fee is received. In the last couple of years the way in which Officers have dealt with pre-application advice has been streamlined in order to provide a database of requests and responses and to ensure a timely response by Officers.

The Householder Duty Planning Service is a free telephone service providing general planning advice for residents. Please note that this is for householder developments only (ie works or alterations to a house). This service operates between 10am and 1pm Monday, Wednesday and Thursday only. No appointment is necessary but enquiries are limited to a maximum of 15 minutes. No site visits or written responses will be available from this service and any advice given is the informal opinion of the duty Planning Officer.

Please be aware that Three Rivers District Council is subject to requirements under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and pre-application requests will be available for the public to view.

External pre-application advice:

Hertfordshire County Council Highways
New vehicle access (dropped kerbs)
Environment Agency (pdf)
Herts Wildlife Trust

Herts Ecology
Herts Archaeology

Internal Guidance:

Solid Waste Storage Collection Guidance (pdf)