Planning pre-application advice

View our Customer Briefing Notes for the latest changes to the Planning Service.

If your proposal requires planning permission, we offer a pre-application advice service which is intended to guide and inform your development proposals before you submit a formal application. Pre-application advice is a non-statutory, valuable service provided by the Planning and Environment Service and we will aim to send a formal response within 25 working days from the date of valid request.

Find out more:

Benefits of seeking pre-application advice

By seeking pre-application advice, you will get a formal response in writing that:

  • will give you the opportunity to understand how policies from the current Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan will be applied to your proposal
  • can identify at an early stage where there is a need for specialist input for example contamination, transport, or ecology
  • can identify information that is likely to be required to accompany a planning application for example a Flood Risk Assessment or tree survey
  • can help to establish the fee and a likely timescale for processing any subsequent application
  • may lead to a reduction in time dealing with a formal application
  • will flag up whether a proposal is unacceptable which could save you the cost of submitting a formal application

Householder developments

Householder development proposals cover external works or an extension to a house or a flat and include works within the domestic curtilage such as fences, sheds or garages. 

Before you request pre-application advice, please check if you need planning permission. Some minor householder works are covered by permitted development rights and don’t need planning permission.

For further information on householder development, what you need to provide with your request and the information that we will provide you in our response is available in our householder pre-application advice guidance (PDF 193KB).

Request householder development advice

You can request householder development pre-application advice online or in paper. To request it in paper, please contact us.

View planning applications privacy notice (PDF 48.2KB) to find out what we do with your data.

Local developments

Local development proposals are building projects that are bigger than alterations or extensions to a single existing house. They include:

  • building 1 to 49 houses
  • converting non-residential buildings
  • small to medium business and industrial developments 
  • smaller wind energy proposals (up to 20 megawatts)

Before you request pre-application advice, please check if you need planning permission. Some minor works are covered by permitted development rights and don’t need planning permission.

For further information on local development, what you need to provide with your request and the information that we will provide you in our response is available in our local development pre-application advice guidance (PDF 179KB).

Request local development advice

You can request local development pre-application advice online or in paper. To request a paper form please contact us.

View planning applications privacy notice (PDF 48.2KB) to find out what we do with your data.

Major developments

Major development proposals include building 50 or more homes, larger commercial or retail development, certain waste, water, transport and energy related building works.

We are in the process of reviewing and updating the pre-application process for major developments. Further information and guidance on the process will be published once finalised.

In the meantime, we are continuing to provide pre-application advice for this scale of development following the process established for local developments with a similar level of information provided in a written response.

We will aim to send a formal written response within 30 working days of the request being validated. This is considered to be a realistic timescale and agents are requested to make clients aware that this is to be expected. The potential need for further information or a site visit may mean that an extension to the timescale will be needed in order to ensure the best possible response. Should an extension be necessary, you will be contacted by the case officer.

A formal written response will always be issued providing pre-application advice. As part of this response, we may highlight that further communication and/or a meeting may be beneficial depending on the nature of the enquiry and issues highlighted within the response. This approach will be at the discretion of the case officer dealing with your enquiry.

You can request major development pre-application advice in paper by completing our major development advice form (PDF 133KB) and sending it to our correspondence address.

Please contact us should you have any queries on the major development pre-application process.

View planning applications privacy notice (PDF 48.2KB) to find out what we do with your data.

Find out more about the planning application process for major or national developments.