Pre-application Advice

Before you apply

The National Park Authority welcomes and encourages early discussions before a prospective developer or landowner submits a formal planning application for consideration. These discussions will provide applicants with the type of information that will be required to support an application.


Effective from 1 April 2024

The Planning (Wales) Act 2015 (6 July, 2015) introduced new pre-application processes that are key to the effective frontloading of applications. Section 18 of the Act introduced a new statutory requirement for Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) to provide a pre-application advice service.

The regulations set a standard, national fee for the purposes of the statutory pre-application service and this came into force on 16 March 2016. The regulations require LPAs to provide a written response to all valid pre-application enquiries within 21 days, unless an extension of time is agreed between the authority and applicant.

Any additional written advice from, or meetings/site visits with, LPAs regarding a pre-application enquiry will not form part of the statutory (basic level) service.

Over and above the statutory pre-application advice service, the Welsh Government actively encourages LPAs to provide a more comprehensive pre-application service and recognises that this may be subject to a discretionary charge under section 93 of the Local Government Act 2003.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority’s aim is to enable and promote high quality development. Consequently, we will be introducing a value added pre-application advice service in order to provide a more responsive and professional service, which will reduce uncertainty in the planning process and be highly cost effective for people preparing a planning application.

The advice is intended to help you understand the best way to go about seeking permission and offer the option of the statutory level of service or a more comprehensive, flexible and non-statutory level of service.

The main differences between the statutory service and the comprehensive service are:

  • A tailored and equitable charging system related to the type and scale of development proposed;
  • A new charge for householder design advice to cover the time and cost of assessing a domestic extension and to offer advise if there were a more appropriate design etc.;
  • A bespoke and value added advice service to include the option of undertaking meetings and site visits; and,
  • An initial free “scoping” virtual meeting with developers on large major developments (of up to an hour) to identify the information required to be included with a pre-app submission and the required input from other statutory consultees such as the Highway Authority and Public Protection etc.

There are considerable benefits in seeking our advice, which are listed below:

  • It gives you an opportunity to understand how our policies will be applied to your development
  • It can identify at an early stage where there is a need for specialist input, for example about listed buildings, trees, landscaping, noise, flooding, transport, contaminated land, ecology or archaeology
  • It will assist you in preparing proposals for formal submission which, providing you have taken our advice fully into account, will be handled more quickly
  • It may lead to a reduction in time spent by your professional advisors in working up proposals.

It may indicate that a proposal is completely unacceptable, saving you the cost of pursuing a formal application.

In addition to the more value added pre-application charging service, the Authority has introduced a Guidance Note to include the provision for Planning Performance Agreements.



Colourful cottages in St Davids, Pembrokeshire


The Welsh Government’s Statutory Pre-Application Advice Service specifies that developers must submit a completed pre-application advice enquiry form containing information on their proposal to enable a response from the LPA. As a minimum they will be required to provide:

  • Name, address and contact details
  • Description of the proposal (including an indication of any increase in floorspace and/or number of new units proposed)
  • Site Address
  • Location Plan
  • Fee.

The fees that will be levied for the statutory pre-application service are the same across Wales, although they vary depending on the size and scale of the proposed development as follows:

  • Householder – £25
  • Minor development – £250
  • Major development – £600
  • Large major development – £1,000.

The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (Amendment) Order 2015 provides the following definition:

“householder application” means an application for—

(a) planning permission for the enlargement, improvement or other alteration of a dwellinghouse, or development within the curtilage of such a dwellinghouse, or

(b) change of use to enlarge the curtilage of a dwelling house, for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse but does not include—

(i) any other application for change of use,

(ii) an application for erection of a dwellinghouse, or

(iii) an application to change the number of dwellings in a building.

Large major development is defined as development exceeding 24 dwellings, or 0.99 hectares, or 1,999 square metres.



As a minimum, applicants for householder developments should expect to receive the following information within their written response:

  • The relevant planning history of the site
  • The relevant development plan policies against which the development proposal will be assessed
  • Relevant supplementary planning guidance (i.e. design, conservation etc.)
  • Any other material planning considerations
  • An initial assessment of the proposed development.

For all other development proposals, applicants will receive all the information outlined above, as well as advice as to whether any Section 106 Legal Agreement contributions are likely to be sought and an indication of the scope and amount of these contributions.

Without payment of the appropriate fee, the Authority will be under no obligation to accept and process a pre-application enquiry form.

Advice for listed building consent applications and advertisements can only be provided through the non-statutory service offered by the local planning authority. Article 4 of the Town and Country Planning (Pre-application Services) (Wales) Regulations 2016 stipulates that qualifying applications are applications for planning permission made to a local planning authority for the development of land.



For all enquiries under the non-statutory service you will need to send us the following as a minimum:

  • Written details of the address and proposal
  • Description of the nature and scale of the development proposed and the uses to which land and buildings are to be put
  • Site location plan with the site clearly marked (to a recognised scale, north point etc)
  • Sketch drawings providing details of the proposal (to a recognised scale)
  • Photographs of the site and surrounding area, with particular regard to any nearby houses or other development which might be affected by your proposal
  • Full contact details including phone number and email address
  • The appropriate fee – the enquiry will not be registered on the system and no detailed work will be undertaken until the full fee has been paid
  • An initial draft Design and Access statement and/or Heritage Statement if appropriate
  • Access and parking arrangements if appropriate
  • The submission may also need to be accompanied by ecological, landscape, ground contamination, flood and transport assessments depending upon the location, nature and complexity of the development.



On receipt of your initial enquiry, we will decide whether it requires pre-application advice and what type of advice is most suitable. We will then check that the appropriate fee has been paid. If it has not, we will contact you confirming that we will not progress your enquiry until the appropriate fee has been paid.

Once the fee has been paid, your enquiry will be allocated to an appropriate officer.

We will aim to reply to your enquiry within the target response periods as outlined in the charging schedule. However, we cannot guarantee a response within this time period as we may be awaiting consultation responses etc. and we will contact you to agree a time extension. In particularly complex cases, more time may be needed and we will advise you when you can expect a reply.

If we do not have enough information to answer your enquiry then we will write to you, setting out what information we need. The clock will stop until all of the information is received. Where a site visit or meeting is sought, we will arrange a suitable date depending on the complexity of the scheme and the amount of work that will be needed beforehand. This may include any time necessary to obtain initial views from other interested internal parties such as the Highways Engineer etc. However, no meetings will take place without prior sight of the requested information.

Attendance of other officers at the meeting, including specialist advisors, will be at our recommendation and will require the payment of additional fees (see Charging Schedule below).

Following the site visit/meeting, we will confirm the advice in a formal letter.

Should a further meeting be required, the scope for such a meeting will be established beforehand together with the relevant fee which must be received together with any relevant document before the subsequent meeting.

The Development Management Manager and Director have the right to decline a request for pre-application advice where it is considered that it is either inappropriate or unnecessary.


Guidance on Pre-Application Charges – Welsh Government Statutory Service from 16 March 2016

PCNPA Non-Statutory Service from 1 April 2024*(excluding VAT – VAT will be charged)


Category/Scale of Development WG Statutory Service – Written Advice Only Non Statutory Service – Written Advice/ Response Only Written Advice and a Meeting (site or office) Additional Written Advice and/or Meetings Target Response Time from Enquiry or Meeting Date (Days)
Permitted Development N/A £25 N/A £25 21

Householder design advice


£25 £85 N/A £50 21
PD Rights Removal N/A £50 per plot N/A N/A 21
Compliance with Conditions/Notices N/A £85 – £315 £135/£315 N/A 14

Works to Protected Trees

N/A £55 £110 £55 14

Minor Commercial Development/CoU

(up to 500 sq. m. gross floorspace)

£250 £300 £355 £110 28

Minor Works to Listed Buildings/in Con Areas

£55 28
Adverts £55 £110 £55 28
Pre-submission Validation Check £90 – £200 depending on the complexity of the proposal
Telecommunications (poles and new masts / increased heights) £250 £355 £110 28



Category/Scale of Development WG Statutory Service – Written Advice Only Non Statutory Service – Written Advice/ Response Only Written Advice and a Meeting (site or office) Additional Written Advice and/or Meetings Target Response Time from Enquiry or Meeting Date (Days)
Larger Scale Development
New dwellings/conversion to residential
1-2 dwellings £250 N/A site visit inc. if required £345 £110 28
3-4 dwellings £250 N/A site visit inc . if required £385 £110 28
5-9 dwellings (inc. Planning Obligations) £250 N/A site visit inc. if required £550 £110 35
Rural Enterprise Dwelling /OPD £250 N/A site visit inc. . if required £165 – £550 £110 35
Barn Conversions £250 N/A site visit inc.

. if required

£385 £110 28
Agricultural and Forestry Development

(500-1000 sq. m.)

£250 £330 £385 £110 28
Commercial Development/CoU

(500 – 1000 sq. m.)

£250 £550 £605 £110 35
Non-PD Domestic Scale Renewable Energy Schemes

– Small Scale Hydro Schemes


£250 £330 £385 £110 28

– Solar Panels/Photovoltaics


£250 £330 £385 £110 28

– Single Turbines up to 40m to blade tip

£250 £330 £385 £110 35


Category/Scale of Development WG Statutory Service  Written Advice Only Non Statutory Service  Written Advice/ Response Only Written Advice and a Meeting (site or office) Additional Written Advice and/or Meetings Target Response Time from Enquiry or Meeting Date (Days)
Major Development

(N.B. first scoping meeting with Officers is free)

Maximum – fee to be agreed following initial scoping meeting (Minimum Fee of £1000)
10 or more dwellings (or 32 dph)

inc. Planning Obligations

£600 < 25 units

£1000 > 24 units

N/A site visit inc.

N/A site visit inc.

£1,125 – £2,600

£2,600 – £5,250





Agricultural and Forestry Development

(> 1000 sq. m.)

£600 < 2000 sq. m.

£1000 > 1999 sq. m.

N/A site visit inc.

N/A site visit inc.







Commercial Development/CoU *

(> 1000 sq. m.)

£600 < 2000 sq. m.

£1000 > 1999 sq. m.

N/A site visit inc.

N/A site visit inc.

£1,125 – £2,600

£2,600 – £5,250





Commercial Renewable Energy Schemes (inc. EIA)

Hydro Schemes


N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 35

– Waste to Energy Schemes


N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 42

– Solar Parks/Farms


N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 42

– Wind Farms


N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 42
Winning and Working of Minerals £600 N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 42
Waste Development £600 N/A site visit inc. £2,775 – £5,550 £525 4



City/Town/Community Council Enquiries (except for commercial development)

Registered Charities with a turnover of less than £1 million a year (excluding Housing Associations)

PCNPA Service Areas

Non-profit making groups/Community Interest Companies/Churches/Community Land Trusts etc.

Conservation advice – structural repairs to Listed Buildings only

Works that are required to improve facilities and access for the registered disabled

(which would not be subject to a planning application fee).


Specialist Advice Additional Cost Per Hour (inc. meetings/site visits)
PCNPA Ecologist £55
PCNPA Building Conservation/Heritage £55
PCC Highways £55
PCC Public Protection £55


The main purpose of a PPA is to provide a framework, agreed between the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and the applicant or potential applicant, about the process for considering a major development proposal.

There is no standard PPA as each one is likely to be unique to its particular circumstances.

The Local Government Act 2003 allows Authorities to make charges for additional services. In the case of a PPA, the additional services may include the cost of engaging temporary or agency staff to backfill officers engaged full time in working on the project or to procure specialist advice to assist in the determination of the proposal. The use of a PPA would allow a project management approach to major developments, with a dedicated project manager and/or team, while not compromising business as usual work streams.

A PPA should be viewed as an efficiency tool, which provides a clear timeframe to progress significant development proposals with associated economic benefits as well as where necessary additional resource is provided to ensure service continuity.

The process that a PPA sets out will vary according to the number and complexity of the issues to be considered and the type of development proposed.

Relatively modest development proposals with straightforward planning issues may not benefit from a PPA approach, although even smaller scale schemes may require specialist input for example ecological, landscape and visual or highways expertise. In this case, the determination period will likely be extended and additional resource needed to allow the Authority to make an informed, on balance, decision or recommendation. Most large scale or significant development proposals will require some form of additional or extraordinary input and the PPA will agree the extension to determination periods, which is allowable under current regulations.

A PPA could be agreed by way of a mutual understanding between the parties or by way of formal agreement. In most cases, some form of written agreement will be required in order to agree timescales. This will be more pertinent when there is a financial contribution over and above the normal planning fee, which would be used to provide any additional resources necessary to determine the application.

A PPA should not be considered as a means of ‘buying’ a planning consent or circumventing the normal planning process. Notwithstanding any agreement on the use of a PPA for any particular planning application, it is a requirement under planning law for each planning application to be considered on its merits, taking into account all material considerations including national and local land use policy. It will be highly unlikely that an LPA will enter a PPA related to a development that has little or no chance of receiving a favourable recommendation.

Common elements of a PPA:

  • The agreement is usually drawn up prior to the submission of a planning application
  • The Authority and the prospective applicant will be signatories to the agreement
  • As a general principle, the agreement should be as simple as possible, consistent with a proportionate approach to the scale of the proposal and complexity of the issues raised
  • The agreement should include one or more agreed milestones to define the process of considering the development proposed, including an agreed date by which an application will be determined by the Authority
  • The agreed determination date will supersede the normal statutory time limits
  • The simplest PPAs will be an agreement between the Authority and the applicant, setting an appropriate determination date for a planning application
  • More often than not, the PPA will be agreed during pre-application discussions to set out the scope and timetable for pre-application engagement and subsequent submission and determination of the planning application
  • An additional financial contribution to cover any extraordinary costs, over and above the planning fee, will be agreed.

Principally, PPAs would be used for larger development schemes (major and above) but could also be used for any type of development that requires an extraordinary response from the Authority. This could include renewable energy schemes or essential development on sensitive sites.

PPAs could also be used as part of a response to consultations on Developments of National Significance (DNS) applications. These applications are submitted to and determined by the Welsh Ministers via the Planning Inspectorate, which takes most of the planning fee. In this case, the local authority will be a statutory consultee and will be responsible for discharging the conditions and any subsequent enforcement. It is essential therefore that any costs incurred by securing critical advice can be recovered from the developer.



These fees cover administration costs and the time spent in research, assessment, a meeting as necessary, and in making a written response.

The HMRC have confirmed through the CIPFA VAT Committee that the statutory pre-application service provided by Welsh LPAs is to be treated as non-business and outside the scope of VAT. The non-statutory/discretionary service will remain VAT-able and the charging schedule above includes VAT.

For major developments, a ‘free’ scoping meeting of up to 1 hour will be offered. The purpose of the scoping meeting is to allow the potential developer to explain and outline their scheme and for the Authority to identify the main issues. Some very basic guidance will be provided but there will not be any qualitative advice at this stage. Following the meeting, the case officer will provide a written schedule outlining the scope of the pre-application advice, which statutory consultees will be involved, a breakdown of the cost of providing the formal pre-application advice and a draft timetable for meetings/responses. It is then up to the applicant whether to engage our more value added pre-application advice service or use the more limited statutory system.

Each project or separate site referred to in an enquiry will be charged at the appropriate rate. Sites may not be artificially divided in an attempt to attract a different tariff. Multiple requests will attract the appropriate multiple fees.



Our pre application advice service is offered to both developers and individual applicants including householders. In either case there are some general points which you should take into account before you contact us:

  • Try to contact us at the earliest reasonable opportunity in your project
  • Undertake some initial research yourself including looking at our notes on how to submit a valid application
  • Sound out the views of those who may be affected by your proposals
  • Remember the more information you can give us, the more accurate and helpful our response can be – vague proposals can receive only vague advice. The key to the success of this service will be you providing us with adequate information in advance – this is set out in more detail in the documents mentioned above; and
  • On complex issues be prepared to seek private professional help – our service is not intended to be an alternative to employing professional consultants.

We will always do our best to give you the best advice we can on the information which is to hand. However, you need to be aware that any advice given by Authority Officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal decision by the Authority as Local Planning Authority. Any views or opinions are given in good faith, and to the best of our ability but without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application.

The final decision on any application that you may then make can only be taken after we have consulted local people, statutory consultees and any other interested parties. It will be made by the Development Management Committee or by planning officers and be based on all of the information available at that time.

You should therefore be aware that officers cannot guarantee the final formal decision that will be made on your application(s). However, any pre application advice that has been provided will be carefully considered in reaching a decision or recommendation on an application; subject to the proviso that circumstances and information may change or come to light that could alter that position.

Please note that the weight given to pre application advice will decline over time, and can be superseded by new government advice or new planning policies.

This service is available in Welsh on request.

Fees are non-refundable.