Pre-application advice

We are committed to providing an efficient and effective planning service which meets government performance targets for the processing of applications.

We recognise the value of pre-application discussions for the efficient handling of subsequent applications and therefore encourage applicants, developers and their agents to engage in this process. This is particularly useful on major development proposals.


The Development Management Team has moved to an appointment only basis. If you wish to visit us please make an appointment with one of our case officers. General advice can be obtained by phoning our Contact Centre on 0161 253 5432.

Pre-application charges

From 1 July 2012 charges were introduced for certain types of pre-application planning advice. From 1 January 2014 the charging regime has been widened to include householder applications and small commercial developments. The charging regime has been changed due to the increasing amount of resources that processing these previously 'free' applications have involved and to ensure that sufficient resources are available for dealing with these in a cost neutral way for the council tax payers of Bury.

Pre-application advice service for major developments

We offer a formal process for requests for advice related to all developments and for major developments we take a team approach and involve all interested parties in the meeting including our own Highways and Environmental Health Teams and external bodies such as The Environment Agency. This especially applies to the following two categories:

  • Large scale major development (bespoke charges will apply):
    • 50 plus dwellings;    
    • 10,000 m2 or over floorspace or 4 hectares or over site area.
  • Major development:
    • 10 to 49 dwellings;
    • 1,000 m2 - 9,999 m2 floorspace or 0.5 to 4 hectares site area, including change of use and minerals or waste proposals.

Pre-application advice for other developments

We also provide pre-application advice for applications which are not for major developments. Pre-application advice for the medium and other categories are defined below:

  • Minor residential development: 2-9 dwellings
  • Small scale residential / Commercial development: 1 dwelling; 999 m2 or less floorspace or under 0.5 hectares site area, including change of use; advertisements
  • Non-domestic listed buildings and telecommunications development
  • Householder and listed building householder extensions and alterations

Requesting advice

pdf icon Download and complete our request pre-application advice form [191kb]. Where ever possible you should include the following with your request:

  • a description of the site location and the proposed works
  • photographs showing the area affected by the proposed works and others showing the surrounding area.
  • site location map with the boundary of the application site outlined in red and the boundary of any other property controlled by the applicant outlined in blue. These can be purchased from the National Map Centre or any Ordnance Survey reseller.
  • plans or other drawings. We appreciate that for 'householder' type developments the cost of providing professional drawings could be prohibitive at this stage, however without any form of drawings the advice we can provide will be limited.

Please remember that the more information you can provide about your proposal, the more accurate and in depth our feedback will be.


We will make every effort to ensure that the advice given in the pre-application process is as accurate as possible. However any advice given by council officers for pre-application enquiries does not constitute a formal response or decision of the council with regards to any future planning applications and, whilst it may be a material consideration, cannot be held to bind the council in its validation or formal determination of a subsequent application.

If an application is subsequently submitted which fails to take on board advice given by officers, then the council may refuse it without further discussion with the applicant or their agent

Contact for Development Management