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Pre-application advice for businesses

The Council has produced a Plain English Guide to submitting a Planning Application for Business which includes answers to Frequently Asked Questions and a validation checklist for use in business planning applications. Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce has endorsed it as a really useful manual for demystifying the planning and helping local firms to understand the process.

Do you need planning permission?

Businesses seeking to develop their premises may require planning permission.  Permission may be required when building new premises, changing the use of existing premises, or extending existing buildings. Certain types of minor changes are permitted without the need to apply for planning permission. You can go to the business section of the Planning Portal website for guidance on what will or will not require planning permission.

The display of advertisements at business or commercial premises is subject to a separate consent process within the planning system.  If you wish to display an advertisement or signage at your premises or within its vicinity you may need to obtain Advertising Consent More guidance on adverts and signage can be found here. 

If you are still unsure, we can tell you if you will need to apply for planning permission or   advertisement consent. This is a free service for our commercial and business customers, please send details of your proposal to

If you know you need planning permission

Informal advice - planning surgery

You can contact us for advice before submitting a planning application. We'll usually give you an informal opinion as to whether you are likely to get approval for your proposals, what information you may need to submit with your application and can you help resolve any problems at an early stage. 

Telephone call appointments with a planning officer are available every Wednesday. You will need to contact us on 0345 605 3013 or by email to make an appointment.

This service is free and is offered to small business and commercial schemes, adverts or small infill developments. This service is not a detailed review of your proposals and is not suitable for major or complex developments or where you may require a detailed or written response.

Pre-application advice service

The pre-application advice service is a formalised fee paying service where you will be allocated a planning case officer who will review your proposals, including your design, site layout, surveys and report conclusions.  They may also liaise with any internal or external consultees where necessary.  

While there is a fee for this process, it is intended to assist you to improve the quality of the submission, amend any aspects which may need to be addressed, as well as improve the quality of the eventual application and its chances of success with quicker determination times.

The charges apply for the whole pre-application process, including any subsequent discussion of issues/submission of revisions following on from the initial request.  This service is offered as written advice or as a meeting.  The level of the fee will depend on your proposal and the type of response you require.  For more information see the guidance above.

How much it costs

Charges for pre-application advice discussions [91KB]

Please note that Staffordshire County Council Highways department have introduced their own charging policy for Highways Pre-Application Advice. Therefore if you wish to have specific highway advice on your planning proposal at the pre-application stage you will need to contact them directly inline with their guidance and charging policy.  This is a separate process to the Council's pre-application advice service for planning and we are not responsible for any criteria or charging policy set out by the County Council.  Further information is available on the Staffordshire County Council website.

How to apply

Complete the online application form below. You'll need to make a payment as part of this form with a credit or debit card.