Pre-application advice

Local Small Scale pre-application advice

We are taking steps to allow us to continue to deliver our services for the duration of the COVID19 situation.  Details of our full position can be found on this page. 

We are no longer operating under business as usual in order to focus on priority and statutory services. The Highland Council is planning for greatly increased staff absence levels over the coming days and weeks. Staff will be working remotely, so capacity and access to our usual systems will be significantly limited. It may therefore take longer to process planning applications, building warrants, and related aspects of the Planning and Building Standards service including customer queries, complaints and public comments during this period.  Your patience and understanding is appreciated.

If you know that you require planning permission then the Highland Council encourages and welcomes the opportunity to provide advice before you formally submit your planning application.

Please read the guidance below before submitting your application. 

There is a fee for this value-added service. Please check our Other Planning and Environment Fees and Charges document for more details on how much you need to pay and a full list of categories under Local Small Scale Developments.

What do I need to submit with my request?

In order for a pre-application advice request to be considered valid and for processing to begin, it must include the following:


  • A completed pre-application advice application form using our on-line form below;
  • A clear description of the proposed development;
  • A fee appropriate to the type of development proposed. Payment can be made when making your application via our on-line form below;
  • A location plan at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 which outlines the land in question in red, with any other land owned/controlled by the prospective applicant outlined in blue;
  • Details of site access, drainage provision etc.
  • Sketches and/or drawings of the development proposal (as necessary);


  • A draft Design and Access Statement (where applicable);
  • Photographs of the site; and
  • Site layout plans and site sections (ideally at a scale of 1:500 or 1:200); and
  • Elevational drawings (ideally at a scale of 1:100 or 1:50).

Apply for Local Small Scale Pre-Application Advice

Pre-application advice

How will my request be handled?

Requests for pre-application advice are handled in a similar fashion to statutory applications, albeit that the process is shorter and there is not requirement for neighbour notification or advertisement. Requests will be validated, given a reference number and allocated to a case officer. Once all relevant information has been gathered and assessed, we will issue our advice in writing.

When will I receive a response?

The Council intends that all valid pre-application advice requests will be dealt with as follows:

  • Within one week of receiving a valid pre-application advice request, we will issue an acknowledgement letter and contact details for the officer dealing with your request; and;
  • Within six weeks of the date of validation, we will issue a formal pre- application advice letter.

What if I disagree with the pre-application advice I receive?

Pre-application advice does not constitute a formal decision of the Council, so you are free to submit a planning application etc. to the Council regardless of any pre-application advice you may receive.

Developer contributions

Anyone planning to develop in Highland may need to make a financial payment towards service and infrastructure provision, known as developer contributions. Before submitting a planning application likely developer contribution costs should be calculated by the applicant using our developer contributions guidance  Developer contribution costs should be budgeted for when buying land for development and working out project costs.

How is this webpage?