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Apply for pre-application planning advice

We offer pre-application advice on a variety of planning matters you need to consider before applying for permission, such as:

  • if you need planning permission for your proposal
  • if your proposal is likely to be acceptable when submitted as an application and possible changes you can make if not.
  • the previous planning history for your site and any planning constraints that apply
  • advice on local and national planning policies that apply to your proposal
  • planning obligations (S106 agreements or CIL payments)
  • consultation or publicity you should carry out before submitting your application 

All advice is given on an informal basis, assessed in accordance with relevant planning policies and current legislation. Our advice is intended as a guide to assist in finding out if a proposal would be acceptable in principle. Some factors cannot be assessed until application stage, when a site visit and relevant consultations are carried out.

The advice we give at pre-application stage does not provide a formal legal opinion. If you require formal confirmation that planning permission is not required, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate. This will provide a legal decision as to whether the development meets the criteria for permitted development.

Apply for pre-application planning advice online to Lewes District or Eastbourne Borough Council

Our online form covers both councils, however you should read the guidance, exemption notes and fee information below for the council you are applying to before starting your application.

Start application now

The South Downs National Park (SDNP) provides its own pre-application advice. If you are unsure if your application site is within the SDNP please use the Do I live in the National Park? web tool. You can also find guidance on how to apply to them below.

Information required

For us to assess if planning permission is needed and/or if planning permission is likely to be granted by Lewes District Council, we need you to provide us with clear information so we can offer accurate advice. The information we need depends on the type of proposal and the level of advice you need.  

Before applying, please have the following documents ready to upload with your online application:

  • address of the site and contact details including an email address

  • a site/block plan identifying where the land or property is located

  • drawings, sketches, plans of the proposal

  • photographs of the site

  • any other information relevant to the proposal (e.g. use, parking, materials)

  • the relevant fee  


You must include payment with the online application. Your application will not be validated or processed without the fee. Your enquiry is only valid when the fee has been paid and you have submitted all the information required for us to advise you on your proposal. You can find the fees in Appendix 3 of our Pre-application advice guidance notes and fees document below.


Some development types do not need a fee, these include:

  • advice to town/parish councils

  • advice to the voluntary sector, charitable trust or not-for-profit organisation

  • schemes which comprise 100% affordable housing

  • advice on disabled access or modification 

  • regulation 5 notifications for telecommunications/broadband


Your enquiry will be allocated to a case officer who will usually reply within 20 working days from the date the enquiry was validated.

How to pay

Your payment will be taken online when you make your application.

Information required

Before applying for pre-application advice for a site in Eastbourne, please have the following documents ready to upload with your online application:

  • a site/block location plan

  • a sketch plan

  • good quality photos of the site

  • any other supporting documents you have (optional)

  • the relevant fee


Please note that from 1 April 2017 pre-application advice requires payment. You can find the fees in Appendix 3 of our Pre-application advice guidance notes and fees document below. You must include payment with the online application. Your enquiry will not be processed without the fee. Fees are subject to VAT.


Most pre-application advice will need a fee; however there are some requests that are free of charge which are:

  • proposals solely to provide access, alterations or extensions for disabled persons

  • works for preserved trees

  • works on trees in a conservation area

  • works for charities

  • works for community groups

  • works for town councils


Once you have submitted your request it will usually take between 4-5 weeks for a response, depending on the type of project. If your submission does not meet the validation requirements, we will not be able to progress your request. 

How to pay

Your payment will be taken online when you make your application. 

Pre-application advice in the South Downs National Park

The South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA) offer pre-application advice on planning matters across the whole of the National Park, provided through their partner authorities.

Please note that the SDNPA publish all pre-application enquiries and therefore your enquiry will be publicly available to view online.

Visit the SDNPA website to apply for pre-application advice and view their pre-application advice fee schedule.

All cheque payments for applications within the SDNPA area must be made payable to ‘South Downs National Park Authority’ and sent with a covering letter quoting the application site to: South Downs National Park Authority, South Downs Centre, North Street, Midhurst, GU29 9DH.

If you are unsure if your application site is in the South Downs National Park please use the Do I live in the National Park? web tool.