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Luton Borough Council

Planning application engagement process

Luton’s planning application service comprises three elements:

  1. Pre-app advice - see advice on your proposal before making a formal application
  2. Planning application - submit your proposal for formal consideration
  3. In-app service - engagement to overcome planning concerns
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Pre-application advice is recognised as an important part of the planning process.

Its objectives are to improve the quality of the applications submitted, with the aim of delivering quality outcomes to the benefit of the customer, the council and the community at large. 

The process will generally give more certainty and clarity at an early stage by identifying planning issues and requirements before an application is submitted so that speedier decisions can be made. However, given the resource implications of providing such a service, the overall cost to us cannot be sustained within current budgetary pressures. Therefore the costs should be recovered directly and not fall as a general cost to the council taxpayer. The charges are set out on the fee sheet below.

Use the advice note below to find out:

  • what the benefits of pre-application advice are
  • what should you expect from us
  • what do we expect from you
  • the information we expect customers to provide
  • details of the payments of fee
  • the service you can expect from us
  • the implications of not engaging in the pre-application process

Follow this link for detailed advice from the Environment Agency.

The Development Control service will continue to provide good, constructive advice at pre-application stage with the objective of delivering high quality development within the borough. 


Please use the online form below to submit your request.

Apply for a pre-application development

Planning applications

On receipt of a planning application, we aim to deal with them within the prescribed timescales and will continue to make requests for very minor changes to ensure developments meet our adopted policies.

We are not able to update you of general progress on your application, however, if you have not heard from us within five days of the target date of the application, you can contact us by email to [email protected] to get an update and we will provide you with an emailed response.   

In the event that an application is going to be recommended for refusal, we will in most cases, contact the Agent (or applicant if there is not an appointed Agent) by email, to inform them of the recommendation and the general reasons for refusal. However we will not contact the Agent in cases where:

  • there is planning history, enforcement case(s) or appeals relating to similar development
  • the development would have to be changed so significantly it would need to be done under a fresh application
  • development relates to Prior approvals and Certificates of Existing Lawfulness
  • pre-application advice has already been given
  • the development is retrospective or a re-submission

Where the Agent is contacted, they will be given three options:

  • for the application to be determined in its current form
  • to withdraw the application
  • to provide an initial 5 week extension of time to allow them to make a formal request for in-application advice

We will continue to seek minor changes or amendments to schemes which can be approved, such as window positions and minor inaccuracies on the plans. However, where the changes result in additional workload, such as changes to floor areas and alterations to the design, in most cases, the applicant will be invited to address this through our in-app service, which is a discretionary service seeking to resolve issues relating to current applications, ensuring that extensions of time are provided to cover the work.

Please note:this process does not guarantee approval, but in cases where a refusal is the only outcome, it will give applicants the opportunity to address some of the concerns and reduce the number of reasons for refusal, which may assist with any subsequent appeal.

Where the in-app process is offered, it will initially give five days to enable the applicant to decide whether they want the application to be determined as submitted, or to engage with the in-app process, in which case they are required to submit their application using the form below. The in-app process allows up to two sets of revised plans to be submitted. If taken up, once the case officer has been informed payment has been made, the following process will be initiated.

  1. The case officer will endeavour within ten working days, to provide a written assessment setting out the key concerns which resulted in the recommendation for refusal.
  2. The applicant will then be given 20 working days to submit an amended scheme seeking to address the issues raised. For larger or more problematical schemes, applicants can request a further extension of time to submit documentation, but the onus will be on the applicant to do so, as the case officer will determine the application if they are not approached to extend the time scale. If Officer’s consider it beneficial to have a site or online meeting, they will contact you to arrange one.
  3. Officers will then review the amendments and notify the applicant that they:
  • are satisfied with the amendments and will carry out the necessary administrative requirements to pursue a recommendation; or
  • that some further minor changes need to be made to ensure the plans are satisfactory and a further five working days will be given for this; or
  • confirm that the recommendation for refusal remains and the reason(s) for this. In this instance, the applicant will again be invited to withdraw the application or to have it determined in its original or revised format.

If you have any comments or concerns regarding this service, please contact us at [email protected]

In-app application form

Planning application Fast Track Service

The request for fast track must be stated within the proposal description on the application form on submission. Your application will not be eligible for fast track if you do not do this. We will not consider changing an application to be considered under fast track once it has been validated.

For more information such as criteria, how to pay, and fees please see the Fast Track Service document below.


© 2024 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ