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Pre-application Advice

If you wish to carry out building work, change the use of a building or land, or any other development, the planning authority offers a pre-application advice service. This is a non-statutory, valuable service, with professional advice provided by Development Management, intended to guide and inform development proposals. Advice is provided free of charge.

Development Management will aim to provide written responses within 20 working days; agents are requested to make clients aware of this timescale. The potential requirement for further information, a site visit, or other priorities mean that an extension to this timescale may be required to ensure the best possible response.

Advice provided can be technical only, such as the form required, the planning fee applicable, documents required to be submitted with an application, or likely timescales.

However, advice is more commonly provided on the acceptability of proposed development, and whether it would be likely to meet the requirements of relevant policies, or changes that could be made to proposed development. This can help save time or fees when using an architect or planning agent.

By seeking pre-application advice in writing, you will receive a response that:

The following are issues often addressed within pre-application advice:

Pre-application advice will occasionally include comments from internal consultation bodies, such as Roads Services, and will generally not include advice or input from external agencies, such as Historic Environment Scotland, SEPA, or NatureScot.


All pre-application planning advice is given strictly without prejudice to any subsequent decision of Orkney Islands Council on any formal planning application. Every effort will be made to provide accurate professional advice; however, we cannot guarantee to cover all matters that will be considered in a formal application and the Council is not bound by this advice in the event of submission of a formal application. In addition to carrying out consultations, neighbours and other members of the public have a right to make representations on formal applications. Such representations and consultation responses will be fully taken into account when the Council determines a formal planning application.

The pre-application advice process can be completed with only basic information, or with detailed information. The detail of any response will be informed by the level of details submitted, and based on the facts of the proposal and context as presented. The minimum information expected is included within the Pre-application Planning Advice form.

Written enquiries should be made using the Pre-Application Advice form, available from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page. One version can be saved and completed on screen and the other can be printed and completed by hand.

Before you request pre-application advice you may wish to check whether your proposed development requires planning permission on the Permitted Development page.

School Place, Kirkwall, Orkney, KW15 1NY

Telephone: 01856 873535

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Orkney Islands Council: BOREAS DOMUS MARE AMICUS