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How can Planning Aid England help?

Planning Aid England offer a range of services and support in order to empower individuals and communities to engage in the planning process. We provide advice and guidance on all aspects of the planning system and can help you to:

  • Understand how the planning system works
  • Comment on planning proposals
  • Get involved in the preparation of the Local Plan
  • Draw up your own community plan or strategy
  • Apply for planning permission or appeal against the refusal of permission

We offer a range of support and services depending on your needs and eligibility for further support.

For more information on what this may involve see our "what we do" page.  

What can Planning Aid England not do?

Advice and help can only be given on planning matters. Planning Aid England cannot provide help with the following subjects:

  • Building regulation approvals
  • Drawing plans
  • Valuation work
  • Structural surveys and site investigation work

If your enquiry falls outside the scope of the Planning Aid England service you may be referred to another organisation. 

For example, the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors consumer helpline offers up to 30 minutes free advice on boundary disputes, party walls and compulsory purchase. Their advice line number is (0)24 7686 855 and further information is available from their website.

Who funds Planning Aid England?

Planning Aid England' is funded by the RTPI.

Planning Aid England is also part of a consortium led by Locality, which is funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government to support neighbourhood planning groups. Our involvement in this new programme is limited to producing online guidance, tools and resources. 

Is Planning Aid England independent?

Yes. Planning Aid England is completely separate from central or local government. It provides completely independent and impartial planning advice.

How does Planning Aid England work?

Planning Aid England is run by the RTPI, which is a registered charity.

Who volunteers for Planning Aid England?

There are over 600 Planning Aid England volunteers in England, about half of whom are chartered members of the RTPI. Most volunteers are in full time employment and work in local government, private practice or in academia.

Every volunteer who gives advice is an experienced, professional town planner and we seek to ensure they have the necessary skills, knowledge and expertise to assist.

Volunteers are indemnified (insured) for the advice they give. Volunteers need to be aware of conflict of interest for example those working in local government cannot give advice in their authority's area and volunteers in private practice cannot give advice where there is a conflict with their work.

Who qualifies for Planning Aid England support?

Our Advice Service offers a limited amount of free, general planning advice. (As a guide, "limited" means up to 15 mins advice by email). Further support is aimed at disadvantaged groups and individuals who cannot afford to employ a planning consultant. For further information please see our eligibility criteria.

What happens if I don't qualify for further support?

Our Planning Advisors will refer you to the online Directory of Planning Consultants, or refer you to other relevant professionals or advice services. 

How can I contact Planning Aid England?

If you need planning advice, email us at For other enquiries, can call Planning Aid England on 020 7929 8338 or email

Is the service completely free?

Yes. Planning Aid England is a completely free service (although donations are always welcome to keep the service going). You may be asked to pay for maps, reports and other documents that are needed to help you with your case.

If you require bespoke support to assist you with community engagement or capacity building a fee may be incurred. For further information email us at or call 020 7929 8338.