Pre-application planning advice

Pre-application advice and fees

This is a paid for service.

Pre-application advice can speed up the planning process, advise if an application is likely to be approved or not, and highlight any potential issues.

Benefits of pre-application discussions and what we will provide:

  • research the history of the site
  • undertake an unaccompanied site visit
  • consult with key statutory and non-statutory consultees where appropriate
  • identify and assess the prospective application against council policies and standards
  • arrange to attend a meeting with you where appropriate
  • provide a detailed written response without prejudice
  • comment on the planning merits, possible areas for improvement and identify proposals that are unlikely to be supported
  • identify, validation & consultee requirements
  • establish timescales and explain the planning processes.

We won't provide:

  • binding opinions or opinions on lawfulness
  • a formal planning decision or guarantees that an application will be valid or approved
  • detailed technical advice or design the proposal for you
  • an opinion that is future-proofed against policy changes.

A request for pre-application advice can be made on the application form below.

You will also need to provide:

  • A 1:1250 or 1:2500 scale site location plan which clearly indicates the site upon which development is proposed.
  • The correct fee (including VAT)
  • Elevation plans of the proposed development (preferably to scale)
  • Site layout and floor plan drawings of the proposed development (preferably to scale)

It is also recommended that the following additional information is provided:

  • Photographs and/or sketch drawings of the site and surroundings

We aim to contact you by email within 10 days of receiving a request for pre-application advice

We will confirm:

  • that the fee is correct or if a fee has not been submitted, what the fee is
  • any additional information that is required before pre-application advice is offered
  • the name of the planning case officer who will be providing the advice and their contact details

The case officer will contact you to confirm the timescales for issuing their advice. If necessary, a meeting can be arranged to discuss the proposal prior to the case officer providing advice. The target date for responding to a valid request will be 6 weeks, although this cannot always be guaranteed, especially for more complex schemes

Householder development

Informal advice on enlargements, improvements or alterations to an existing dwelling or to carry out operations in its curtilage ancillary to the dwelling including house extensions or domestic buildings (garages, car ports, sheds, etc.)

Householder development fee:

£144 (including VAT) for one site visit (if required) and one letter

Heritage asset

Pre-application advise for Heritage Asset (Listed Building & Conservation Areas not involving planning permission)

Heritage Asset fee:

£144 (including VAT) for one site visit (if required) and one letter

Small minor development

  • New housing (1-3 dwellings)
  • Change of use (floor space 100-250m²), engineering operations, retail/commercial/industrial/agricultural projects (extensions & new buildings where floor space up to 250m², all infrastructure & plant)
  • Telecoms (excluding prior notifications)
  • Variation of conditions (non-householder)
  • Change of use 0-250m²

Small minor development fee

£324 (including VAT) for one site visit (if required) and one letter

£144 (including VAT) for each additional response

Large minor development

  • New housing (4-9 dwellings)
  • Changes of use (floor space 250-999m²), engineering operations, retail / commercial/industrial / agricultural projects (where floor space up to 250-999m²)
  • Energy related schemes up to 0.5Ha.

Large minor development fee:

£528.00 (including VAT) for one site visit (if required) and one letter

£144 (including VAT) for each additional response

Major schemes

  • New housing (10-49 dwellings)
  • Changes of use (floor space 1000-2500m²), engineering operations up to 2Ha, retail / commercial /industrial / agricultural projects (where floor space up to 1000-2500m²)
  • Energy related schemes up to 2Ha

Major schemes fee:

£816 (including VAT) for one site visit, meeting and letter

£144 (including VAT) for each additional response

Strategic schemes

  • New housing (50+ dwellings)
  • Changes of use (floor space is 2500m²+), engineering operations 2 Ha+, retail / commercial / industrial / agricultural projects (extensions and new buildings where floor space is 2500+m²)
  • Energy related schemes where 2 Ha+

Strategic schemes fee

£1,224 (including VAT) for one site visit, meeting and letter

£144 (including VAT) for each additional response

Planning performance agreements

Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs) are a collaborative project management process primarily aimed at complex development proposals. A fundamental principal of them is the front-loading of activity, prior to submission, to ensure that applications are of a high quality both in terms of the material submitted and the content of the proposal. There are a number of core components recommended by Communities and Local Government when producing a PPA:

  • project vision and development objectives of the planning proposal
  • project issues and tasks plan
  • project team and decision making framework
  • project programme

One of the key advantages for developers to using PPAs is greater certainty of the timescales for the decision making process and significantly reduced likelihood of unexpected issues being raised late in the development management process. When pre-application advice is sought a key area for discussion will be whether the use of a PPA is appropriate. PPAs are likely to be required for more complex proposals including:

  • proposals requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • larger sites that include a variety of land uses
  • proposals that have an impact on strategic areas of environmental sensitivity
  • proposals involving significant non-standard planning obligations
  • proposals which require referral to a central or regional government body
  • proposals which would require expansive consultations or involvement from many different stakeholders

Planning performance agreement fee:

A fee is available upon application on a case by case basis.

Terms and conditions

A reduced fee of 50% applies to requests submitted on behalf of community groups or local councils.

VAT is chargeable at the standard rate of 20% and will be charged at the rate in place at the time of the request

  • the fee must be paid at the time the request is made
  • bank details on request
  • credit/debit card payments can be made by calling the phone number listed at the bottom of this page
  • cheques should be made payable to Westmorland and Furness Council.


Pre-application planning advice will continue to be offered on a strictly without prejudice basis, and it will be made as reliable as possible. All advice will be based on the information provided, but it will not be any guarantee that any subsequent application will result in a particular decision and it will not be binding on the Council. Opinion may change, for example, during the formal application process as a result of views of consultees and other interested parties. It also has to be acknowledged that some decisions will be made by Planning Committee, rather than by officers, and in some cases they may reach a different view.

Request for Pre-application advice: PDF: 416 Kb / 2 pages)

Last updated: Tuesday, 20 June, 2023.