Pre-application advice can speed up the planning process. It can advise whether an application is likely to be approved or not and highlight at an early stage any potential issues that will need to be addressed. 

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

  • research of the planning history of the site
  • undertake a 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 and consultee requirements
  • establish timescales and explain the planning process.

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.

Please note that the provision of written pre-application advice is a chargeable service. 

How to request pre-application advice

A request for pre-application advice must be made using the Minerals and Waste Pre Planning Application advice form (PDF 618KB)

You will also need to provide:

  • A scale site location plan which clearly indicates the site upon which development is proposed
  • Site layout drawings of the proposed development. 

The completed request form and necessary supporting information should be sent to MWplanning@WestmorlandandFurness.gov.uk

We aim to contact you by email within 10 days of receiving a request for pre-application advice. Within this we will confirm:

  • the fee amount and to whom an invoice for the fee should be issued
  • 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 is 6 weeks, although this cannot always be guaranteed, especially for more complex schemes.

Charges for pre-application advice

For the purposes of pre-planning application advice minerals and/or waste development proposals are classed either as a "Major" or a "Strategic" scheme. 

Advice for a major scheme proposal costs £816.00 (including VAT).

Advice for a strategic scheme proposal costs £1,224.00 (including VAT).

These charges include a site visit, meeting and a single formal written response. 

Any additional responses subsequently sought are charged at £144.00 per letter (including VAT). 

Any proposal that meets or exceeds the below criteria is classed as a strategic scheme. Therefore, any proposal that falls below the thresholds specified constitutes a major scheme.

  • New development proposals or engineering operations covering 2ha+ of land or construction of 2500m²+ of floorspace for new or extended buildings
  • Changes of use (involving 2500m²+ floor space or 2ha+ of land)
  • Mineral extraction involving a new quarry or mine or a physical extension to an existing quarry or mine
  • Waste disposal (for example - landfill/landraise) involving the creation of a new site or a physical extension or other void-space capacity increase at an existing site
  • Proposals for the treatment of waste and the recovery of energy from waste including (without limitation) Advanced Thermal Treatment Processes such as an Energy from Waste Plant; or for an Incinerator or Gasification Plant or a Pyrolysis Plant
  • Renewable energy development that covers an area of 5ha or more.

Proposals relating to an existing site that only involve a time extension of the permitted operational period; an alteration of the working and/or restoration scheme or some other variation/removal of a planning condition would be classed as a major scheme for pre-application advice purposes. 

The prices shown above reflect the current standard VAT rate of 20%. VAT will be charged at the rate in place at the time of the request. Please also note that pre-application advice charges are regularly reviewed and subject to annual inflationary increases each financial year.

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.

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. PPAs are likely to be required for more complex proposals including:

  • proposals that have an impact on strategic areas of environmental sensitivity
  • proposals involving significant non-standard planning obligations

The cost of a planning performance agreement is calculated on a bespoke case-by-case basis and can be provided following the provision of outline information. 

Important information about the service

While we always aim to provide an impartial and professional response to all enquiries, any advice given by officers during pre-application discussions cannot prejudice the council's final decision on your proposal when a planning application is submitted. All planning applications will be subject to consultation with the public and statutory consultees and may be subject to consideration by one of the council's Planning Committees. The formal response provided is of an advisory nature only and cannot be regarded as binding upon the Local Planning Authority.

  • Pre-application advice on strategic proposals and those subject to a PPA would, in most cases, be determined by the Council's Stategic Planning Committee.
  • The level of advice that you receive will be based on the level of information that you submit to us.
  • While accurate and up-to-date advice will be provided it should be noted that planning legislation, policy and guidance can change over time and this might affect the advice given. It is therefore important to act in a timely manner after receipt of the advice. We will endeavour to advise you of any potential changes we are aware of at the time of your enquiry that may affect your proposal.
  • While we will seek to identify statutory consultees that should be consulted in respect of your proposals we cannot provide advice on their behalf. Statutory consultees such as the Environment Agency or Natural England may have their own procedures and charges for giving pre-application advice which you may have to pay in addition to the fee for the advice we provide.
  • Whilst we can provide advice that will assist you in developing the design for your proposals we cannot assist in the drawing-up of plans.
  • Our pre-application advice service relates only to issues associated with the planning requirements for the development. While we will aim to highlight where additional consents may be needed, for example - Environmental Permits or building regulations approval, you will be responsible for seeking your own advice on any other consents/permits that may be needed.
  • We will normally treat all pre-application enquiries confidentially until a planning application is submitted. However, the Freedom of Information Act 2000 includes a presumption in favour of disclosure of information, including pre-application discussions, unless such disclosure would cause adverse impacts. This may mean we have to reveal the details of your enquiry, and the advice given, if a request is received under the Freedom of Information Act. If you have a reason for requesting that your enquiry should remain confidential, for example on the grounds of commercial confidentiality, please let us know prior to your pre-application enquiry being submitted.

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