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Pre-application Advice Service

Guidance notes


South Ribble Borough Council welcomes and encourages discussions before a planning application is submitted. Discussions can help to achieve a better standard of application, which stand a better chance of a successful outcome. There are a number of benefits in seeking advice before making an application:

  •  It provides early guidance on the planning policies relevant to your development and helps you to understand how these policies apply to your proposal.
  • It can identify at an early stage if there is a need for specialist information such as a tree survey, flood risk assessment, ecological assessment.
  • It enables proposals to be changed and potential problems overcome before an application is submitted, saving time during the application process.
  • It will ensure you know what information you need to submit with the application, thereby making sure it can be registered and validated.
  • It can give a greater degree of certainty of whether your application is likely to be successful.

This service is discretionary and a charge is made as set out below.

Charging Structure

The table below sets out the current charges, effective from 1 August 2018 These charges are inclusive of VAT, charged at 20%.

Current charges: Effective 1 August 2018
Type of applicationFixed charge
Significant major£3,000
Medium Scale£500
Small Scale£200


What is considered to form a major or small scale application?

Additional follow up meetings in respect of significant major, major and medium scale applications will incur an additional charge at a reduced rate as detailed above.

Do you charge for all types of advice?

The following types of enquiry are free of charge:

  • Advice to Parish and Town Councils relating to development they wish to undertake
  • Advice to Lancashire County Council and other Government Agencies
  • Advice to registered charities and voluntary organisations with regard developments they wish to carry out
  • Housing Associations where the scheme is for affordable housing.

What if I just need General Advice?

The Planning service will continue to provide a general level of advice to members of the public without charge. This advice could include questions about how to submit an application, how do we process an application, what planning policies are relevant to my proposal, what is the planning application fee for my development.

The majority of this advice can also be found on the Council's web site.

Householder pre-application advice

The Planning Service also offers advice in relation to house extensions or alterations that require planning permission.

Alternatively, to find out whether planning permission is required, a self-assessment form is available on the Councils web site.

Householders may also visit the Planning Portal web site where there is an interactive house tool that provides guidance on what constitutes permitted development that does not require planning permission. A link to this site is available from the Councils web site. Please note that the Council is unable to confirm in writing whether a proposal does not require planning permission because it forms permitted development. The only way to be certain of this is to submit an application for a Certificate of Lawfulness. Such a certificate forms a formal legally binding decision. These applications can be submitted online, via the Planning Portal website. A fee is payable.

The Council has also produced a Supplementary Planning Document giving guidance on the design, appearance, scale, layout etc of domestic extensions that require planning permission. This can be viewed on the council's web site.

How do I request Pre-application Advice?

Requests for advice should be made by completing the Pre Application Advice Form available on the Council's web site and at our offices. Once completed the form, with the accompanying information and can be submitted by email to or sent by post to the Councils offices. Pre application enquiries will not be processed without the appropriate fee.

Once your request for advice has been received and checked, we aim to contact you within 5 working days to acknowledge receipt of your form and inform you of the name of the Case officer dealing with your request. If we need further information at this time we will let you know what we need.

What you should provide?

The following information and plans should be submitted with the Request Form. If insufficient information is submitted we may be unable to provide pre application advice. As a minimum please include:

  • Site location plan at an appropriate scale, usually 1:1250 or 1:2500
  • Details of current use and site history if known
  • Details of the nature and scale of the development proposed
  • Draft Design and Access Statement
  • Photographs of the site and it's surroundings
  • Sketch drawings of the proposed development to include a proposed layout, floorplans and elevations, sufficient to indicate the scale and height of development proposed.

If you have difficulty in providing all of the above information, it may still be possible for us to give you advice based on simple sketches and drawings. Please contact us for guidance.

What Service can you expect ?

Once a request is received it will be assigned to a Case officer. The Officer will aim to provide you with a written response or to arrange a meeting within 20 working days of receipt of the request. It is not always necessary to arrange a meeting, particularly in relation to small scale proposals. The need for a meeting will be a matter for the Case officer to decide. The Case Officer will also visit the site if required.

In respect of major or significant major applications it is assumed at least one meeting will be required. It may also be necessary to consult statutory consultees such as the Highway Authority. The Case officer would invite their representative to meetings as appropriate. In such cases, pre application advice may take longer so that we can provide a comprehensive response. The Case Officer will keep you informed of likely timescales. We will aim to provide written advice within 10 working days of any meeting held.

The Case Officer will provide a written response covering the following matters:

  • Relevant planning history of the site
  • Relevant planning policies
  • Site constraints eg Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Area, Listed Building, flood risk area.
  • Whether the proposed development is acceptable in principle
  • Comment on particular details of the proposal, scale of development, design, highway implications, amenity, environmental issues such as noise, odour, contamination, biodiversity, flooding, and drainage.
  • Any likely Developer contributions required
  • Additional supporting information or technical reports that may be required to accompany an application*

*We recommend that you consult the Councils Validation Checklist available on the web site, to obtain further guidance on all the information you will need to submit with your application.

You should be aware that any advice given by the Council in relation to pre application enquiries will be based on the Officers professional judgement and without prejudice to the formal consideration of any subsequent planning application. Favourable pre application advice cannot guarantee that a subsequent application will be successful. This is because when we receive a formal application it will be subject to further consultation and publicity which may raise other issues.

You should also bear in mind that any subsequent changes to planning legislation or planning policies may affect the advice given. The weight that can be given to pre application advice will therefore diminish over time.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2000 requires us to make all documents available to the members of the public, if requested. Pre application advice can only be treated as confidential if there are clearly issues of commercial sensitivity or other significant reasons why this information may not be made public. (Any enquiry in this category should be clearly marked as confidential). You should be aware that all documents relating to any subsequent planning application will be publically available.

Contact details

Should you require any further information or advice please contact the:

Planning Service
Development Management Team
Civic Centre
West Paddock
PR25 1DH

The offices are open between Monday to Thursday 8.30 am - 5.15 pm Friday 8.30 am - 4.45 pm

Telephone 01772 625400 Email

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