Pre-application advice and fees

Last Updated: 20 August 2021

This is a paid for service. If you need planning permission a pre-application discussion will help us understand the project and any potential problems.

It also offers a chance to consider wider consultation, where appropriate, with the public and other groups which can lead to a better outcome for everyone.

Please note: we are unable to accept pre-application advice enquiries for any of the National Park extension areas (where the boundary changed on the 1 August 2016)

Benefits of pre-application discussions:

  • identify opportunities for improvement at a stage when a proposal can still be modified, resulting in better quality developments
  • significantly increase the likelihood of getting planning permission
  • allow more opportunity to coordinate investment
  • help to communicate the vision and objectives for South Lakeland
  • develop a shared understanding of constraints and opportunities
  • agree information requirements and identify proposals that are unlikely to be supported
  • establish timescales and explain the planning processes
  • reduce delays further down the line

You are strongly advised to use this service. Applications submitted without any pre application discussions are likely to be refused where significant amendments are required.

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

Please read the guidance and fees note below. This will help you to provide as much relevant information as possible to ensure we can give appropriate advice. 

Make a request for pre-application advice (PDF 135KB / 2 pages)

Guidance and fees for pre-application advice on new developments

Following the decision made by Full Council to update and adopt a new fee charging regime for pre-application enquiries, the previous four enquiry categories have been expanded to six, namely:

Category A large scale major development

  • 50 dwellings of more
  • non-residential schemes over 2000m² floor space or 2 hectares in site area
  • change of use of buildings over 2000m² floor space or 2 hectares
  • more than 10 wind turbines
  • any scheme requiring Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)

Category B small scale major development

  • residential development of between 10 and 49 dwellings (inclusive) or where the site area is between 0.5 hectares and 2 hectares
  • new floor space or change of use of between 1,000 and 2,499 square metres or where the site area is more than 1 hectare and less than 2 hectares

Category C intermediate development

  • 3 to 9 dwellings
  • non-residential schemes with 500 to 999m² floor space or 0.5 to 0.99ha
  • change of use of buildings 500 to 999m² floor space or 0.5 to 0.99ha
  • single wind turbine/telecomm mast exceeding 17m high

Category D minor development

Examples include:

  • maximum of 2 dwellings
  • non-residential schemes with maximum 499m² floor space or maximum 0.49 hectares
  • advertisements
  • change of use of buildings max 499m² floor space or maximum 0.49 hectares
  • single wind trubine/telecomm mast maximum 17m high

Category E householder development

  • to enlarge, improve or alter an existing dwelling, carry out operations in its curtalige that are ancillary to the dwelling, including house extension(s) or domestic buildings (garages, carports, shed etc) in the garden

Category F heritage asset advice

  • Heritage Asset only pre-application advice (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas not involving planning Permission)

These increases are in line with our Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) and reflect more of the true cost of providing the pre-application service to our customers. This represents the first fee increase in several years and will enable us to continue to deliver and improve this part of the development management service.

The new fees for each category are as follows:

Category A fee

£1,224.40 (including VAT) for two site visits and two meetings. Additional £61.20 (including VAT) for each and every meeting thereafter.

Category B fee

£612 (including VAT) for one site visit, meeting and letter. Additional £61.20 (including VAT) if a further meeting is requested, and each and every letter and meeting thereafter.

Category C fee

£244.80 (including VAT) for one site visit and one letter. Additional £61.20 (including VAT) if a further meeting is requested, and each and every letter and meeting thereafter.

Category D fee

£122.40 (including VAT) for one site visit and one letter. Additional £61.20 (including VAT) if a meeting or follow on advice is requested.

Category E fee

Householder Development: £61.20 (including VAT) for one site visit and one letter. Additional £61.20 (including VAT) if a meeting is requested.

Category F fee

Heritage advice (not involving planning permission): £60 (including VAT) for a letter. Additional £60 (including VAT) if a site visit or meeting are required.

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

Terms and conditions

  • 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
  • cheques should be made payable to South Lakeland District Council
  • credit/debit card payments can be made by calling the phone number listed at the bottom of this page or at reception at South Lakeland House

The service you will receive and the information you will need to provide

  • anyone wanting pre-application advice is required to complete a ‘Request for Pre-application Advice’ form. This form sets out the information that is required in order for the request to be valid
  • we will contact you by phone or in writing within 1 week of receiving a request for pre-application advice. We will confirm:
    - that the fee, if submitted with the form, is correct or if a fee has not been submitted with the form, 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
  • where a fee has been submitted for advice without all other necessary information and the additional information is not received within 4 weeks of the original submission, the fee will be returned but £25 will be deducted for administration costs
  • 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 5 weeks, although this cannot always be guaranteed, especially for more complex schemes
  • where specialist advice is requested at a meeting, the necessary officers will attend subject to availability
  • the case officer will:
    - 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 in the context of the plans provided and any meeting discussions which will include a list of supporting documents that would need to be submitted with any application. These might include a list of possible conditions that could be attached to the proposal if submitted; a list of key statutory and non-statutory consultees that would be asked about the planning application

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.


  • any views or opinions expressed are in good faith, without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to public consultation and ultimately decided by the council
  • alterations to local, regional and national policies might affect the advice given
  • care should be taken with any pre-application advice for developments that are not submitted within one year of the council’s advice letter

Processing of subsequent planning applications

The planning service will try and process applications within the nationally set timescales of 8, 13 or 16 weeks depending on the type of application. However, applications submitted following pre-application advice may take less time to determine.

Applications that have been submitted in the absence of any pre-application discussions are likely to be refused without further negotiation where significant amendments are required to make the development acceptable.