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Guidance notes and terms and conditions of service

Lead local flood authority
Charged pre-application flood risk and land drainage advice service

July 2017

1. Introduction
2. What do we expect of applicants?
3. What benefits will the applicant get?
4. What can an applicant expect?
5. What are the levels of charging?
6. Fee exemptions
7. Additional charges
8. Payment
9. Standard of service
10. Pre-application meeting
11. Written confirmation of officer advice
12. Important notes
13. LCC contact details

1. Introduction

Lancashire County Council (LCC) operates a service of providing pre-application flood risk and land drainage advice for development proposals and project work. This note provides guidance on the main elements of the procedure and charging arrangements for accessing pre-application advice for flood risk and land drainage related matters where LCC is responsible as the Lead Local Flood Authority in Lancashire.

A separate service applies to pre-application advice for Highway issues and is not included or covered as part of the flood risk and land drainage advice. For Highways advice please e-mail:-

As the Lead Local Flood Authority, Lancashire County Council welcomes and encourages discussions before a developer submits a planning application. These discussions result in better quality applications which stand a stronger chance of a successful outcome and help speed up the decision making process after submission.

Where pre-application advice has not been sought or followed or where no explanation has been provided to support a proposal which does not follow published advice, the county council will respond to the Local Planning Authority based upon the information submitted with the main planning application. It is unlikely that, at that stage, an applicant will be invited to discuss the proposal. We therefore recommend that applicants seek pre-application advice before committing to make a main planning application.

In order to provide this service the county council only recovers those costs associated with the discussions. This is to ensure best value and to protect the council taxpayer. It should be noted that the current statutory planning fees applied by planning authorities do not cover the cost of pre-application advice given by the Lead Local Flood Authority and the county council's charges for flood risk and land drainage advice are separate from those of Local Planning Authorities.

2. What do we expect of Applicants?

Policies, guidance and standards for sustainable drainage have been introduced into the planning framework. Applicants are expected to be aware of these, other Council Policies and the Policies of the relevant individual Local Planning Authority (LPA).

Applicants are advised to design a site drainage system to comply with all parts of the framework to avoid delays and to minimise the need to amend proposals. This will provide the most efficient basis for discussion. Should pre-applications diverge from current policies applicants will be expected to highlight and explain where and why this has occurred.

While we appreciate that some information may not be available for pre-application discussions, we do require a minimum level of information to be provided to enable us to deliver quality advice and guidance and ensure that time is used effectively. This includes:-

  • Completed application form with required details and content
  • Type of planning application likely to be submitted i.e. Full, Outline etc.
  • Development description (type, size etc)
  • Location Plan at a suitable scale.
  • Site plan at an appropriate scale including proposed layout if known, red edge (site development boundary) and blue edge (extent of ownership)
  • Greenfield or land previously developed (brownfield) status?
  • Existing or proposed ordinary watercourse(s) within the site boundary, clearly identified, with any capacity limitations or third party involvement
  • Existing or proposed surface water sewers or pumping stations
  • Information on any existing on-site drainage
  • Existing and proposed highways
  • Constraints on or off site
  • Phased, one-off or cumulative development
  • Proposed destination(s) for surface water post-development including constraints and/or any off-site works to provide surface water drainage
  • Consents required
  • Any other information critical to the consideration of the proposal at this pre-application stage. E.g. existing culverts or proposed culverts

The information requested is deemed to be reasonable in advance of any formal application and will help facilitate discussion. Other issues may be developed through discussion and the level of detail will depend on site specifics such as development type, size and complexities.

3. What benefits will the Applicant get?

  • Understanding how national, regional and local guidance will be applied to the development. Potential for reducing the time the Applicant's professional advisors spend in formulating proposals.
  • Identification of any proposals which are completely unacceptable, with the potential for saving on cost associated with pursuing a formal planning application.
  • Identifying if specialist input will be required.
  • Identifying the supporting documents that will be required to be submitted with a formal planning application in order to be considered favourably by the Lead Local Flood Authority, including whether a Flood Risk Assessment is required
  • Advice on any Flood Defence Consent (Land Drainage Consent) requirements
  • Written confirmation of the advice given at the pre-application stage, such advice being current, up to date and tailored to the Applicant's needs.

4. What can an applicant expect?

the council aims to provide advice in the following manner:

  • Written confirmation within 10 working days of receiving the completed pre-application form from the applicant:
    • as to whether the service is suitable in the particular case
    • details of what further information the applicant may need to supply/agree.
    • an invoice for the Base Fee (unless the service is not deemed suitable)
  • Once the council has confirmed that the service is suitable and has received cleared funds for the pre-application fee and the applicant:
    • has supplied any additional information required;
    • has confirmed it is happy to pay any additional Charges
  • then the council:
    • will arrange a one hour meeting with the applicant (where appropriate) and include the Local Planning Authority (if this is agreed to be appropriate by the applicant and the Planning Authority agree) to advise the applicant on his case. A site visit will also be arranged, if appropriate.
    • provide its written advice on the proposal within 21 working days of the meeting, or receipt of a completed pre-application (whichever is the later).
    • Advise on whether a Land Drainage Consent is likely to be required and the process we use to agree it

5. What are the levels of charging?

The Total Fees comprise a Base Fee together with any appropriate Additional Fees (see para 7 below).

The Base Fee is directly related to the complexity of the proposed development reflecting the amount of time required and the need for possible ongoing update meetings where larger developments are proposed. Base Fees are detailed in the table below:-

Table of Charges for charged pre-application Flood Risk and Land Drainage advice service (March 2017)
Base Fee (£ + vat) Land use
Residential (units) Retail (GFA) Employment (Office/Business Parks/Industrial Estates) (GFA) Storage & Distribution (GFA)
£350 + vat Up to 50 Up to 200m2 Up to 2,000m2 Up to 4,000m2
£600 + vat 51 - 100 201m2 - 400m2 2,001m2 - 4,000m2 4,001m2 - 8,000m2
£900 + vat 101 - 200 401m2 - 700m2 4,001m2 - 7,000m2 8,001m2 - 14,000m2
To be agreed 200 + 700m2 + 7,000m2 + 14,000m2 +


The above is also to be applied to mixed use developments. If the development does not clearly fall within an above category the Applicant is requested to please contact the Lead Local Flood Authority for further advice.

The above table will be reviewed and amended annually.

6. Fee Exemptions

The charged pre-application Flood Risk and Land Drainage advice service will not apply to enforcement or advice to any local resident affected by a development. Such advice will continue to be provided free of charge. Advice to District and Borough Councils on the following policy work will continue to be provided free of charge

  • Advice on preparation of Local Plans.
  • Advice on preparation of Local Development Framework Submissions.
  • Advice on policy preparation of Strategic Sites.

7. Additional Charges

Any work or out or pocket expenses additional to that required to deliver the base service set out in para 4 will be charged at cost. If Additional Fees will be applicable then the council will notify the Applicant as soon as practicable after becoming aware of the same. If the applicant does not confirm within 14 working days that it agrees to pay the Additional Fees then it will be deemed to have withdrawn its pre-application and no work will be done on it. In these circumstances there will be no refund of the Base Fee.

8. Payment

The Base Fee will be invoiced following receipt of a completed pre-application. The pre-application will only proceed once cleared funds for the Base Fee have been received.

the council will be entitled to charge for Additional Fees monthly in arrears and invoices shall be paid by the Applicant within 30 days of their issue. If the applicant fails to pay invoices on time then the council will be entitled to suspend work on the pre-application.

Payments can be made either by cheque or online in accordance with the instructions given on the application form.

9. Standard of service

the council is providing this service on the basis of the information given by the applicant in its pre-application. The applicant takes full responsibility for the accuracy of this information. By making an application the applicant agrees that the council will have no liability in relation to the advice it gives which is given in good faith only.

10. Pre-application Meeting

Subject to the availability of all of the required information, the date and venue for the pre-application advice meeting will be confirmed by all parties. Normally, the meeting will be held at the Highway Authority’s offices in Cuerden depot. Bamber Bridge, Burnley Depot (Widow Hill) or Preston (County Hall), however, we can also consider alternative local venues in Lancashire if required.

We are willing to consider holding meetings back-to-back with any parallel pre-application discussions an applicant may be having with our colleagues in the Highways Developer Support team, to minimise travel time and costs.

11. Written confirmation of officer advice

Following the pre-application meeting, or the submission of a full pre-application package, the applicant will receive a written response confirming the pre-application highway advice from the Highway Authority. The aim is to issue a response within 21 working days of the meeting being held. Where this is not possible due to the issues being more complex, a specific time scale reflecting this will be agreed at the meeting.

If the applicant requests further discussions following the receipt of this written advice a further fee is likely to be required. For large or major schemes with highly complex issues a series of meetings or pre-application submissions may be required. In these circumstances this will be discussed and an approach agreed during an initial pre-application meeting. An Additional Fee may be required at each stage. Additional meetings will only be attended where all previously action points have been addressed to the satisfaction of the Lead Local flood Authority.

12. Important notes

  • Requesting pre-application advice for the county council is not mandatory but we will no longer enter into discussions over the scope or content of any specialist flood risk or land drainage proposals outside of this service prior to the examination of a formal planning consultation.
  • With the applicants consent a copy of our comments may be sent to the relevant local planning authority and to the local county councillor.
  • The advice provided by the council may say that it has no comment to make, are satisfied with the proposed development, refer to current standing advice, provide a general advice, and include justification for its views.
  • Any advice given does not constitute a formal response or decision. However it is likely that the advice will form the basis of a formal response to the Local Planning Authority, when consulted as a statutory consultee.
  • No advice given by the council will be valid and effective unless it is confirmed by written letter by the council.
  • Advice is given in good faith and without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which will be subject to public consultation and ultimately decided by the local planning authority. No advice given can prejudge or guarantee quite how the local planning authority may decide any particular case.
  • the council's advice will be given as current on the date it is given. Whilst every attempt will be made to identify reasonably foreseeable future influences the council cannot guarantee that its advice will take these into account. This may extend to matters such as changes in planning policy or planning precedent. The advice in any event will expire 12 months after the date on which it is given.
  • Any advice given in relation to the planning history of the site, planning constraints or statutory designations does not constitute a formal response under the provisions of the Local Land Charges Act 1975.
  • All timescales for the delivery of the service by the council are approximate and cannot be guaranteed.
  • the council reserves the right to review the Fees chargeable at its discretion for any reason whatsoever. In any event the Fees will be subject to yearly Retail Price Index uplifts.

13. LCC contact details

Telephone us on 0300 123 6780

E-mail us at: