We offer a pre-application advice service. Full details of the service, and the applicable charges, are provided in our
Lancaster City Council privacy statement (Planning)
Three different levels of pre-application advice are available:
Level 1 advice
Level 1 advice involves a desk-based assessment of your proposals. It provides a quicker service but is likely to only be suitable for proposals that require an ‘in principle’ answer to the prospects of development. To apply for Level 1 advice, submit an application, fee and a site location plan only. You can choose to include further supporting information should you wish.
Level 2 advice
Level 2 advice constitutes ‘detailed advice’ and the response will include a site visit. It will provide you with a more comprehensive appraisal of the likelihood of obtaining planning permission and, where necessary, include suggestions of how to improve your proposed development scheme. For Level 2 advice, you will need to submit anapplication, fee, location plan, accurate site survey and an indicative site layout plan, as specified in the
Level 3 advice
Level 3 advice will also include a site visit, a comprehensive appraisal of your proposals, and an optional free meeting with the case officer. You can then present your proposals to the council's member engagement forum to obtain feedback from councillors, including ward councillors and a representative from the relevant parish council. Level 3 advice is suitable for major development proposals. To apply for Level 3 advice, submit an application, fee, location plan, accurate site survey and an indicative site layout plan. You can choose to include further supporting information should you wish.
Advice for householders
Unfortunately you cannot apply for Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 pre-application planning advice for domestic householder developments (ie an extension to a house or a domestic structure within the curtilage of a dwelling). However we do provide pre-application advice for home improvement proposals by way of standard guidance. The Householder Design Guide sets out some design recommendations, which if followed will improve your chances of gaining planning permission. Please note that each application is assessed on its own merits and therefore this is only generic advice. For domestic solar panel advice, please see our separate guidance below.
Specific advice is available from the Planning Portal, including an interactive house and various project guides (including outbuilding, conservatory, porch, loft conversion, extension, driveway, terrace/patio, garage conversion, windows and doors and/or small scale renewable energy technologies).
As part of our commitment to tackling the climate emergency, Lancaster City Council encourages the use of renewable technologies on domestic properties wherever possible. One of the most common ways in which to make renewable energy is via the installation of solar panels on your property.
Unless you live in a Listed Building or the panels are being located on a Scheduled Ancient Monument, most solar panels do not require planning permission, subject to certain, nationally-set criteria.
The scenarios below are intended to help you determine whether your solar panel project requires planning permission.
If you are installing solar panels on a house, or on a block of flats, or on a building within your boundary, then the following criteria must be met:
- Panels should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney)
- Panels should not project more than 20cm from the roof slope or wall surface
- The panels must not be installed on any building that is within the grounds of a Listed Building or a site designated as a Scheduled Monument
- In a Conservation Area (or a World Heritage Site), panels must not be fitted to a wall which fronts a highway
Additionally, there are national conditions which must be observed in all cases. Solar panels on a building must be sited 'so far as practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the area', and if the panels are no longer required then they should be 'removed as soon as reasonably practicable'.
If you are installing solar panels within the grounds of a house, or block of flats (a stand-alone installation), then the following criteria must be met:
- No part of the installation shall exceed 4 metres in height
- The installation should be at least 5 metres from the boundary of the property
- The size of any solar array of panels should be no more than 9 square metres (or 3 metres wide by 3 metres deep)
- Panels should not be installed within the grounds of a Listed Building or a Scheduled Monument
- In a Conservation Area (or a World Heritage Site), the installation should not be any nearer to a highway than the nearest part of the house
The national conditions that must be observed are the same as those referred to above, i.e. that the panels must be sited 'so far as practicable, to minimise the effect on the external appearance of the building and the area', and if the panels are no longer required then they should be 'removed as soon as reasonably practicable'.
Finding an architect
A list of local architects has been produced by the Lancaster and Westmorland Society of Architects (LAWSA), which is the local branch of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Publication of this list does not constitute a recommendation of any individual on the list by Lancaster City Council.
Specialist heritage advice
We offer an advice service regarding proposals for separate (standalone) listed building consent applications or separate (standalone) relevant demolition in a conservation area applications. Full details of the services available are provided in the
How to submit an application for pre-application advice or heritage advice
All forms should be emailed to email@example.com. The quickest way to pay is online through our eStore. You will need your application site address, your pre-application reference number if you have one and your debit or credit card.
Fees can also be paid by cheque (please write your name and the site address on the back) or over the phone using your credit or debit card - telephone 01524 582950 (option 1) between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Full details of the services available are provided in the
Last updated: 12 October 2022