How to Apply for Planning Permission

Pre Application Advice

If you know you need planning permission and would like a planning officer to look at your designs before you submit a formal planning application you will need complete a request for pre-application advice form and provide all the relevant drawings, photos and information. 

There is a non-refundable fee for this service which can be calculated in the pre-application guidance notes.

If you require observations in relation to Highway and Environment Agency issues it is recommended that you contact Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency direct and include details of their response in your request for pre-application advice.   Please be aware that Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency also charge for pre-application advice.  Drainage advice is issued free of charge by United Utilities.  Historic England may also offer pre-application advice which is a paid service.

The Planning Department no longer advises whether or not planning permission is required. If you require confirmation of this type, please submit an application for a Lawful Development Certificate for the proposed development. This application costs half the normal fee for the equivalent planning application. Check the downloadable fee guidance notes.

Disclosing information on pre-application discussions

Although the Council does not automatically make public the details of pre-application discussions with potential developers, under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 we may receive from time to time a request from a member of the public to provide information regarding enquiries for pre-application advice and of any advice given.  Subject to certain exemptions, we are obliged to provide this information, although personal contact details are protected under the Data Protection Act.

The exemptions under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 relate to commercially sensitive and confidential information. It is therefore important that you bring to the Council's attention at the outset in writing any information which you consider may, if disclosed, prejudice your commercial interests or which you consider would breach confidentiality.  You should also set out the reasons why and for what period you consider the information falls into these categories. It is then for the Council to decide whether it believes the information falls into these exempt categories, if a formal Freedom of Information Request or request under the Environmental Information Regulations is received.

We may also treat as exempt from disclosure information which, if disclosed, may prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs. This can be particularly relevant at the outset of major applications where a lot of exploratory discussion takes place. If the disclosure of this exploratory information was likely to prejudice the process leading to a proper determination of the subsequent planning application, then it may not be disclosable.

Apart from these exemptions any other recorded information resulting from these pre-application discussions is very likely to be disclosable.

Submitting a planning application


One way to submit a planning application is online through the Planning Portal - planning applications  This is a private company who will charge a fee to submit your application to us on your behalf.

You can register and complete your application form and upload supporting documents online (Please Note: The Planning Portal do charge a fee for their services, and they are a separate, privately-owned organisation not part of the Council, so if you have chosen to submit your application this way and are having difficulties, you should contact the Planning Portal, not Ribble Valley Borough Council).

By post, or in person, or emailed directly to us

You can download and print your planning application forms free of charge from our website and post them along with your planning fee and one copy of all supporting documentation or you can collect a paper form from the Council offices and fill it in by hand.  Please note applications via email may sometimes be stopped by our firewall.  If you wish to submit your application electronically, you can email your form and documents to and phone our contact centre on 01200 425111 to make your payment).

Application requirements

Every planning application needs a red-edged location plan showing the locations and boundaries on the site you are planning to work on.  All plans you send us must be to a recognised scale and show dimensions.  Our validation requirements list the other documents you will need to accompany your application.  We will not carry out any work on your application unless sufficient information has been sent to validate it.

You can use the Planning Portal's Buy a Plan service to purchase a location plan.

Additional documents

Please make every effort to keep your application documents to 5MB or smaller .pdf files. The following steps can help create documents less than 5MB:

  • do not scan more than one document into a single file
  • send each picture, photograph, map or drawing as separate files
  • if a document is large, break it down into sensible parts and name them accordingly


Your application must be accompanied with the correct fee - see our fees for planning applications for more information. The fee can be paid to our contact centre over the phone or by cheque made payable to 'RVBC. 

Please note a planning application cannot be progressed until all the necessary supporting information and the appropriate fee is received.