Registration and validation

Before a planning application can be accepted by a local planning authority, it must contain sufficient information to enable it to be properly assessed. The Government introduced national planning application forms, which must be completed. It is also mandatory to submit certain other plans and documents with planning applications. These are known as national requirements. The Government has devolved the power to request additional information to local authorities where this is required. These are known as local requirements and together the national and local requirements are deemed necessary to validate your planning application.

West Lancashire Borough Council produced a comprehensive list of requirements in 2011 but this has now been updated in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework, the West Lancashire Local Plan Submission version 2012-2027 and the requirement by Government to review them every two years.

The latest validation criteria can be found below (the checklists will help you decide what information is required to be submitted). 

When we have received your application we will check that all the information is correct. We can process your application more quickly if you make sure that all sections of the application form are completed, your plans are clear and any required fee is correct.

The validation criteria and accompanying checklists may be updated from time to time to reflect changes in Government legislation.

Whilst the Council can insist on an applicant supplying any element of the local list, the applicant can set out in writing reasons why they do not consider it necessary to in the individual circumstances of their proposal. The Council will consider all such requests. The aim in each case is to make sure sufficient information is submitted to enable all parties to properly assess the impacts of a planning application.

On larger or more controversial applications, it will normally be better to seek pre-application advice from the Council to agree the information that should accompany an application. Although there is a charge for this service, it should save money and time overall by ensuring that unnecessary reports are not submitted.

Drainage, flood risk and sustainability

There is potential for development to adversely impact on flood risk within a site and further afield. Therefore for each application a Drainage Statement and, if applicable, a Flood Risk Assessment should be completed. They should contain sufficient information to allow the drainage proposals to be properly assessed with regard to flood risk and sustainability to ensure that:

  • The proposed development can be adequately drained
  • All potential sources of flooding are considered to demonstrate that no increase in flood risk on or off-the site results from inadequate design and maintenance of the proposed foul and surface water drainage system (including sustainable drainage systems)
  • Water quality is not detrimentally impacted by the development proposal

Applicants are encouraged to use Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) on all developments to ensure that:

  • The flood risk does not increase within or beyond the site as a result of the site being developed
  • The site will have satisfactory drainage under current and likely future climatic conditions
  • The local environment is enhanced to create pleasant surroundings for future generations
  • Opportunities for wildlife are created

All applications for major application should be submitted with a North West SuDs Pro-Forma. This has been created for the North West, sponsored and endorsed by the North West Regional Flood and Coastal Committee, and has been developed by a task group of representatives from United Utilities, North West Local Authorities and the Environment Agency, all of whom Planning Authorities may need to consult on surface water drainage matters. It supports applicants in summarising and confirming how surface water from a development will be managed sustainably under current and future conditions. The guidance and the pro-forma encourage the creation of high quality SuDS by allowing water quality, amenity and biodiversity as well as water quantity to be properly considered during the design stage and allowing it to be fully integrated into the surface water management and development design process. The North West SuDS Pro-forma can be found on The Flood Hub:

More information on drainage requirements and SuDS is available by downloading a copy of our Planning Applications – Drainage, Flood Risk and Sustainability (pdf 608kb) guidance. 

Biodiversity and ecology

The Partnership for Biodiversity in Planning, a partnership of 18 conservation, planning and development organisations, has released a new pre-planning tool – the Wildlife Assessment Check.


The Wildlife Assessment Check is a free online tool, designed to help householders and smaller developers who are making planning applications, permitted developments or works to listed buildings. The tool allows applicants to check whether their proposed site and works are likely to require expert ecological advice before making a planning application. It aims to smooth out the planning application process by encouraging applicants to address potential ecological impacts early on, reducing unnecessary delays and costs.

How long should my application take?

We aim to deal with most of the minor and other applications, including householder applications, within eight weeks and 13 weeks for major applications.

We are experiencing a high volume of applications and communications by email, post and telephone.  There is currently a backlog of planning applications to be validated, which may impact on timescales and we may request an extension of time to determine some applications.  There is also a significant backlog of enforcement complaints which remain under investigation.

To avoid any delay in the validation and registration of planning applications, all submissions should be made online via the Planning Portal.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.