Rural Planning Facilitation Service

Free Planning Support for Cumbria's Business Community

The new, free planning service provides independent professional advice to all Cumbrian businesses on planning issues. Advice is impartial and confidential. The advice provided will assist applicants decide if planning permission is likely to be successful. It will identify the key planning issues that will need to be overcome and provide advice on supporting information required as part of the planning process.

How is the advice provided?

The service provides free one to one planning advice to applicants. The usual form of the advice will be an initial site visit to discuss the proposal followed by a detailed report on planning issues and actions required to successfully deliver the proposal including advice on other funding and business support services that may be able to assist.

What will be included in the report?

The Planning Facilitation report will normally include the following:

  • Site appraisal and project outline.
  • Identify local site specific issues and designations including National Parks, AONB, SSSIs and Green Belt that may impact on planning policy.
  • Detailed analysis of planning policy issues relating to the site and proposed project including the following:
    • National Planning Policy Framework
    • Local Core Strategy and associated
    • Development Plan Documents
    • Remaining Local Plan Policies that have yet to be struck through
    • Other supporting documents including economic development strategies
      Recommendations on key issues and how detailed designs should reflect aspects of planning policy.
  • An assessment of what other supporting information will also be required. This may include various environmental surveys, local economic appraisals and market demand assessments.
  • Further supporting business advice associated with links to other aspects of the Rural Growth Network Programme with a specific focus on funding and finance opportunities associated with business development and investment.
  • Concluding recommendations and actions that should be taken if planning is to be progressed.

Who is eligible?

All Cumbrian businesses are potentially eligible however the support will be limited to businesses that through planning consent will either safeguard or create new employment opportunities. Geographically the only businesses that will be ineligible will be those within the centre of Carlisle and Barrow. The support is restricted to small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

What information will be required?

The service is completely free to eligible businesses. The only requirement is to provide details of employment generation over the coming two years if your business expands. Following completion of the planning support you will be contacted every six months so that employment data can be gathered. If your project does not proceed no further action will be required.

The planning service forms part of the range of business support provided through the Cumbria Business Growth Hub & Rural Growth Network. Rural Futures (North West) Ltd. is delivering the service on the Growth Hub's behalf.

You can contact Rural Futures (North West) Ltd, directly on 01524 736845, email or visit their website at