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Pre-application flood advice on major planning applications

Information on the chargeable pre-application service provided by the Lead Local Flood Authority.

From 1 April 2021, there will be a charge for our pre-application service for Lead Local Flood Authority advice.

We are the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010. The act promotes discussions with all stakeholders from the moment of land acquisition; before a developer submits a planning application. These discussions often result in an application that is more likely to be approved and reduce overall costs.

We operate a pre-application advice service for developers and consultants. 

Benefits of the service:

  • potentially reducing the time and cost involved in working up proposals including that of your professional advisers
  • reducing the subsequent cost of abortive applications
  • confirming the information you need to provide with your application
  • ensuring sustainable drainage is considered from the outset of the process and drives the site evolution.
  • helps speed up the decision-making process once an application has been submitted and
  • steer the design process through the stages of concept to outline to detailed design submission.

The advice can include:

  • signposting to relevant national and local policies, standards and guidance
  • advice on the relevant level of detail and supporting information necessary to provide a valid technical assessment of a concept stage surface water management strategy
  • advice on relevant consents might be required for surface water discharge
  • where a sustainable technical note, statement or assessment is required, advice on the content, scope, preparation and presentation that is likely to satisfy our requirements
  • suitability of access arrangements, for example, easements, buffer zones, (may require separate concept design check with associated fees) and
  • site-specific requirements, for example, school sites.

How to obtain advice

Complete the form with as much detail regarding the proposals as possible. After your form is submitted, one of our officers will be in touch to discuss your requirements in detail and make arrangements for scheduling the meetings or site visits as required.

The target for completing the pre-application advice response is 21 working days.

Request advice

Schedule of charges

Units Description Cost
0-49 Dwellings LLFA PRE-APP Meeting/Site
Visit and Additional Written
0-49 Dwellings LLFA PRE-APP Additional
Written Response
50-199 Dwellings
LLFA PRE-APP Meeting/Site
Visit and Additional Written
50-199 Dwellings
LLFA PRE-APP Additional
Written Response
200-399 Dwellings or 1,000m2-
4,999m2 B1-B8 (Business) or 1,000-
3,499m2 A1 (Retail) Use
LLFA PRE-APP Meeting/Site
Visit and Additional Written
200-399 Dwellings or 1,000m2-
4,999m2 B1-B8 (Business) or 1,000-
3,499m2 A1 (Retail) Use
LLFA PRE-APP Additional
Written Response
400 or more Dwellings or 5,000m2
or more B1-B8 (Business) or
3,500m2 or more A1 (Retail) Use
LLFA PRE-APP Meeting/Site
Visit and Additional Written
400 or more Dwellings or 5,000m2
or more B1-B8 (Business) or
3,500m2 or more A1 (Retail) Use
LLFA PRE-APP Additional
Written Response

Terms and conditions


Oxfordshire Council as a Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA) are a statutory consultee in planning applications for all major development (as defined by the Town and County Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010) in relation to the management of surface water drainage.

The LLFA will be advising the Local Planning Authority on surface water flood risk matters and ensuring that surface water drainage schemes comply with the relevant technical standards and policies. The LLFA will ensure, using planning conditions or planning obligations, that there are clear arrangements in place for ongoing
maintenance over the lifetime of the development.

Pre-application advice is highly recommended for all sites. It provides applicants with the opportunity to discuss surface water drainage requirements with the LLFA prior to submitting a planning application. By having these discussions early in the planning process, applicants are ensuring that development space is used in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible and to create an attractive place to live and work.

The LLFA are not responsible for determining whether an application submission is considered valid.
The LLFA charge a fee for providing pre-application advice based on the terms and conditions contained in this document.

It should be noted that the LLFA works closely with the Environment Agency and Internal Drainage Boards (where appropriate) in their role as consultees in the planning process and pre-application discussions with all parties at the same time could offer a time saving.

This guidance note contains the following:

  1. Benefits of pre-application
  2. Information required from the applicant
  3. The service that the BC LLFA will provide
  4. Charges
  5. Standards of service
  6. Additional information

Benefits of making use of OCC LLFA Pre-application advice service

  • Help to ensure that a drainage strategy and/or a flood risk assessment is complete and comprehensive and provides sufficient information
  • Advise on the suitability of the Surface Water Drainage Strategy against the National Planning Policy Framework, in particular Paragraph 163 and 165.
  • Highlight possible gaps in data, information or reference to relevant evidence and indicate where engagement with other consenting bodies should be sought, such as Flood Defence Consent from the Environment Agency or Land Drainage Consent from the Internal Drainage Board.
  • To ensure that from the information available an appropriate and effective drainage strategy can be implemented to meet SUDS, surface water and groundwater flood risk requirements.
  • May reduce the need for costly changes to design and layout at the later stages should a satisfactory SuDS strategy not be outlined at an early stage.

Information required from the applicant

To request pre-application advice, please use our online service which is available above.

A pre-application advice request must be accompanied by the following information:

  • Location (incl. National Grid Reference)
  • A brief description of the proposed development
  • Site details (incl. total site area and existing impermeable area)
  • Type of application intended to be submitted (Outline, Reserved matters or Full)

We would recommend a pre-application advice request is accompanied by the following information (if available):

  • Location plan
  • Site plan
  • Existing drainage plan including overland flow paths
  • A topographical survey (mAOD)
  • Site details (incl. proposed impermeable area and site constraints)
  • An outline proposal including any surface water drainage.
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Any further information the applicant feels that the LLFA should be aware of

The above information can be submitted when applying for pre-application advice online.

Service provided by the LLFA

  • Provide guidance on meeting the requirements of the OCC Local Standards Local Standards and Guidance for Surface Water Drainage on Major Development in Oxfordshire.
  • Provide guidance and information about the requirements regarding information to support a planning application to comply with Paragraph 163 and 165 of the National Planning Policy Framework and the Planning Practice
  • Guidance1. Direct the applicant towards industry best practice guides.
  • Provision of information about any current local flood risk schemes that the new development may affect; where development may provide an opportunity to reduce flood risk; where the development may contain Section 21 registered assets or features; whether the site contains an Ordinary Watercourse; whether a Section 23 (LDA) Land Drainage Consent may be required if the development involves carrying out works in proximity to, on, over or within an Ordinary Watercourse.
  • It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to apply for land drainage consent.
  • Provide honest, fair and clear comments and guidance on the content, construction and presentation of an application likely to satisfy Paragraph 103 of the NPPF and meet industry best practise.


A charitable institution will benefit from no charge where the chargeable development will be used wholly, or mainly, for charitable purposes. To qualify for charitable relief, the following criteria must be fulfilled.

  • the claimant must be a registered charitable institution
  • the claimant must own material interest relevant in the land
  • the claimant must not own this interest jointly with a person who is not a charitable institution.

It should be noted that pre-application advice represents the informal opinion of an Officer of the County Council only, which is given entirely without prejudice to the formal consideration of any planning application, which may be submitted.