A pre-planning service for Cheshire, Lancashire and Cumbria, delivered by Cumbria Rural Enterprise Agency, has won the North West Best Rural Planning Project Award from the Royal Town Planning Institute as well as being shortlisted in a national category.
The Rural Planning Facilitation Service offers advice to businesses before a planning application is submitted for a new development.
Lynne Fox, CREA business support and planning manager, said: "We have an experienced network of planning experts to call on. If someone wants to develop their business but may need planning permission – such as wanting to change the use of a farm building or create a new workspace – then our advisers can make them aware in advance of all their options and of any planning issues that will affect their ideas. We have funding to continue the Scheme into 2009 so businesses with new ideas and needing advice should contact us as soon as possible."
The NWDA-funded model has helped 1,400 applicants in Cumbria, Lancashire and Cheshire since 2001.