Warrington Borough Council is considering outsourcing part of its planning service as a cost-saving measure.
The council's executive board has started talks with potential private sector partners to provide development control services.
Peter Taylor, head of regeneration and development at Warrington, said: "We are seeking expressions of interest to decide whether this is a viable option for planning services. But at this stage no final decisions have been made."
Andy Farrell, director of environment and regeneration added that the move would protect 40 members of staff, whilst reducing costs and enable investment in the service.