The Planning Application Process
The planning process is set out by central government legislation and is designed to allow the input of expert and interested parties into the making of decisions on applications for development affecting the built and natural environment. The planning process follows stages: -
- Applications are checked to ensure all documents and fees required by the law have been submitted.
- Any omissions will be requested before processing can begin.
- Detailed notes of guidance are provided with the planning application forms.
- We aim to send an electronic acknowledgement of receipt of online applications within one working day.
- We aim to confirm the validity or rejection of applications submitted online within 5 working days.
- Once the application has sufficient information it is assigned a unique Planning Application Reference Number and can be processed.
- Consultations are sent to various bodies to obtain their expert view.
- Advertisements are placed on site. These indicate how to view plans and how to comment on them, usually 21 days from the date of publishing. In certain instances advertisements are published in the local press.
- Copies of the application documents and plans submitted are provided to the relevant district/borough council to be placed on the public planning register and so as to be made available for inspection at their main offices.
- The site is inspected and the application assessed by a planning officer, taking into account the planning policies within the local development plan, consultation responses, public representations and other material considerations.
- If problems are identified with the application which there is scope to address through alterations to the proposal, the officer will contact the applicant to seek suitable amendment.
- Stages 2 and 3 may require to be repeated if amendments which significantly change the application are made.
- The case planning officer will make a recommendation to either a Senior Officer bestowed with the delegated powers to issue decisions or the Development Control and Regulation Committee.
- If the application is to be decided at a Committee meeting, objectors who have expressed a wish to make representations in person and the applicant will be contacted to be advised of the time and venue and of any arrangements to enable them to take part.
- Meetings are held in public and all interested parties are free to attend and observe how a decision is reached.
- A decision is taken on the application by either the County Council's Development Control and Regulation Committeeor the Assistant Director of Environment and Regulatory Services under delegated powers conferred to them by the County Council. Where the decision lies with the Committee, there may be a site inspection by the Committee prior to considering an application.
- The decision maker is required by law to limit the matters taken into account to the "Development Plan" (i.e. Local Plan Policies relating to the application) and to other relevant "planning matters" (often referred to as "material considerations").
- What does and does not qualify as a "planning matter" varies between applications, but can generally be summarised as the impact of the development proposed on the surrounding environment and communities.
- Matters which should not be taken into account include who is applying, their past history and the effect on the value of neighbouring property.
- Legislation requires that planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless other planning matters indicate that this is inappropriate.
- It is therefore useful to be aware of the content of the Local Development Plan prior to submission of a planning application or representation.
An applicant may appeal against the refusal of a planning application or against a condition imposed on a planning permission. The appeal must be made within six months of the date of the decision. There is no right for third parties to appeal against a planning decision.
For further information on Planning Appeals; how to make an appeal; and searching for current planning appeals; please follow the links below to the appeals pages on the gov.uk website.