While every development is different, the process that all planning applications go through should be the same. The different stages are outlined below.
We check your application, to make sure you've submitted all of the necessary documents and fees. We will request any missing information before we can start processing your application. Please check the national requirements and local requirements for your application type, to avoid unnecessary delays. We aim to acknowledge your application within three working days. Once we have validated your application, we'll put it onto our Planning Register.
Where the law requires, we'll publicise the application. This is normally via local notices around the site of the proposed development, sending affected properties a notification by post, and publishing details in local newspapers and other media.
These notices will describe how to view the plans, and how to comment on them. There is normally 21 days from the date of publishing to submit comments online, or by post. Comments, and the names of people who submit them, will appear on our public website, although we'll remove any contact details from the details we publish.
There may be statutory consultation with experts or local representatives, such as the town or parish council. The results of this will also be available on our Planning Register.
We'll inspect the site, where appropriate, and assess the application, taking into account national and local planning policies, consultation responses and public comments. Where relevant, we'll also gather any site specific information (such as photographs, or details of previous applications).
If we identify problems with the application which we feel can be dealt with through alterations to the proposal, we'll contact you to suggest amendments. If the amendments significantly change the nature or impact of the proposal, we may repeat the publicity, consultation and consideration processes. We'll keep you informed if we think this is necessary.
We'll make a recommendation, via a report on the application to the person or body which is authorised to make the planning decision. This may be a council committee, or an individual who has delegated powers to make the decision. Sometimes, we'll refer an application to an Area Planning Committee for a decision, when we think there are sufficient planning reasons to demand this.
90% of all planning applications are decided by the delegated route. If there is a committee meeting to make a decision on the application, we'll hold this in public. We'll notify the applicant, and anyone who has commented on the application, of the time and place. All interested parties are free to attend and observe how a decision is reached.
The appropriate body will make a decision on the application, and will send a Planning Decision Notice to the applicant. This may grant full permission, or permission with certain conditions (such as stating which materials should be used, the replanting of trees, or similar obligations). If conditions are imposed, there will be an additional process of discharging (or meeting) these conditions before the development has full planning approval.
With most householder applications, a Planning Officer makes the decision under delegated powers. This means that they can process your application without going to the relevant committee, which should speed up the process. We're required by law to use only material considerations to make planning decisions, which means issues which form parts of our Development Plan and Local Plan policies relating to the local area. It's therefore very important to be aware of the content of our local Development Plan before you submit an application.
If you're unhappy with the decision on your application, you have a right of appeal.
If your appeal is rejected, you may wish to get expert advice, and make an amended plan, or resubmission. To save you time and expense, we recommend using our pre-planning application advice services, to identify issues and give your new proposal the best chance of gaining approval.
Please note that only applicants can appeal against a planning decision.
If you're unhappy about a planning decision on someone else's application, you cannot appeal on planning grounds. However, if you think that the application wasn't handled correctly, you can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. It's also possible to challenge the decision in court, but only if there is clear evidence that the planning process wasn't properly followed. However, this is a complex and expensive process, and we recommend you get independent legal advice before doing this.
You can find further details on the possible planning decisions and their outcomes at the Planning Portal.