Applying for Planning Permission
How a Planning Application Is Processed
The planning application process can be separated into 6 stages. The process is largely governed by legislation and is designed to allow the input of expert and interested parties into the decision eventually made. The six steps can be described as follows:
Applications are checked to ensure all documents and fees required by the law have been submitted. Any omissions will be requested before processing can start.
2. CONSULTATION & PUBLICITY
Consultations are sent to various bodies to obtain their expert view. Advertisements, where required, are placed in the appropriate local paper and on site and indicate how to view plans and how to comment on them, usually 21 days from the date of publishing. The need for advertisement in the press and on site is a requirement of legislation, and are often supplemented by Council's individual policies and procedures.
More information see our How to comment on an application
The site is inspected and the application assessed by the case planning officer, taking into account planning policies, consultation responses and public representations.
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 the person or body authorised to make a decision. This will be the relevant Committee of the Council, the sub-committee or individual to whom authority to make a decision has been delegated. If the application is to be decided at a Committee meeting, the objectors and the applicant will be contacted to be advised of the time and venue and of any arrangements to enable them to take part. Such 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 the appropriate body. (Where the decision lies with a committee, there may be a site inspection by the Committee). In reaching a decision, the Committee is required by law to limit the matters it takes into account to the "Development Plan", i.e. the Structure Plan and Local Plan policies relating to the application and to other 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 infrastructure. Matters which should not be taken into account include who is applying, their past history and the effect on the value of neighbours property.
Of importance is that the application must, under the legislation, be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless other matters indicate that this is inappropriate. It is therefore useful to be aware of the content of the Development Plan prior to submitting an application.
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