The Planning Process

Stage 4: Decisions on planning applications

A decision on your planning application will not be made until the consultation/publicity period has expired

Who makes the decision?

Decisions on most planning applications are made by Officers. However, certain planning applications are decided on at the council's Planning Committee. You can find out more here.

Types of planning decisions

A decision notice will be issued to the applicant or their agent, usually by email, and will then be placed on our website.

There are 3 types of decisions that can be reached for planning applications: unconditional planning approvals, approval subject to conditions and refusal.

Unconditional planning approvals

These are rarely issued and would permit developments without any planning conditions.

Approval subject to conditions

This is where a planning approval is granted, subject to planning conditions.

Typical conditions include a time limit, usually 3 years, within which the proposal must be started, or requirements for building materials, for example, they must match those of the existing building. All conditions have to be justified in terms of their relevance to planning, the development, and their enforceability. All conditions will be placed on the decision notice.

Some conditions will require you to submit further information to us before certain stages of development, this is called discharging planning conditions and involves a formal application process. You can find out more about this process here.

On some occasions, a planning agreement between the Planning Authority and the applicant/developer and any other parties with an interest in the land is required. This will be achieved through a Section 106 Agreement or Unilateral Undertaking. You can find out more about this here.


If an application is refused, reasons will be stated on the decision notice. Usually these are due to conflicts with Development Plan Policies. For example, a proposal may result in unacceptable overlooking to a neighbour's living room. To try to reduce the likelihood of applications being refused, we encourage applicants to use our pre-application service.

You can find out what to do once your decision has been reached here.

What happens if I have not received a decision on my planning application within the stated time period?

Where we cannot decide your application within the statutory time period we will normally write to you to ask for an extension of time. If we have not agreed to an extension of time you can appeal to the Secretary of State. Appeals can take several months so it may be quicker to reach agreement with us. You can find out more information about the appeals process here.