The planning application process

Pre-application advice

We recommend you seek pre-application advice before submitting an application to save unnecessary delays. There is a charge for this service but it is considered beneficial to all parties.

Validation of application 

An application is assigned a reference number and assessed for validity within 5 days of receipt.  If the application is valid the applicant/agent will be notified in writing, identifying the reference number, the name of the case officer and a target decision date.

If the application is invalid, the applicant/agent will be contacted requesting any missing information that is required to make the application valid. The requested information must be returned within 21 days or the application will be withdrawn and the fee returned, minus an administration fee which relates to the nature and scale of the proposal.

Read our validation checklist and view the planning fees.

Public consultation

All applications are made available for public inspection and are subject to consultation for a minimum of 21 days. We may also seek specialist comments from departments within the council and external bodies. To do this we:

  • Place a site notice giving details of the application
  • Send letters to relevant neighbouring property owners inviting them to view and comment on the application 
  • Send consultation letters to consultees for specialist comments
  • Publish details of the application on our website where progress can be tracked and comments can be viewed
  • Publish details of the application in a local newspaper (where appropriate)

Decision making 

This involves various stages and the consideration of issues, which are dependent on the type and size of the application but may include:

  • Local and national planning policies and guidance
  • The views of council departments and external bodies
  • Comments from members of the public
  • The site visit by the case officer and details of what they have seen on site

 
An application is put forward for determination by either:

  • Delegated powers – where a planning officer makes the decision
  • Planning committee – where the planning committee makes the decision. Where members of the public have commented on an application to be determined by the planning committee, they will be notified of the date, time and venue of the meeting and be given the opportunity to speak. The agenda for the committee is published on the council's website a week in advance of the meeting (meetings are held monthly and usually on a Tuesday evening at 6.00pm).

Decision notice

A decision notice is issued to the applicant/agent on the day the decision is made (or the day after if the decision is made by planning committee). This is the legal document granting or refusing planning permission which can be viewed on our website

It contains details of any conditions that may have been applied to the permission and reasons for the decision.

We aim to decide applications and issue the notice within 13 weeks for a major application and 8 weeks for all other application types. 

Appeals or re-submission

If the applicant feels their application has been unreasonably refused there are 2 options open to them:

  • Amendment and re-submission of the application within 12 months of decision without paying a fee (this can only be done once).
  • Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate following the guidance detailed in the decision notice and our Planning Appeals page.
 
Third parties do not have the right to appeal although they can make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman if there was administrative fault in the way the council handled the matter.