Generally, when applications are received by us, the Planning Technical Team will upload the details to our system and create a case reference.  Shortly after this, the application will be allocated to a case officer.  For validation, householder planning application submissions will be checked by a Technical Officer who may then go on to make the application valid or invalid.   All other applications will be checked for validation by the allocated case officer.  We aim to complete this initial validation check within 5 working days.

Once the application is deemed to be valid, an acknowledgement is sent to the applicant or agent to inform them of the case reference, the allocated case officer and the statutory time period within which we aim to determine the application.  The statutory time limits for applications for planning permission are set out in article 34 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure (England) Order 2015 (as amended). They are 13 weeks for applications for major development, 10 weeks for applications for technical details consent, and (from 1 August 2021) applications for public service infrastructure development, and 8 weeks for all other types of development (unless an application is subject to an to an Environmental Impact Assessment, in which case a 16 week limit applies).

At the time of validation, consultations will be sent to all statutory consultees, additional consultees and all those who adjoin the application site.  A site notice is sometimes required to be displayed on or near the application site and occasionally a press notice is displayed in the local newspaper.  Generally, a period of 21 days is given for consultees and neighbours to respond.

The allocated case officer will usually visit the site in the early stages of the planning application.  This is to assess the proposal and its impact. Photographs and notes are taken.

The allocated case officer will do an initial review of the application as early on in the application as possible.  They will also take into account representations received as well as consultee response. Should the case officer identify information that is missing or amendments that are required, the case officer will aim to inform the applicant or agent of this no later than 5-6 weeks after the application has been made valid (or later if it is a major application).  However, we will not accept amended plans or additional information after the application has been made valid unless an extended determination period (extension of time) has first been agreed in writing (see Amending a planning application (whilst under consideration) .  This is in order to allow sufficient time for the consideration and possible re-consultation of the amended proposals. Without an agreed extension of time, the Council will determine the application as submitted at the time of validation, within the statutory time period where possible.  You will be advised if determination of the submitted application is likely to go over the statutory time period with an explanation of the reason why, e.g. committee dates.

Over 90% of applications are decided by officers acting on behalf of the Council. Officers can only approve applications where no more than five written objections on planning grounds have been received and the application complies with the Council's planning policies.

Officers can only refuse applications where no more than five written representations in support have been received and the application fails to comply with the Council's planning policies. If an application does not meet the above criteria, then it has to be reported to the Development Control Board for a decision to be made.

A petition, or a written representation with multiple signatories from one property or several written representations from the same property will be treated as a single representation.

An elected Councillor may request that an application be determined by the Board, regardless of whether or not representations have been received.

The Development Control Board:

The Board is made up of elected Councillors and meets monthly. The purpose of the Board is to consider planning applications and, where appropriate, enforcement action against breaches of planning control and related matters.

Each report on a planning application describes the application site, the proposed development, any relevant planning history, a summary of responses from those who have been consulted on the application, along with any other comments received and finally, a report on the main planning issues relevant to the application.

Each report contains a recommendation to the Board Members, generally of either refusal or approval. There is a narrative by the Planning Officer of his/her consideration and the reason for refusal, or the conditions to be attached to an approval, are set out at the end of the report.

The main Agenda is printed some time before the Board meeting. The Update is a document which is available on the day of the meeting and circulated to Members just before the Board meeting. It provides further information relevant to applications to be considered at the meeting which has emerged since the Agenda was printed. This could include further comments from interested parties, recent changes to the application and amendments to the recommendation. Copies are made available to the public.

Site Visits by Board Members:

Planning officers make a site visit whilst considering the planning application and will include details arising from the site visits in their report. Whilst all the application details are available at the Board meeting, Members of the Board may decide that it would help them to visit the application site before the meeting. Any necessary visits take place in the few days prior to the Board meeting. The arrangements will usually be agreed with the applicant/agent. Time constraints mean that notification to the general public is not practical but neighbours are not precluded from attending the site visit if they wish.

During a Board meeting, Members may occasionally decide that a site meeting is necessary before reaching a decision on an individual application. Site meetings are more formal than site visits and they enable Members to consider each proposal in more detail, to view the site and to hear from neighbours and other interested parties.

Any item for which a site meeting is agreed will not be discussed further at the meeting. Those who made representations on a planning application which has been deferred for a site meeting will be notified of the arrangements. Applications are usually reported to the next Board meeting for determination.

Public Speaking

If an application is due to be considered by the Development Control Board, those who commented on the application, as well as the applicant and agent, have the right to register to speak at the meeting.

One speaker will be allowed to speak in favour of an application and one against. This will be operated on a "first come first served" basis. The Council will write to all relevant parties advising them of the public speaking arrangements.

In addition, the Council will advise all those who made comments on the application of the final decision once it is made.