The Development Control service is a statutorily regulated service. It exists to ensure that land and buildings are properly used, that planning objectives are fulfilled and that environmental interests are protected. The beneficiaries of the service are the public at large, but the prime consumers of the service are applicants for planning permission. The service must respond to the reasonable expectations of both these groups and must also be in tune with the expectations of Council Members. We believe that our service should be accessible to all, in accordance with the Councils approach to equal opportunities.
For applicants, the service should be understandable, fair, prompt and courteous. For the public, the service should be understandable, accessible and protective of their interests. Finally, for Members, the service should be understandable, consistent, related to their objectives and open to democratic involvement.
We believe you have a right to know what you can expect to receive and so we have set out the details of our key Development Control services and the standards we aim to achieve. The aim is to make the best decision about each application. This means taking into account a proposal's impact upon the environment and on the interests of the community. It may also mean balancing the interests of the applicant against the effect a development might have on neighbours and on other people living nearby.
Asking for Information and Advice
Discussing your application with a planning officer before submitting it can help to improve its quality and ensure that it is dealt with as efficiently as possible.
To assist this, the Development Control Section will:
- Provide, by appointment, an officer at the Civic Centre to give general advice and information.
- Respond, wherever possible, to letters within 7 working days. If it is not possible to provide a full response within 7 days, you will be told when a reply will be given.
- Provide a co-ordinated response on all development related consents for major developments.
- Maintain up to date information on the Council's website
Dealing with Applications
It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that an application is submitted correctly. Help and advice will be available from the Development Control Section. Applicants should ensure that the appropriate drawings are provided, in accordance with the Guidance Notes which accompany the application forms.
In order to assist the smooth processing of applications, the Development Control Section will aim to:
- Register and acknowledge each valid application within 5 working days.
- Advise applicants of their rights in the acknowledgement.
- Advise applicants if their application is invalid within 5 working days and tell them what they need to do to make it valid.
- Advise adjoining occupiers of applications which may affect them, in accordance with statutory requirements and acknowledge any comments made in writing.
- Provide clear advice to those people who are notified about the planning process and how they can make comments.
- Provide copies of the Scheme of Delegation to Officers to the public on request.
- Visit all sites within 3 weeks of receiving the application.
- Seek necessary amendments or further information within 5 working days of the site visit. If the application is unacceptable but could be made acceptable with amendments, suggestions for improvement will be made.
- Inform applicants in writing if their application will not be determined within 8 weeks and explain why not.
- Notify all those making representations on applications of the outcome.
- Meet the Government targets for dealing with applications within the statutory period.
Applicants will be asked to contact the case officer within 5 working days of receiving the acknowledgement if particular arrangements for access to the site need to be made.
Monitoring Development and Enforcement of Planning Control
The Development Control Section will aim to:
- Monitor a sample of developments to ensure compliance with conditions imposed on the planning permission.
- Acknowledge complaints within 48 hours.
- Advise complainants of the outcome of the site visit and how the Council intend to proceed within 8 working days.
- Take appropriate enforcement action where it is expedient to do so.
- Advise complainants of the decision on whether or not to take enforcement action within 2 working days of that decision being made.
When planning permission is refused, the Council places considerable importance on defending the decision should an appeal be lodged with the Planning Inspectorate. The Development Control Section will:
- Deal with appeals in accordance with the timetables prescribed by the Planning Inspectorate.
- Consult on appeals in accordance with a scheme which will be made available to the public.
- Aim to successfully defend at least 65% of all appeals.
Complaints and Performance
Should you have cause to complain about the service provided by the Development Control Section, you should in the first instance contact the officer who was responsible for providing the service to you. The Development Control Section will:
- Acknowledge complaints about service within 10 working days.
- Investigate all complaints fully and promptly and advise the complainant of what action is to be taken. If no action is to be taken, the reasons will be explained fully.
- Report performance quarterly to the Development Control Board.
- Consult service users regularly to enable us to make improvements to the service.
A leaflet setting out the Council's guidance to making complaints, compliments or comments is available elsewhere on this website or on request.
This document is a statement of the objectives and aims of the Development Control Section in its endeavours to provide a quality service. It does not constitute a legally binding agreement, nor does it impose any legal obligations on the part of the Council.