The case officer will undertake a site visit and assess the proposal in context to the application site and the surrounding area.
They will then weigh up all planning considerations.
- planning policy/circulars/statutory instruments, emerging Local plan policy (subject to at least one stage of public consultation)
- previous decisions including any appeals, case law
- residential amenity (loss of light, overshadowing, loss of privacy)
- highway issues
- noise and disturbance, smells and fumes
- physical infrastructure (public drainage, water systems)
- social facilities
- ground conditions (contaminated land slope stability/mineshafts)
- wildlife (ecology), trees and landscaping
- historic conservation (conservation areas/listed buildings/scheduled ancient monuments/ historic parks)
- viability and deliverability
- layout and density of design, visual appearance, character of the area.
The Council does not have any adopted separation standards but it is generally accepted that it's good practice for development to achieve a set standard, however, there are instances when development that does not achieve these distances can still be deemed acceptable. This will be determined by professional planning officers on a case by case basis. The Council works to the following standards:
- 21m between building faces for 2 storey dwellings and 27.5m for 3 storeys and above and/or where main living room/kitchen windows above ground level overlook existing conventional dwellings. The separation distance should be increased by 2 metres for every 1 metre rise in ground level between new and existing dwellings. This standard will be more strictly applied at the rear rather than the front
- single storey development is not so critical in terms of overlooking from upper storeys and will be judged on its merits
- 5m per storey set back where new development with main windows overlooking existing private space is proposed. This applies independently of the minimum spatial separation requirement
- 12.5m minimum distance between windowed elevations and opposing 1 and 2 storey flank walls. 15.5m for 3 storey flank walls. Where a flank wall will be situated at a higher level than a windowed elevation the separation distance should be increased by 1 metre for every 1 metre change in ground level
- the erection of screen walling or fencing of at least 1.8 metres in height on the appropriate boundary unless adequate mature screening or fencing already exists
- 70 sq.m minimum garden size for family accommodation 52 sq.m for 2 bed houses (permitted development rights may be removed) 42 sq.m for 1 bed houses (permitted development rights may be removed) 30 sq m per unit for flats and other developments providing communal amenity space.
- loss of property value
- loss of view
- right to light
- matters controlled through building regulations – including party wall
- business competition
- property disputes (including land ownership)
- issues of construction period
- factual misrepresentations
- opposition to the principle of development where planning permission has previously been approved.
The planning officer will prepare a report with a recommendation to approve or refuse the application.
The majority of applications will be determined by the Council’s authorised planning officers known as Delegated Powers. Others may go to Planning Committee.
When a planning application is approved it is subject to conditions that sets the development commencement deadline and directs that it is built in accordance to the approved plans. Other conditions may also be applied depending upon the type of development and the requirements from statutory consultees. Some permissions can also be subject to a planning obligation (S106 agreement).
Applications can also be refused and the decision notice will state the reasons why the application was refused.
You will be sent a formal written decision notice which sets out the decision on your application. You can also view the decision notice through the planning online system.
There is a right of appeal by the applicant against the refusal of planning permission and its procedure is set out on the back of the decision notice. You can also appeal against conditions that have been attached to a planning permission.
There is no right of appeal for third parties.
A planning obligation, also known as a S106 agreement, is a legal undertaking between the Council and the applicant/developer and is attached to the planning permission. It requires certain works to be undertaken or a financial contribution to be made towards the provision of measures to offset the negative impacts caused by the development. If the Council is the owner then a unilateral undertaking is agreed.
If a planning application is subject to a planning obligation a decision notice cannot be issued without the planning obligation being signed by all parties involved. The planning obligation is attached to the land and not the person who submits the application or who owns the land.
The use of planning obligations introduces an additional degree of control into the planning system. They can provide a means of overcoming obstacles to development going ahead, including financial contributions to offset the impact of the development on existing infrastructure and community facilities.
Planning obligations are used for:
- prescribe the nature of development (for example requiring a given proportion of housing as affordable)
- compensate for loss or damage by securing a contribution from a developer (for example loss of open space)
- mitigate a development's impact (for example increasing public transport provision).
Matters dealt with by a planning obligation can include:
- highway improvements and new or improved bus services
- provision of open space, sporting and recreational facilities
- provision of social and community facilities
- provision of primary schools
- provision of affordable housing
- provision of waste recycling facilities
- environmental enhancements.
Any monies that is secured through planning obligations can only be spent on what is agreed within the legal document.
A timescale for the decision making process is set by government. Whilst the Council aims to deliver within these targets, it can agree with the developers for an extension of time, on some of the larger applications.
If the Council fails to make a decision within the timeframe or the agreed time extension, the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State for non determination of an application.
With some types of applications works can also proceed. This will be stated in the acknowledgement letter you receive.
|Type of planning application||Timescale for registered applications
|Full planning or outline||8, 13 or 16 weeks*|
|Reserved matters||8 or 13 weeks*|
|Listed building||8 weeks|
|Conservation area||8 weeks|
|Lawful development certificates for existing and proposed use or operation||8 weeks|
|Trees in conservation area||6 weeks|
|Tree preservation orders||8 weeks|
|Agricultural or forestry||4 weeks|
|Electricity act||8 weeks|
|Hazardous substances||8 weeks|
|Householder prior approval||6 weeks|
|Change of use prior approval||8 weeks|
|Certificate of lawfulness of proposed works to a listed building||6 weeks|
* If an application is a major application the timescale is 13 weeks but if it also includes an environmental statement it will be 16 weeks.
These timescales do not apply for planning applications with a Planning Performance Agreement or where an extension of time has been agreed as they have their own prescribed dates.