Planning application process

Follow the different steps of the cycle of a planning application from validation to decision and see how the applicant, public and the local planning authority are involved.

View our planning online system for all registered planning applications

We aim to check your application within three working days of receiving it. We will contact you if further information is required or if your application is complete we will register it.

We will provide you with your application reference number, the name of the planning officer who will be dealing with your application, a target date for a decision and a site notice which you should display on or near the application site.

We consult with neighbours who could be affected by the proposed development and statutory consultees as determined by the type of application. You can see who we have consulted and any comments received through the planning online system.

All consultees that we write to have three weeks to submit their comments. Due to the high volume of representations we receive every year we are unable to acknowledge or reply individually to each comment or enter into further correspondence.

If amendments are made during the application the officer will use their professional judgement to determine whether an amendment has a material impact on any neighbouring properties in deciding whether to undertake a re-consultation. Such re-consultations are normally two weeks.

We display all planning applications on planning online where you can view them by week, month, day or by any date range.

There is also statutory requirement for some applications to be advertised in a local newspaper and for a site notice to be displayed on or near the application site.

View the published legal and statutory notices for planning applications

The case officer will consider and weigh up all matters which are material planning considerations when making their decision. Planning applications are considered against the:

Material 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 two storey dwellings and 27.5m for three 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 two 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 one and two storey flank walls. 15.5m for three 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 two bed houses (permitted development rights may be removed) 42 sq.m for one bed houses (permitted development rights may be removed) 30 sq m per unit for flats and other developments providing communal amenity space.

The case officer, in most cases, will undertake a site visit and assess the proposal in context to the application site and the surrounding area.

Matters which are not planning considerations:

  • 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.

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.

You can appeal against a planning decision to the Secretary of State for non determination of an application if the Council fails to make a decision within the timeframe or the agreed time extension.

View information on how to appeal against a planning decision

With some types of applications works can also proceed. This will be stated in the acknowledgement letter you receive.

This table shows timescales for different application types.
Type of planning application Timescale for registered applications
Full planning or outline 8, 13 or 16 weeks*
Reserved matters 8 or 13 weeks*
Advertisement 8 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
Telecommunication 8 weeks
Agricultural or forestry 4 weeks
Hedgerow 6 weeks
Demolition 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.

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.

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. View information about the Planning Committee and how to register you interest in speaking at the Planning Committee.

When a planning application is approved it is subject to conditions that sets out when the development needs to have commenced by 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).

Planning permission is a formal document, issued by the Council. The permission is attached to the land and can be implemented by anyone, not necessarily the person who has applied for the permission in the first place.

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.

The 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 or applications where the council has not made a decision within the prescribed timeframes.

View information about the right of appeal by the applicant against the refusal of planning permission

There is no right of appeal for third parties. 

Last updated: 28/06/2021 09:46

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