The planning process

The various stages of the planning process and the timescales involved are explained below. 

Validating your application 

You can submit your plans and pay online through the Planning Portal website. You'll receive an email receipt as proof of your payment.

If you've completed a paper application form you can phone us on (01226) 772595 to pay by credit or debit card.

We'll register your application when we receive it. We'll write to you when we've checked that we have all the information we need, and tell you the name of the person who'll be dealing with your application. It will also say whether your application will be delegated or referred to the Planning Regulatory Board (five day target). You can read more about Planning Board decisions further down this page.

Please look at the different types of planning application together with the national validation requirements and local validation requirements (as updated on 19 May 2023). These will give you more information on what you’ll need to send with your application.

Following the adoption of the Local Plan on 3 January 2019 we've produced new and updated supplementary planning documents. These contain advice for people applying for planning permission. We use these to help us make decisions on planning applications alongside the Local Plan.

Status updates

If you need an update on the status of your planning application, please contact the case officer dealing with your application. Their details should be on the letter we sent you. They can also be found by looking on our Planning Explorer

If your application is not showing on Planning Explorer, or you have not received a letter from us, please be patient. Your application may still be being booked onto our system.

Land ownership notifications

Where necessary, you'll need to serve notice on existing landowners or tenants as necessary. At the same time as you submit your planning application. You can use this Section 66 form to serve notice.

Invalid applications

If your application is incomplete we'll call you or write to you within five to 10 working days. We'll tell you what further information we need to validate it. Once we receive the information, we can proceed.


Planning applications aren't confidential. By law we have to make information about them available to the public on our website. Anyone may ask to see current or past planning applications. You can find details of planning applications on Planning Explorer. Some applications may also be advertised in the local press. Anyone can make a comment on an application. They don't need to be invited to do so.

Applications may be publicised by either a notice displayed near the site or by individual letters to the occupiers of the adjoining land/property. Anyone wishing to comment on a planning application should do so within 21 days of the date of publicity (publicised within 10 working days, for 21 days).


On many applications we often have to consult other council services and outside bodies. This could be on matters such as road safety/access and environmental issues. Consultees also have 21 days in which to respond (consultation within 10 working days, with 21 days to respond).

Examination and site inspection

We'll visit all application sites to check the information contained in the application and take photographs. If there's a conflict between your application and relevant local or national planning policies we'll seek amendments where it's considered applicable. We'll usually provide guidance on what's acceptable (within three weeks).


We'll assess your application against relevant national and local planning policies and any supplementary planning guidance. We'll also take into account responses from consultees and any public comments before determining the outcome of the application. If you need to change your submission at any time during the application process you should contact the relevant case officer. They will then advise you on the procedure. (Following consultation and publicity, assessment within six weeks.)


Decisions on applications are made in one of two ways. Either:

  • Delegated decisions. To speed up planning applications we're authorised to grant permission for a wide range of less complex planning applications which are consistent with our policy and guidance. This is irrespective of whether objections from neighbours have been received. (Decisions are usually made within eight weeks; over 90% of decisions are made this way).

  • Planning Regulatory Board decisions. A board of councillor’s meets once a month to consider the larger or more controversial planning applications. The public may attend to watch the meeting (2pm at the Town Hall). Subject to the 'right to speak' a representative, supporter or objector may address the board. (Decisions on major applications are usually made within three months.)

Notification of the decision

We'll send you a formal written notice of the decision to grant or refuse your planning application. We'll also publish the decision on our website on Planning Explorer. We'll also inform anyone making representations of the decision. Conditions may be attached to a grant of permission and these must be complied with. We can take enforcement action if the relevant conditions and legal agreement are not complied with.(Notification within two days of the decision unless alterations or legal agreement is necessary.)


You may appeal to the government's Planning Inspectorate. You can do this for a refusal of planning permission or the imposition of particular planning conditions which you may feel are inappropriate. Details of the appeal process are attached at the back of the decision notice. Or you can visit the Planning Inspectorate website. (Appeals must be made within six months of the decision.)

Discharging planning conditions

When planning permission has been granted subject to conditions, the terms of all conditions must be met in full at the appropriate time. There is a fee for us to discharge planning conditions. You can read more about it and apply to discharge conditions here.