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 and then 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 Board. (five day target). You can read more about Planning Board decisions further down this page.

Please look at the different types of planning applications, together with national and local validation requirements for more information on what you’ll need to send with your application.

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 5 to 10 working days, to tell you what further information we need to validate it. Once we receive the information, we can proceed.

Publicity

Planning applications aren't confidential. By law, we have to make information about them available to the public on our website and anyone may ask to see current or past planning applications. which they can do by making an appointment to see the file at our first floor offices at Wellington House, or on our website. Some applications may also be advertised in the local press. Anyone can make comments 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. (within 10 working days - publicised for 21 days)

Consultation

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

Assessment

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 who will advise you on the procedure. (following consultation and publicity within six weeks)

Decision

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, irrespective of whether objections from neighbours have been received. (decisions 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. Information on the dates of board meetings is available on (decisions on major applications 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 and publish the decision on our website. 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. (within two days of decision unless alterations or legal agreement necessary)

Appeals

You may appeal to the government's Planning Inspectorate against 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.