Planning applications are assessed by a Planning Officer. Consideration is given to any views received from interested parties and any alterations required can be discussed with the applicant.

A recommendation is then made to grant or refuse planning permission.

How decision making may differ

Minor, and non-controversial applications

Will be dealt with by a senior officer who has been given the authority to make planning decisions. This is known as a delegated decision.

Major scheme or controversial planning application

The recommendation for these will be made to the Planning and Highways Committee where Councillors will make a decision.

Councillors may accept the recommendation or discuss the proposal further before deciding to accept or reject the application.

Sometimes they will need to visit the site to be sure of making the right decision. 

Opportunities to speak

You have the Chance to speak at the Planning and Highway Committee, but any comments you wish to make should be given in writing even if you intend to speak.

Please say which application concerns you. Each application has its own 'Case Number', e.g. 12/01234/FUL, and it should be quoted in any correspondence.

What we consider

  • how the proposal meets approved planning policies and other relevant considerations such as the local effect of the proposal.
  • we also have to take into account current advice from the Government, previous planning decisions (including those made by the Government or Planning Inspectors) and pronouncements made on planning matters by judges and the Law Lords.

Affect on local amenities

The planning system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another, although private interests may coincide with the public interest in some cases.

The basic planning question is not whether owners or occupiers of neighbouring properties would experience financial or other loss from a particular development, but whether the proposal would unacceptably affect amenities, which ought to be protected in the public interest.

The kind of things we might have to think about here would include:

  • the appearance of an area or character of a street (this includes the design and materials of buildings and any landscaping)
  • people's privacy within their homes
  • the quality of the environment, including any noise and pollution impacts
  • the safety of all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists
  • employment and the local economy

What can't be considered

Arguments are often made which are not relevant to planning this will normally include:

  • racist or sexist views
  • personal circumstances of an applicant
  • a development has already begun or been completed.
  • trade objections from potential competitors
  • moral objections to uses such as amusement arcades, betting offices or massage parlours
  • the loss of an attractive view from private property
  • the fear that property may be devalued
  • allegations that the proposal may affect private rights such as rights of way, rights of light, access for maintenance or boundary disputes 

Appeals

Applicants can appeal against a refusal of planning permission or against conditions applied to an application. Applicants can also appeal against non determination of a planning application if it remains undetermined after the target date.

Only applicants can lodge an appeal, there is no right of appeal for third parties.

Informing interested parties

Everyone who comments in writing on an application will be informed if it becomes subject to an appeal. They will also be given the chance to make further submissions during the course of the appeal.

Time limit of appeals

All appeals must be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate.

There are different time limits to make an appeal depending on the type of application:

  • Householder and minor commercial - 12 weeks
  • Advertisement consent - 8 weeks
  • All others- 6 months

The timescales run from the date on the decision notice.

Appeals are conducted by an impartial inspector, who is appointed by the Government.

During the course of an appeal, you can choose how you would like your appeal to be heard (by written representations, informal hearing or by public inquiry).