Once the council receives your planning application, they will check it to make sure that you have correctly completed the forms, provided the required plans and sent the correct fee. If your application contains any errors, this will cause a delay in the registration, and you or your agent will be contacted and asked to provide the correct information.
Once your application is correct, the council will send you a letter confirming its validation. This will state the statutory determination period, which outlines the length of time the application should take. In most cases, this is eight weeks from the date of validation but more extensive proposals may be up to 16 weeks. The council should write to you and seek an extension of the determination date if your application cannot be covered within the period stated, giving you a reason for the extension. If you disagree with the extension decision, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the grounds of non-determination.
The letter you receive should contain the details of a planning officer at the council to whom your application is assigned. You or your agent can check the progress of your application by viewing the documentation online or by contacting the appointed officer.
Publicity and consultation requirements
Once your planning application is validated, your proposal will be publicised. This marks the start of the formal consultation period, which mostly lasts 21 days. During this time, anyone will be able to submit written comments on your proposal which the council will consider when deciding on your application. The publicity may include individuals directly affected by your project and local community groups as well as
national specific interest groups.
The type of application submitted will determine the specific publicity requirements surrounding your proposal. The council will take all or some of the following action to publicise your project:
Make the application visible on the council’s website.
If your application concerns a conservation area, a listed building or affects a public right of way, it will be advertised weekly in the local press, noting the date by which comments are to be submitted.
Letters to neighbours and parish councils
Some councils may send a notification to neighbours whom the planning officer believe may be affected by your development.
The council must display site notices for applications relating to the same concerns as newspaper adverts. Some local authorities will put up site notices for all planning applications.
The planning officer assigned to your proposal will typically visit your site and may look to view it from nearby properties. The officer will consider comments received during the consultation period from other relevant local and parish council departments as well as those from neighbours, the public and outside agencies.
Your planning application will be assessed against the development management policies adopted by your local council, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and any other ‘material considerations’. These ‘material considerations’ may involve many issues but should broadly relate to current land usage and future development. The planning system generally prioritises the public interest; solely private interests are rarely part of material consideration.
The development management policies adopted by your local council may concern:
- The design, scale and layout of your proposed development
- The location and context of your proposed development
- Any considerations affecting the highway i.e. roads
- Any considerations involving car parking provisions
- The impact of the development on the landscape or street
- The development’s impact on neighbouring property
- The development’s impact on nearby trees and the local environment
Once your planning application is assessed, the case officer may seek some amendments to your proposal by informing you or your agent. Depending on how extensive these amendments are, the council may wish to extend your proposal’s determination period beyond eight weeks for further notification and consultation.
While council planning officers make 90% of planning application decisions, the other 10% are made by the relevant council committee. The dates of these committee meetings should be available on the council’s website, and most authorities allow applicants and the public to speak at council sessions when planning applications are being discussed and decided. The council will notify you or your agent if your application is to be determined by a committee and provide you with details of any public speaking arrangements. You can gain the agenda for the committee meeting by requesting a copy from the council or downloading it from the council’s website. Schedules are usually published at least five working days before the meeting is due to take place.