Validity and determination date
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 the application contains any errors this will cause a delay in the registration of your application as 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 in which an application should be dealt with. In most cases, this date is 8 weeks from the date of validation but may be up to 16 weeks from the validation date in the case of larger proposals. The council should write to you and seek an extension of the determination date if your application cannot be dealt with in 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 acknowledgement 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 at any time either by viewing the documentation online or by contacting the assigned officer.
Publicity and consultation requirements
Once your planning application has been validated, your proposal will be publicised. This will mark the start of the formal consultation period, which usually lasts 21 days. During this time, anyone will be able to submit written comments on your proposal which the council will take into account when making a decision on your application. This may include individuals directly affected by your proposal and local community groups as well as national specific interest groups.
The type of application you submitted will determine the specific publicity requirements surrounding your proposal. The council will take all or some of the following action to publicise your application:
Making the application visible on the council’s website
Newspaper adverts: 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 should be submitted.
Letters to neighbours and parish councils: some councils may send a notification to neighbours who the planning officer believes may be affected by your development.
Site notices: The council must display site notices for applications relating to the same concerns as newspaper adverts. Some councils put up site notices for all planning applications.
The planning officer assigned to your proposal will normally 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’. ‘Material considerations’ can involve many issues, but should broadly relate to how land is used and developed. Generally, the planning system prioritises the public interest; for this reason, solely private interests are not usually considered as material considerations.
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 accessed, 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 seek to extend your proposal’s determination period beyond 8 weeks for further notification and consultation.
While 90% of planning application decisions are made by council planning officers, the other 10% are considered by the relevant council committee. The dates of these committee meetings should be advertised on the council’s website, and most councils allow applicants and the public to speak at meetings 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. Agendas are usually published at least five working days before the meeting is due to take place.