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The planning process explained

This page explains how your application will be processed once it reaches us.

Step 1 - Checking and validating

Once we've received your application, it's checked to make sure that all the details are correct and that the necessary documents have been included. The processing of the application won't start until we have everything we need, including payment of any fees.

The application will then become public information and you, and any member of the public, can follow the progress of the application on our website.

Step 2 - Consultation

Once the application is registered the details are entered onto our computerised application system. It is at this stage that the consultation and publicity period starts.

A Case Officer will take responsibility for the processing of the application. His or her name will be displayed on the website with your application details.


Most applications are advertised in the local press and a site notice is posted. Letters are sent out to neighbours and statutory consultees (any other people that the planning team need to consult). Both are at the discretion of the Case Officer.


Anyone wishing to make a comment on a planning application has 21 days from the publicity date to do this so that they can be considered as a part of the decision process.

You can do this quickly and easily online.

All comments received, whether supporting or objecting to an application, are uploaded to the website for public viewing.

Step 3 - Site visit

The site will be inspected by the Case Officer and any further consultations/ negotiations will be carried out. Normally the Case Officer will contact you to make arrangements to visit you. Sometimes it's not necessary to do this by appointment, especially where the application site is fully visible from the road or footpath and site access isn't required.

Step 4 - The decision process

The Case Officer will prepare a draft decision, which will be passed to a senior Planning Officer for a decision (about 90% of decisions are made in this way). This is called a 'delegated decision'. Complex or major applications are determined by the Planning Committee.

The nature or complexity of the application will influence how long it takes to make a decision. We aim to process most planning applications within 8 weeks. Major applications, such as large housing developments, are made within 13 weeks.

Planning Policy also influences the decision process, read more about¬†The Local Plan.

Step 5 - Committee

Decisions on complex applications are made by The Planning Applications Committee, which meets every 4 weeks. It is made up of elected Members who listen to the views of the public and consider the reports of the Case Officers. A decision will then follow a debate between Members on the application. Usually the committee will carry out a visit to the site on the morning of the meeting. Public speaking is allowed at these committees.

The agendas for these meetings are published around 8 days before the meeting. If you want to speak at the meeting, either for or against an application, you're welcome to do so. However, you  must give notice of this to the Democratic Services Team at least three days before the meeting.

Our meetings, agendas and minutes page has the calendar of forthcoming meetings, agendas, reports, and minutes of previous meetings.

How we tell you about the decision

The decision notice will be forwarded to the applicant or their agent. It will clearly explain the decision, including the reason for any conditions (if approved) or grounds (if refused).

If you don't agree with the decision

You may be able to appeal against it. Read more about appeals.