Once the local planning authority has accepted your application as valid it will publicise the proposal (using methods such as its website, site notices and notifying neighbours and parish councils) so that people have a chance to express their views. The specific publicity requirements will depend on the type of application.
The formal consultation period will normally last for 21 days. Anyone may comment on a planning application during this period and details of how to do so will be available from the local planning authority. Written comments will be taken into account when the local planning authority makes a decision on the application, so long as they raise considerations which are relevant to the proposal and ‘material’ to planning.
Whilst the statutory requirement is that only certain types of development should receive full publicity, the Council ensure that the maximum publicity is given to all applications. The Council will therefore take all or some of the following action to publicise planning applications.
Newspaper Advertisements: New applications within a Conservation Area, relating to listed buildings and affecting a public right of way will be advertised weekly in the Local Press. The list will give the date by which comments should be received.
Neighbour Notification Letter: Some Councils have a policy of notifying neighbouring properties of the submission of an application. Notifications are sent to the occupier of a property according to the allocating officer’s assessment of who may be affected by the development. Additionally, further notification may be carried out following the case officer’s visit.
Site Notice: Site notices for new applications within a Conservation Area, relating to listed buildings and affecting a public right of way will be displayed. Some Councils put up site notices for all planning applications, often asking applicants to arrange to display the notice in a publicly viewable position.
Assessment of the Planning Application
The planning case officer will normally undertake a site visit and may also take the opportunity to view the proposal from adjoining properties. The planning case officer will consider the comments received from any other relevant departments within the Authority or outside agencies as well as those from neighbours, the public and Parish or Neighbourhood Council;
The case officer will assess the application against the adopted development plan policies, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the other material considerations. Many issues are capable of being ‘material considerations’, but in broad terms should relate to the use and development of land. As a general principle, the planning system works in the public interest and matters that affect solely private interests are not usually material considerations in planning. Development Management policies may involve any of the following depending on the form of development and its complexity;
- the design, scale and layout of the proposal
- location and context of the development
- highway considerations
- provision of car parking
- impact on the landscape or street scene
- impact on neighbouring property and local environment
- impact of building works on nearby trees
This list is not comprehensive and it may be that following this assessment the planning officer will seek some amendments to the proposal, the officer will inform you or your agent and by negotiation these amendments may be incorporated. Depending on the extent of any amendments it may be necessary for further consultations and notification of neighbours, this may require the extension of the determination period beyond 8 weeks.
Reaching a Decision
Approximately 90% of the decisions made on planning applications are delegated to Council officers for decision. The others are considered by the relevant Committee of the Council. The dates for these committee meetings are advertised, and most Council’s encourage public involvement in the planning process through providing the public with the opportunity to speak at the Committee meetings when planning applications are being decided and giving applicants the right to respond. If your planning application is to be determined by a Committee then you or your agent should be notified by the Council and provided with details of any public speaking arrangements. You can also obtain a copy of the Committee agenda by contacting the Council or downloading it from the Committee section of the council website. Committee agendas and reports are published at least 5 working days before the date of the Committee meeting.
At the meeting it is usual for a planning officer to outline the proposal, then opportunity is provided for public speaking and for the applicant or agent to respond before the Committee discuss the application.