Planning Process Explained

Most new building work or developments will require planning permission to be applied for through your District Planning Authority. Your application will be granted (subject to certain conditions) or refused.

What is an Application?

If your project requires planning permission then you will need to submit an application, which will allow the District Planning Authority to assess the proposal against the relevant planning policies.

Please note that a planning application may require payment of a planning fee, advice on planning fees can be found at the below external link - Planning Portal Application Fees.

Advice on whether you need planning permission for common projects, home improvement projects and commercial or residential developments along with interactive guides for specific projects can be found by viewing the below external link - Planning Portal Main menu.

For householder projects the government has produced a useful guide so you can establish if your project is permitted development by viewing the external link below - Technical Guidance for Householders.

Some projects may not require planning permission, but be aware that if you begin a project without legally obtaining planning permission and it turns out you DO need it this could result in enforcement action being taken, and you could end up with a fine and /or a criminal conviction. If you don't need planning permission you may still need building regulation consent.

Once you have established whether or not you require planning permission the next stage is to submit the relevant application.

How to Apply for Planning Permission

Once you have established if you require planning permission the next stage is to submit a relevant application. The main types of applications you may submit are:

  • Householder Planning Consent
  • Full Planning Consent
  • Outline Planning Consent
  • Reserved Matters
  • Listed Building Consent
  • Advertisement Consent
  • Lawful Development Certificate (LDC)
  • Prior Approval
  • Removal/variation of conditions
  • Approval (Discharge) of conditions
  • Consent under Tree Preservation Orders and works to trees in Conservation Areas
  • Non-material amendment of an existing planning permission

The Governments website provides useful information please see external link below - Government Guidance making an Application

We strongly recommend that you use an agent for submitting planning applications although you can submit your own application. Please note that there are strict validation requirements, failure to meet these could lead your application being returned. You can find a professional agent on the Planning Portal, see external link given below.

Applications are largely submitted via the planning portal which we recommend. Alternatively, we can accept planning applications by post, however we cannot via email. You can also buy site location plans and block plans on the Planning Portal.

Your application will need to be submitted with the correct documents, forms and fee. Please refer to our validation page, which provides a validation checklist so you can check your application prior to submission.


What happens after an application is submitted?

Once we have received an application, it is checked to make sure that all the details are correct and the documents needed have been included. We will use the validation checklist on the validation page when checking your application.

If the application is correct the details are entered onto our application system. At this stage, a period of consultation and publicity of the application starts.

The application details are placed in a planning register, advertised in the local press and, when necessary, with a site notice. The Case Officer will also send out notification letters to statutory consultees. Neighbours who are deemed to be impacted by the application are also sent notification letters.

Once the application is validated the application can be viewed online.

Comments on an application can be made within 21 days from the start of publicity. These need to be in writing to be considered as a part of the decision process, we cannot accept objections or comments to applications over the phone.

Anyone can comment on an application by using the planning application search, by email or by post.

The type and size of an application will influence how long it takes to make a decision but we aim to process the majority of planning applications within 8 weeks.

Major applications, such as large housing developments, are usually determined within 13 weeks.

For relatively simple applications, a decision can be made once the statutory consultation period has passed after 21 days and up to 56 days. These are normally decided by the Case Officer.

The application is assessed by the Case Officer and any further consultations/negotiations will be carried out, which may extend the determination timeframes. A recommendation is then prepared, and a formal notice of decision is issued.

Last updated 15 January 2024
Do you need to get in touch with us? Use our contact form.