After submitting the planning application, what happens next?
Once we receive an application we check it to ensure that it has been completed correctly (with the sufficient and accurate plans and correct fees). When the application is in order we will send out a formal acknowledgement stating the reference number and a date by which it is hoped that a decision will be made by. We will also enter it onto the Register available for public inspection.
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How long will it take for a decision to be made?
Our target is to make a decision on at least 80% of all planning applications within 8 weeks of receiving them. We may require more time for larger and more complex/controversial applications.
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Who will know about the planning application?
It is our statutory duty to let the public know about planning applications. We do this in a number of ways:
- In most cases a site notice is displayed
- In certain circumstances it is advertised in the press (eg in Conservation areas)
- If considered appropriate letters are sent to neighbours
We have a statutory consultation period of 21 days from the date of the site notice for any written comments to be submitted. We cannot make a decision on your application until the consultation period has elapsed.
We also consult a number of specialist bodies to obtain expert advice on various aspects of the proposed development depending upon what it is you intend to do, and where you intend to do it. Common consultees are the Highway Authority and the Parish Council. We will take into account all relevant views expressed by interested parties. These must be based on land use considerations, as the planning system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another.
It is up to you to check the progress of your application. It is advisable to telephone or email the case officer 4 weeks after receiving your validation letter to see if any objections have been received.
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How are planning decisions reached?
Details of how decisions are made are set out in Planning Applications: Considerations and Decisions (PDF 46Kb / 2 pages).
The planning officer dealing with your application will visit the site and consider any comments received, for example these may be from objectors and consultees. They may contact you to obtain more information about the proposal or to suggest alterations to your plans, which will increase your chances of receiving permission.
Our main focus is on the application's compliance with planning policy, however we also take into account material considerations (eg supplementary planning guidance), site specific factors such as access, and design, as well as any comments received during the consultation period. We are keen to ensure that all development that takes place is of high quality and will reject poor designs, which are out of scale or character with their surroundings.
We aim to strike a balance between achieving a rapid turn around of planning applications, and public desire to have a greater say in the decision making process. As a result there are two ways in which decisions can be made on applications, either through a delegated procedure or a Committee procedure.
The Council has given delegated powers to the Director of Technical Services to determine planning applications. This is only if the following do not apply:
- Approval would be contrary to policy;
- Applications are of a major, controversial or sensitive nature;
- Applicants which have aroused significant public interest on valid planning grounds (see below) or an objection from a statutory consultee;
- Applications subject to a Parish Council objection on valid planning grounds (see below);
- Applications subject to a request by an objector to address the Planning Application Committee with valid planning grounds (see below);
- Applications requested by a Council Member to go to committee;
- Applications where the recommendation is contrary to that of a statutory undertaker eg Highways Authority.
The following are not 'valid planning grounds':
- Devaluation of property
- Loss of view
- Personal or financial circumstances or the character of the applicant
- Third party interest
- Some matters covered by other legislation or controls including Building Regulations and Licensing
Where delegated powers cannot be used (on applications which are more of a controversial nature) the Planning Application Committee is the body with the power to make the final decision on whether the application should be approved.
Where an application requires significant change before being acceptable we may give you the opportunity to withdraw the application and resubmit with revised plans. Usually no fee will be required for this.
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The Planning Committee Procedure
An advice leaflet Planning Applications That Go To Committee - (PDF 43Kb / 2 pages) is available detailing the Committee Procedure.
Applications that are sent to committee are usually large or complex applications that are considered controversial or those requested by either an objector or a Council member to be taken to committee.
Once the case officer is sure that the application is being taken to Committee, he/she will let you and any others who have made representations, know the date of the meeting. We will provide both the applicant and any objectors who have registered a desire to make an oral presentation, a copy of the relevant report.
After we have carried out discussions with all the relevant parties the Director of Technical Services submits a report with his recommendation to the Planning Committee. The Committee meets on a monthly cycle, generally the third Thursday commencing at 9.30am in the Town Hall, Penrith. Planning Committee reports are available 5 working days before the date of Committee, and the minutes are available within a week following the Committee meeting. By using the following link you can view Committee dates, agendas, reports and minutes.
Both applicants and objectors can attend the meeting. Objectors have the opportunity to address the Committee. If an objector exercises their right to make an oral presentation then the applicant has the right of reply on the issues raised. The maximum time is 5 minutes in total for each category of speaker. If there is more than one person wishing to speak we encourage you to agree beforehand on how you intend to share the time allotted. It may be that your interests are best served by nominating a spokesperson who will cover all the points of concern.
Presentations made by objectors must be restricted to land use planning considerations and be based on the written objections already deposited with us, not introducing any new material issues.
The Committee are not allowed to take into consideration a number of issues, some of which are listed below;
- Effect on property values
- Character or motives of the applicant
- Aspects covered by other legislation
- Private neighbour disputes
- Protection of a private view
- Financial gain or commercial interests
Planning applications will usually be dealt with in the order in which they appear on the Planning Applications Committee agenda.
Where a request has been made for a hearing, these applications will be considered first. The Officer will briefly outline the proposal before relevant parties make their representations. The Planning Officer then concludes the presentation on the application by summarising the main issues. The Committee considers the Planning Officers recommendation given in the report and arrive at their decision by means of a vote. This does not always follow the Officers recommendation, a recommendation for approval could be turned down and vice versa. In all cases the Committee must arrive at their decision on planning grounds, not just because they personally like or dislike the proposal or for other non-planning reasons. A decision to approve or refuse the application is only made after the Committee has debated the issues and come to a decision. Councillors may decide to defer consideration of an application. This may be to allow them to visit the site, or to allow more time for negotiation. Each Committee member arrives at his/her decision independently. Once a decision is reached the public have no further role.
If an application is deferred before the Committee hears presentations, speakers are allowed an opportunity to address the Committee at a subsequent meeting when the application in which they have an interest in is considered again. If an application is deferred for a site visit, the date of this will be agreed at the Committee meeting. This is a public meeting, to which Parish Council members are invited to attend, and given the opportunity to speak to Committee Members whilst on site. There is however no opportunity for members of the public to address the Committee.
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Types of planning decisions
There are 3 types of decision that can be reached: approval, approval with conditions, and refusal.
Unconditional planning approvals
These are rarely issued and normally relate to specific types of application, for example Certificates of Lawfulness for Existing Use or Development (CLEUD)
Approval subject to conditions
This is where a planning approval is granted subject to planning conditions. Typical conditions include a time limit (usually 3 years) within which the proposal must be started, or requirements for building materials (eg they must match those of the existing building). All conditions have to be justified in terms of their relevance to planning, the development, and their enforceability.
On some occasions a planning agreement between the Planning Authority and the applicant/developer and any other parties with an interest in the land is required. This will be achieved through a Section 106 agreement or Unilateral Undertaking. For further details please see the planning obligation guidance.
If an application is refused, reasons have to be stated. Usually these are due to conflicts with Development Plan Policies. For example, a proposal may result in unacceptable overshadowing of a neighbours living rooms and garden area. To try to reduce the likelihood of applications being refused our Development Plan is available for public inspection at both the Town Hall and Mansion House reception, as well as on display at all the libraries within the district, whilst the case officer is available by appointment for consultation at all stages of the application process.
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After the decision
After the decision we will issue a decision notice to the applicant. Neighbours who have written in will also be notified, and the press will normally report decisions on major proposals. Approximately 92% of all applications are approved within the district, however if your application has been refused, you can submit a modified plan within 12 months of the original decision free of charge. If you do not wish to negotiate you can appeal either against the imposition of a condition/s or a notice of refusal. Appeals must be made within 6 months of the date of decision. Appeals can take several months to decide. A new procedure specifically for planning applications relating to Householder applications that are now only permits 12 weeks in which to initiate the appeal process.
Appeals are dealt with the Planning Inspectorate and original objectors are automatically informed if an appeal has been lodged.
The Planning Portal website also tells you how to make an appeal.
An advice leaflet What Happens To Your Planning Application (PDF: 42Kb / 2 pages) is also available.
If you have any further queries about planning there is always a Duty Officer available between:
|Monday - Friday
||10am to 4pm
You can contact the duty officer by phone on (01768) 817817 or in person at Mansion House. If you wish to contact a specific officer see development control contact information.
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