Development Control Charter
Our Charter explains the standard of service you can expect when we process planning applications.
On receiving a planning application, we check that it is valid, contains all the necessary information and the correct fee. The details are entered into a register.
The council must give publicity to planning applications. Neighbours may be notified or a site notice may be posted, with 21 days allowed for people to give their views. For important schemes we will advertise the application in a local newspaper, in which case 14 days are allowed for responses from the public.
We often have to consult other council departments, or outside bodies such as United Utilities. Consultees have 21 days in which to reply.
Examination and site inspection
For some applications the form and plans may not give us sufficient information to fully understand the proposals. In these cases we will write to the applicant, or his/her agent, specifying the additional information we require. A meeting may sometimes be necessary. Although we attempt to identify at an early stage additional information needed, consultees may also ask for further details. The efficiency with which the planning application is dealt depends on speedy replies from applicants to requests for additional information. We insist on a Planning Officer visiting the sites of all applications. Where necessary, you may be asked to provide access to the site.
We consider the information contained in the application, the replies of consultees, and any public reaction, against the framework of the Development Plan for the area, before reaching a recommendation on whether planning permission should be granted, subject to conditions, or refused.
The assessment may reveal that planning permission cannot be granted unless certain aspects of a proposal are changed. Our philosophy is to encourage acceptable development wherever possible and we will try to agree changes or amendments to the original proposal to enable us to make a favourable recommendation. Negotiations, though sometimes time-consuming, result in a better quality of development, and avoid the delay and expense of an appeal.
The Corporate Director Places Directorate has been given powers by the council to issue decisions on most types of application. This includes applications to which up to 10 No members of the public object. The Corporate Director is also empowered to refuse planning permission. If an application does not need to be referred to elected members, time is saved in issuing a decision notice.
How to access Committee reports and agendas
The Planning Committee meets every four weeks to determine planning applications. The Corporate Director Places Directorate prepares reports and recommendations on planning applications. Items for the agenda must be completed two weeks before the Committee to allow for typing, printing and circulation to Councillors and officials.
Planning Committee agendas and reports are made available to the public five working days before the date of the Committee meeting.
Minutes are made available no later than a week after the meeting approving them.
Speaking at Committee
Arrangements have been made to enable applicants and objectors to speak at the Planning Committee meetings. A leaflet Consideration of Planning Applications at Planning Committee (.pdf, 404Kb) has been prepared to explain this procedure.
For some applications, the Committee may feel that they cannot make a decision until they have visited the site. This is arranged prior to the next Committee meeting, i.e four weeks later, at which meeting a decision will normally be taken. Applicants will be advised of the details of any site visits and may attend if they wish. Decisions on applications are normally issued within two or three days of the Committee meeting.
When you get permission, read the decision letter with care. There may be conditions attached and if these are not observed then you could become liable to enforcement proceedings including prosecution.
Do you need any other consents such as Building Regulations?
The grant of planning consent does not cover consent for any other purpose. It is your responsibility to ensure that any other necessary consents are applied for and obtained. A planning permission must be taken up within a certain period of time. This is usually three years and is specified in the decision notice. If development is not started within this time period the permission will lapse and will no longer be valid.
When permission is refused
The council will state on the decision notice the reasons why your application has been refused. You may be able to change your proposal to overcome the problems. If so, a new application can be submitted which is more likely to be successful. Before making a new application it is advisable to discuss it with a planning officer.
If the council refuses permission or the conditions are not acceptable, or the council fails to reach a decision within 8 weeks (or after any agreed longer period) you have the right of appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.