How planning decisions are made

Page updated on: 08/10/2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Planning applications can be submitted as usual and are being processed as soon as possible; however, we would advise you to make online applications if able to as our offices remain closed to staff, resulting in significant delays for paper applications.

We are experiencing a backlog of applications due to lockdown which had an impact on service delivery, and saw a number of staff re-deployed to essential frontline services. Therefore, it may take a period of up to three months, on top of the usual delivery timescales, to determine applications.

The Planning Committee is currently meeting remotely twice a month in order to reduce the backlog as much as possible; and priority will be given to employment-related applications.

Site visits will only be carried out, where they are deemed necessary; along with the posting of site notices where practicable. Neighbour notification letters are being used where appropriate.

Enforcement complaints are being progressed where they are considered by officers to be of high or medium impact (for example, where there are health and safety implications) or matters that are able to progress in the absence of a site visit.

We would like to thank you for your patience during this period.

Please continue to visit our Newsroom for the latest information. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Planning applications can only be decided on matters relevant to planning these are know as material considerations. The most common of these include:

  • Effect on traffic, access, road safety and parking
  • Scale, appearance and impact on surrounding area and adjoining neighbours
  • Loss of light
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Effect on nature conservation and loss of trees
  • Impact on Listed Buildings and/or Conservation Areas
  • Something contrary to Council policy
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from development
  • Whether the use would be appropriate for the area

Often people wish to comment on matters that cannot be taken into account because they are not controlled by planning legislation. Common objections that cannot be considered include: 

  • Loss of property value
  • Loss of a view
  • Private issues between neighbours such as party wall disputes, damage to property, private rights of way, covenants or the like
  • Problems associated with construction work such as noise, dust and disturbance by construction vehicles (if you are experiencing these problems the Public Protection and Environmental Health team may be able to help)
  • Competition between firms
  • Structural and fire precaution matters (controlled by building control legislation)
  • Alternative types of development you might prefer. 

Planning managers have powers to decide some applications and they will take written comments into account. When an application has to be considered by a Committee, planning officers will write a report which includes a recommendation and a summary of comments received. The report will be presented to the appropriate Committee, which is made up of elected ward Councillors.

In some circumstances you may also be given the opportunity to speak at the committee meeting. For more information on speaking at these meetings please contact the planning officer handling the application as soon as possible. The Committee will consider your comments along with the other planning issues relating to the case. The Committee are not bound by the planning officer’s recommendation. It may grant or refuse planning permission.

You can track planning applications online and view associated documents and the decision notice.

View a planning application