Planning application guide

Where do I start?

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Once you have established whether you need planning permission, the next stage is to fill in an application form. You can apply online at the Planning Portal.

Alternatively, you can download a form from the planning applications form page. You can also contact the Planning Service and we can send you one by post. Details and guidance notes about how to make an application are also available with the form. If you apply online the guidance will help you to complete it.

What else do I need?

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This depends on what your application is for. Planning checklists are available to assist you with the submission of your application. See the guidance notes for your specific type of application.

Can I submit the application myself?

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Yes, as long as all the above information is clearly provided. Alternatively you can have someone such as an architect or surveyor to be your agent. They will fill in the forms and prepare the necessary drawings for you. They will charge you a fee to do this. If your application is straightforward you may be able to do the drawings yourself. Please make sure you read the appropriate guidance notes to understand what plans and documents are required.

What happens to my application?

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When we receive your application we will send you an acknowledgement letter (usually within three to ten working days depending on the size of the application). This letter will tell you the reference number that we have given to your application and the date by which we should make a decision. If we do not have all the information we need we will write and tell you.

Please note that if you are using a professional agent we will always contact him/her about your application. The planning officer dealing with your application will visit your property to make sure that the drawings you have sent us are correct and to make sure what you want to do is acceptable. If we need to see you at your house, we will make an appointment.

You can monitor the progress of your application using Planning Online where you can view key dates, see who we have consulted and view the plans and documents. You can also contact the Planning Service by email or phone.

Who will know about my application?

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We will tell any neighbours who we think may be affected by what you want to do. We will give them 21 days to make comments. It is always a good idea to advise your neighbours of your plans before you make an application. For some applications we may ask other Council Departments and other external bodies for their views; for example, we may consult with the Environment Agency or English Heritage.

Your application will also be available to view on this website. You can view all applications and appeals submitted to us using Planning Online.

How long will it take?

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We will deal with your application as quickly as possible. We try to deal with at least 85% of all applications from householders within 8 weeks.

Larger and more complicated applications can take longer.

You can track the progress of an application from registration to determination using Planning Online.

We will tell you as soon as possible if there are any problems with your application and whether you need to change your plans to overcome a problem or objection. We may need to tell your neighbours again if your proposal is changed.

How is a decision made about my application?

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We assess your application, taking into account policy guidelines, site features and any comments made by people we have advised of your application. We decide whether to recommend that the application be approved or refused.

If your proposal is complex, there have been a substantial number of objections to it, or if there are serious problems which we have been unable to sort out, the decision on your application will usually be taken by the Planning Committee. If your application is straightforward and meets our policies, the final decision will probably be made by the Chief Planning Officer. Most applications (about 90%) are dealt with in this way.

How do I find out what the decision is?

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A written notice giving the decision on your application will be sent within 3 days of it being made

If your application is approved, there may be certain conditions that you have to comply with. These could include submitting details of the materials that you want to use to us for approval. You must comply with any conditions before you begin the work. You may need to submit a separate application for discharge of conditions.

You must carry out the work exactly as shown on the approved plans. Normally, work must be started within 3 years of the date your application was decided. If work is not carried out during this timescale the approval will lapse.

If you want to make any changes to the plans that have been approved, you must contact us with the details before starting work. We will then write to you to say whether the changes are acceptable as minor amendments to your original application, or whether you will need to make a new planning application.

What if my application is refused?

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If your application is refused you will be told the reasons why. You may want to make an appointment with us to discuss whether a different proposal might be acceptable.

If you are still unhappy you can appeal against the decision to the Planning Inspectorate.

Any appeal must be made within 6 months of the date of the decision. Advice on how to appeal is sent to you with the written notice of decision.

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