The Planning Process

By on 18/01/2010 in Factsheets

1.        How does the planning process work
Following receipt of any planning application full details are published on-line at  – this signals the start of a statutory public consultation period of at least 28 days during which time interested parties are invited to submit any views (representations) they wish committee members to consider in ruling on the application.

(Even after the 28 days people can still submit their views on any day right up to the decision being made).

All planning applications must be publicised with a notice pinned up on perimeter of the site to which it pertains - typically BCC will also write to immediate neighbours to inform them. Hard copies of submissions can also be viewed by at the planning department at Alpha Tower.

The majority of smaller scale applications are decided by officers through powers delegated to them by committee. Only major/potentially controversial applications actually get heard at committee hearing itself.

Anyone who submits a formal representation as part of the statutory consultation process will be offered the opportunity to speak at the planning hearing, if one is being held.

By statute the combined time allowed for parties wishing to speak either in favour/or against an application is limited to three minutes each. With this in mind, come the hearing, we always seek to encourage parties for or against to nominate a single spokesperson to speak on all their behalves

2. Questions about impartiality of planning
The planning committee is an independent body, which decides upon planning matters objectively based purely upon legislation and planning law.

It is not unusual for members of the planning committee to undertake site visits/background briefings ahead of the committee meeting to decide upon it - they must declare as part of the meeting these have taken place.

3. Outcomes of planning
Typically 3 outcomes:
– Approved
– Approved subject to certain conditions/changes being first made
– Refused

4. What happens next
While this will depend on the type of application, generally most applications will be to begin work - in this case usually the applicant has three years to begin work on site - ie they do not need to start straight away.



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