Planning is an emotive subject. 

We follow the Royal Town Planning Institute’s code of conduct when we provide professional planning judgements. Our recommendations are based upon a robust assessment of current planning law and policy.

There are clearly times when this may conflict with the view of local residents, and planning matters can often become highly charged in this respect.

Our role is to weigh up all the considerations, so the Planning Committee can make sound, informed planning decisions. 

When we receive an application

We will make sure it's valid, including the submission of all the relevant requirements for the type of application proposed as set out in the 
National and Local Requirements for Planning Applications (July 2013) (Word Document, 1.71 Mb).

If an application is not valid, we will normally return it to the applicant or agent, a minimum of 28 days from the date it was received.

Assessing an application

The application will be assigned a case officer, who will visit the site.

Once this has been done - plus any necessary negotiations to try to overcome potentially resolvable concerns - then we will prepare a report.

This will take into account any responses received from statutory consultees and other interested parties, as well as local and national policies such as those contained within the

We will assess the details of the application, giving weight only to material considerations:

  1. Layout, density
  2. Privacy
  3. Daylight/sunlight
  4. Access/traffic
  5. Local economy
  6. Design/appearance
  7. Noise/smell
  8. Landscape
  9. Cumulative impact
  10. Previous similar decisions

These are not considered to be material considerations:

  1. History of applicant
  2. Loss of view
  3. Commercial competition
  4. Change from previous scheme
  5. Impact on property value
  6. Restrictive covenants
  7. Ownership of land/right of access


The final decision on the application will rest with our Development Control Manager or, for items not 'delegated' to officers, with the Planning Committee.

Councillors or planning officers cannot refuse a planning proposal simply because many people oppose it. If an application is refused - or granted subject to conditions - that decision must be based on approved plans and policies.

Applicants / agents, objectors to or supporters of an application can speak at the Planning Committee. Find out more

Following the decision, we will send the decision notice (either a permission, usually detailing a number of conditions upon which permission is granted or a refusal, detailing the reasons for that refusal) to the applicant or agent. The decision will also be updated on the online PublicAccess system.

After our decision

If an applicant is dissatisfied with our decision (i.e. the application has been refused or granted subject to conditions the applicant considers unacceptable), he or she may appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

This appeal must be made on forms available from the Planning Inspectorate, and must usually be made within six months (this period varies depending on the type of permission sought).

If the Planning Inspectorate accepts the appeal as valid, the decision will normally be made by an inspector appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

A range of methods of determining the appeal are available (exchange of written representations, informal hearing or public inquiry).

The actual method used will be a matter for the Planning Inspectorate to decide, and will normally depend upon the nature of the development in question.

There is no right under the planning system in England and Wales for third parties (eg neighbours) to lodge an appeal of this type against our decision.

Once the inspector has determined the appeal (or, in some cases, normally involving major development schemes, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government), the appellants, ourselves and any interested parties who have requested notification of the decision will receive a copy of the Inspector's decision letter.

If the Inspector allows the appeal, the inspector's letter is effectively the planning permission. No further approval notice is required from us.

Last updated: Sat 16 December, 2023 @ 19:40