4 Consulting on Planning Applications

 

4.1 Making Decisions on Planning Applications

4.1.1 The Council is responsible for processing and determining planning applications within the Borough. It is at the planning application stage where specific, detailed decisions are made about the use of land or a building. Applications are considered against national and local policies as well as expert advice, provided internally and externally, which guide whether individual planning applications are approved or refused.

4.1.2 The Council understands that local residents want to have their say about planning applications that may affect their property or community, and to be assured that their views will be considered in the decision-making process. All stages of the planning application process from registration onwards can be followed on the Council's planning website.

4.1.3 Once a planning application has been formally submitted, the Council is responsible for carrying out appropriate consultation.

 

4.2 Pre-application consultation

4.2.1 To ensure early public involvement on major development proposals or locally sensitive schemes, developers must undertake public consultation before making a planning application. This should provide all relevant groups an opportunity to participate in the evolution of development proposals. Applicants should also liaise early with infrastructure providers for new developments at the pre-application stage. This is a local validation requirement and the types of application and criteria for this is set out online in the validation requirements

Pre-application Advice

4.2.2 The Council encourages developers/applicants to discuss development proposals with Planning Officers prior to submission. There are four levels of pre-application advice available ranging from bronze to platinum. This is the only method of getting guidance on drawings or site specific advice from the planning department. For more information on the different levels of advice and what this includes, please see the pre-application advice webpage.

Planning Performance Agreements (PPAs)

4.2.3 A PPA is a project management tool that the applicant and the Council can use to agree timescales, actions and resources for handling particular applications. It covers the pre-application stage as well as the application and post application stages. PPAs are useful for setting out an efficient and transparent process or determining large and/or complex planning applications. They encourage joint working between the applicant and the Council and can help to bring together other parties such as statutory consultees. For more information on the set up and payment of PPAs please see the Planning Performance Agreement webpage (Note- this webpage is being developed).

 

4.3 Application Consultation

4.3.1 When a planning application is submitted to the Council, it will be considered against a validation checklist to ensure the correct documents have been submitted. The checklist is available on our website on the Make a planning application webpage. When validation is successful, a planning application will be registered and allocated to a Planning Officer.

4.3.2 It is at this stage, that the Council will consult on the application. We must undertake a formal period of public consultation prior to deciding the planning application[1]. Appendix 5 sets out in detail the statutory requirements for application consultation and what the Council will do in addition to these depending on the type and location of development. To summarise, these include:

  • Publishing details of planning applications online. You can view details of planning applications on the Council's website on the Comment on a planning application webpage. This can be used to see which planning applications have been registered and to access plans and supporting information relating to both current applications and historic planning decisions. Applications can be searched by address or by an individual planning reference.
  • A weekly list of registered planning applications is published on our website. This is also circulated to local Councillors.
  • Letters to statutory organisations and interest groups.
  • Letters to residents/businesses/properties next to the application site (Please see appendix 5 for circumstances).
  • Site notices (Please see appendix 5 for circumstances).
  • Newspaper adverts (Please see appendix 5 for circumstances).
  • The weekly list is sent to the local press for publication every week, however, this is published at the newspaper's discretion.

 

Weekly List

Diagram 2: Weekly List Tab - You can view the weekly list by clicking on the 'planning' webpage, click 'find and comment on a planning application' and the 'Search and comment' box and then click the fourth tab along as featured in the diagram above.

4.3.3 You may wish to receive planning alerts via the 'My Account' service. You can create an account and receive notifications of new applications and decisions near you[2] by visiting the Comment on a planning application webpage.

4.3.4 Depending on the type and location of development proposed, the Council will also consult with the following organisations:

  • Statutory bodies including the Environment Agency, Natural England and Historic England to establish any specialist concerns arising from the application;
  • Neighbouring Local Planning Authorities where the application site boundary adjoins a neighbouring LPA or is likely to impact on a neighbouring LPA.
  • Utility bodies (electricity, water, sewage or gas companies);
  • Other experts including the Historic Environment Officer and Surrey County Council Highways Officer;
  • Claygate Parish Council for all planning applications submitted in the Claygate ward.

4.3.5 National Planning Guidance lists where there is a statutory requirement to consult particular bodies or persons on planning applications for certain types of development. This can be found on the Consultation and pre-decision matters webpage, which includes links to the relevant legislation.

1. The statutory requirements for consulting on planning applications are set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. [back]
2. You can choose the search area to receive planning applications and decision notifications. The search areas offered are 100m, 200m or 500m from your property. [back]

 

4.4 Commenting on a planning application

4.4.1 Anyone can comment on a planning application. The timeframe for responding is 21 days from the date of notification, which is extended to take account of bank holidays.

4.4.2 We encourage you to use the Comment on a planning application webpage as you can comment on a planning application at a click of a button. We will still accept letters and e-mails and these will be uploaded onto the website. For more detailed advice on how to comment on a planning application, please see the guidance detailed at the Comment on a planning application webpage.

4.4.3 The comments received and additional information including the Officer Report (which includes a summary of comments received and the decision notice) is added to the website so that anyone can view the information upon which a decision is made.

4.4.4 The comments we receive in response to planning applications are a matter of public record. This means that we cannot treat comments as confidential, and they will be made available to view on the Council's website alongside the name and address of the person making the comment.

4.4.5 We will not publish any telephone numbers, private e-mail addresses or signatures. We reserve the right not to publish any comments or parts of comments that are not considered suitable for public view, including comments that are offensive, personal or defamatory.

4.4.6 In line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) 2018, the Development Management privacy notice sets out how your information will be used.  

 

4.5 What can I comment on?

4.5.1 If you comment on a planning application, it is important that your comments relate to planning matters as it is only these matters that can be taken into account by the Council when making a decision. Some of the issues that are considered to be planning matters include:

  • External appearance.
  • Impact on the street scene or character of the local area.
  • Issues of noise, privacy, disturbance and amenity.
  • Loss of trees or impact on conservation issues.
  • Drainage.
  • Highway safety, traffic and parking issues.
  • Loss of light or overshadowing.

This list is not exhaustive. There may be other relevant issues that you wish to comment on.

4.5.2 Some issues are not regarded as planning matters and are not taken account of when reaching a planning decision. These include:

  • Loss of a private view.
  • Property value.
  • Other private property matters such as boundary and ownership disputes, or private rights of way.
  • Moral issues or motives of the applicant.
  • Possible future uses outside the scope of the application.
  • Matters covered by other legislation, such as building regulations, licensing or restrictive covenants.
  • Personal matters relating to the identity of the applicant.

4.6 Making a decision

4.6.1 There are two main ways in which the Council will reach a decision on a planning application. Most planning applications are assessed against our planning policies and decided by managers in the Development Management team under delegated powers, but some larger or contentious applications are decided by an Area Planning Sub-Committee.

Delegated decisions

4.6.2 Once the consultation period has been completed, the planning case officer will take into account all material considerations, including any representations, relevant local planning policies, national policy and planning guidance. The reasoning behind the case officer's recommendation will be set out in a short report (referred to as the officer report). A decision will then be made by designated planning managers on behalf of the Strategic Director.

Area Planning Sub-Committee

4.6.3 In some cases, a decision cannot be made under delegated powers and must instead be decided by Councillors at Sub-Committee. The Sub-Committee is open to the public and will decide a planning application if:

  • The application has received 5 or more objections from individual households and/or an objection from Claygate Parish Council.
  • A Councillor requests determination by Sub-Committee for an application within their ward area.
  • The application has been submitted by or on behalf of Councillors or officers of the Council or the applicant is related to the a Councillor or a member of staff.

4.6.4 In some circumstances the public are invited to participate in Area Planning Sub-Committee meetings. This Sub-Committee process, including an explanation of the areas and public speaking, is explained on the Making a decision webpage.

Full Planning Committee

4.6.5 There are instances when an application will be referred to the Full Planning Committee. These are:

  • For any applications where there are objections from more than 40 households and the sub-committee has recommended permission, then the decision will be referred to the Full Planning Committee.
  • All departures from the Local Plan that are required to be forwarded to the Secretary of State.
  • Any two Members of the Full Planning Committee may refer an application to the Full Planning Committee from the Area Sub Committee at which they were present.

 

4.7 How can I find out more about planning decisions?

4.7.1 Once a decision has been made, a decision notice is sent to the applicant or agent to inform them of the decision. The decision will also be uploaded to the application details webpage under 'Plans & Documents' tab and will be sent to those using planning alerts. Weekly lists of applications decided in the last 6 weeks are also uploaded on the Planning Applications webpage (See diagram 2).

Appeals

4.7.2 An applicant can appeal against a planning decision if:

  • The application has been refused planning permission.
  • The decision includes a condition that the applicant is not satisfied with.
  • The application has not been determined within the statutory time period.

4.7.3 The appeal will be determined by an independent Planning Inspector from the Planning Inspectorate. Members of the public who commented on the application will be notified in writing by the Council that the appeal has been lodged. Any previous written comments will be forwarded to the inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate will inform the Council of the outcome. A monthly list of appeals lodged and appeals decided is available on the Planning Applications webpage (See diagram 3 below).

4.7.4 Once planning permission has been granted, there is no statutory third party right of appeal to challenge the approval. The only mechanism for interested parties to challenge the granting of planning permission is through a judicial review upon a point of law.

 

 Website

Diagram 3: Planning Applications List including Applications Validated, Applications Decided, Appeals Lodged and Appeals Decided.