What do planning officers take into consideration when reaching their decisions?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Thursday, March 9th, 2017

When you put in a planning application, the Planning team will firstly check that you have correctly completed all the forms, attached the required plans and paid the correct fee.

Today, most planning applications are made online. Once you have submitted your application, you will get a confirmation email from the Planning Portal. If the Local Authority Planning team needs further information, or has queries, they will get in touch with you.

How applications are assessed

In most instances, the Planning Case Officer assigned to your application will undertake a site visit, and will take the opportunity to view the proposal from adjoining properties. Where relevant, they will gather site-specific information, such as photographs and aerial views.

The Planning Officer will contact the owners of neighbouring properties by letter outlining the proposals, and planning notices will be put up in the vicinity. Depending on the size and scale of what’s proposed, the council can advertise the proposals in the local press, giving details of how the public can comment. Respondents are given 21 days from the date of publication to raise any objections.

The Planning Officer will consider comments made by neighbours and the public, as well other relevant departments within the Local Authority.

The application will be assessed against the criteria set out in the Neighbourhood Plan, the District Plan and the policies set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, and what are referred to as ‘other material considerations’ relating to the use and development of land. If the proposed development is in a Conservation Area or is a Listed Building, then special criteria will be applied.

In general, the Planning Officer will consider the application under headings such as:

  • The design, scale and layout of the building work proposed
  • The impact the planned development will have on the landscape or street scene, its location and context
  • The impact that it will have on the local environment and on neighbouring property
  • Highway and parking considerations.

Following this assessment, the Planning Officer can take a decision as to whether the development meets all the relevant criteria and can be recommended for permission. They can, for instance, ask for changes or amendments to be made to the proposal. Depending on the nature of the amendments required, there may be a second round of consultation with involved parties such as neighbours. If the Planning Officer is happy with the proposals, they will make their recommendation to their Director of Planning.

Around 90% of decisions made on planning applications are delegated to council planning officers for decision, the remaining 10% are considered by council committee. These meetings are open to the public, and you can attend and you may be able to speak in support of your application. The committee will vote on your proposal, and you will be informed at the meeting as to whether it has been approved or not.

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