How we make a decision on planning applications

Planning and building control

The Council successfully held its Planning Committee on Tuesday 31 March 2020, and it is our intention going forward to continue to hold virtual Planning Committees, please check the Council’s website to confirm dates of future meetings and the agendas. Details of committee and speaking arrangements will be notified to those that have made representations. The Council is taking all appropriate precautions to maintain the safety of the public, officers and Members. We will be webcasting the meeting on YouTube / MS Teams, so you do not need to attend in person. Webcast will be available here on YouTube.

Objectors and supporters/agents/applicants can register to speak in the normal way; you will be able to do this via MS Teams. If you were planning to register to speak but would rather not do so via MS Teams, you can submit a written objection which will be read out by a Council Officer.

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Most planning applications are dealt with under delegated powers. This is where certain officers within the council have been given the power to decide applications on behalf of the council.

Delegated officers carefully consider the recommendations which are made by the case officer and the decision is agreed and issued by the delegated officer on behalf of the council.

Certain types of applications will be referred to planning committee for a decision (see below).

Planning committee Click to get info

Planning committee is a public meeting which decides whether planning permission should be granted for a planning application.

The committee is made up of five councillors, including a chair, who come from different political parties and wards in the borough.

Committee meetings take place monthly and are held in the town hall.

When is an application referred to planning committee?

Applications are referred to planning committee for a variety of reasons. If the application that's being submitted is a council-owned development, for example a school or council building, then this will normally be automatically referred to planning committee.

How are objectors/supporters informed about planning committee?

Anyone who submits a letter of objection or support is sent an email confirming that their comments have been received. Once a committee date has been set all those who have commented on an application are sent an invitation to the committee meeting at least five days before the date of the committee. The agenda is published one week before the committee meeting.

How are decisions made at committee meetings?

A planning officer will present the application to the committee members and the public. Following this the agent/applicant will be invited to speak for five minutes and then a maximum of three objectors will be allowed to speak for a maximum oif three minutes each.

As there is a limit on the number of objectors allowed to speak, it will need to be decided before the meeting who will be presenting to the committee.
Questions may be asked by Councillors to the presenting planning officer, the applicant and the objectors.

Councillors who are not members of the committee are allowed to speak but can only speak under standing orders and they will not be able to vote or influence the decision in any capacity.

Members then discuss whether planning permission should be granted. If the members are not able to make a decision then the application may be deferred to the next planning committee.

Further information Click to get info

The government’s Planning Portal provides an overview of the decision-making process for planning applications.