Step by Step Guide to the Planning Application Process

Step by Step Guide to the Planning Application Process

The planning application process can be separated into 7 key stages. The process is largely governed by legislation and is designed to allow the input of expert and interested parties into the decision making process. 

Step 1 – Pre-application advice 

Before you decide whether to make a planning application or not, we strongly recommend that you obtain pre-application planning advice from us. 

We will be able to advise you whether your proposal is likely to be approved or not, and can recommend changes to ensure that your planning application has the best chance of success.  Find out more information on our pre-application advice service


Step 2 – Application and validation 

We strongly recommend that you apply online through the Planning Portal which will help you to submit the correct documents you will need, and the correct fees, which means that your application is more likely to be accepted ("Validated") without any delays. 

Once submitted, applications are checked to ensure all documents and fees required are correct. 

Any missing information will be requested before processing can start.


Step 3 - Consultation and publicity 

Letters are sent to neighbours to notify them of the proposals, and, where applicable, we will consult specialists to get their expert opinion. 

Notices, where required, are placed in the appropriate local paper and on or near the site. 

Others can view plans and comment on an application online

Neighbours and consultees have a minimum of 21 days to respond.


Step 4 – Site visit and assessment 

If a site visit is required, the planning officer will go out ot the site and make an inspection.   Where relevant, the planning officer will also gather any site specific information such as photographs.     


Step 5 - Recommendation 

The planning officer will make a recommendation on the application, taking into account planning policies, consultation responses and public representations.


Step 6 - Decision 

We normally aim to process household and non-major application within 8 weeks of the planning application being accepted, so submitting the correct information first time can help avoid delays.  The timescale for major planning applications is 13 weeks. 

With most applications, senior officers who have delegated authority from the Planning Committee normally make the decision under what’s known as ‘delegated powers’.  This means that they can make the decision without going to the Planning Committee. 

Most applications are decided this way. 


Step 7 - Appeal

If your application is refused and you do not believe the decision was correct, or you wish to appeal against a condition imposed on a permission, then you do have the right to appeal.   

Appeals are handled by the Planning Inspectorate, an independent government body. It is recommended that you seek professional advice before deciding whether to appeal as this can be an expensive and lengthy process.   For more information see our Appeals page.