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Deciding the outcome of a planning application

Once a planning application has been carefully considered and all submitted information examined, it will then go through one of two routes to enable us to reach a final decision - delegated powers or Development Control Committee.

The information below will help you understand the route that an application takes, how we reach a decision and how you can participate in the process.

How are planning applications decided?

The appropriate route for deciding on a planning application is set out in our constitution

The two main routes are by:

Our performance in deciding on planning applications

Delegated powers

Small scale applications are usually decided under delegated powers. These include:

  • householder alterations and extensions
  • changes of use of small amounts of floorspace or, in the case of residential, involving the creation of less than five units
  • minor extensions to Class A3/A4/A5 floorspace or minor variations to conditions
  • applications involving simple legal agreements, for example, making new flats 'car-free'
  • minor applications where the council is the applicant

The process of deciding upon an application under delegated powers involves a planning officer recommending whether permission should be granted for an application having assessed it against all related evidence, policies and consultation responses, which are material considerations to the application and a senior member of staff moderating that decision, which is taken on behalf of the Director for Culture and Environment.

Members briefing panel

Where there are relevant material objections to an application from a Conservation Area Advisory Committee, a residents or amenity group or Ward Councillor, or three or more respondents from different addresses a decision cannot be made by delegated powers without first bringing it to the attention of our Members’ Briefing Panel.

The panel is made up of three councillors: the Chair of our Development Control Committee: Cllr Heather Johnson (Lab), the Vice Chair Cllr Roger Freeman (Con) and Cllr Flick Rea (Lib Dem).

The panel does not decide upon applications that are referred to it. Its role is to consider the nature and extent of the outstanding objections to the application by viewing the associated planning officer’s report, application drawings, relevant photographs and letters of objection.

Thereafter, the Panel will either:

  • advise that they are satisfied with the proposed decision being made under delegated powers; or
  • recommend that the decision is made by the Development Control Committee instead

Development control - members' briefing case list

The Members Briefing Panel is not a public meeting.

The details of applications that will be considered at our next Members’ Briefing Panel (held every Monday) are available below:

Development control committee

Applications that cannot be decided under delegated powers (that is, approximately 10 per cent of all applications) are made by members of our Development Control Committee. These typically include applications for:

  • major developments where 10 or more new homes will be built or the floorspace will be over 1000m²
  • some minor developments where there will be an increase in floorspace
  • changes of use to businesses serving hot food, for example, restaurants, takeaways etc. (A3 use)
  • demolition or part demolition of listed buildings or buildings in a conservation area
  • any application which is not covered by the policies in our Local Development Framework
  • most applications which would involve making a legal agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act.

The process of making a decision involves an area team manager and a Development Control Service Manager (on behalf of the Director for Culture and Environment) reviewing the report produced by the planning officer (recommending whether permission should be granted or refused). The report is then considered at a public meeting of the Development Control Committee. These meetings are held every three weeks.

If your planning application needs to be considered by the Development Control Committee, we will tell you when the meeting will be.

I want to speak at a development control committee meeting

Minutes, agenda and reports

Agendas and planning officers' reports are available five working days before the committee meeting is held.

Draft minutes are published within five full working days of the meeting, and are approved at the following meeting.

Live webcasts of development control committee meetings

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