The Planning Process - An Overview

Planning laws are designed to balance our desire to develop the areas where we live and work with ensuring the surrounding environment isn't negatively affected for everyone. Each local planning authority (‘LPA’) is required to prepare a local development framework outlining how planning will be managed for their area.

In determining planning applications, local planning authorities must have regard to their Local Development Framework (LDF).

Planning permission

Most types of development need planning permission. Activities classed as development include:

Building work

Engineering work

Mining work

Materially – i.e. significantly – changing the use of a building or piece of land

Certain changes use – e.g. if the changes are within the same use class – don't need planning permission. Also, some minor building works – known as permitted development – are automatically allowed.

You may first become involved in the planning system when decisions need to be made about whether a proposed development – yours or someone else's – should be allowed.

The LPA is responsible for deciding whether a proposed development should be allowed to go ahead. They can also grant planning permission retrospectively for planning applications submitted after development work has been carried out.

The National Planning Policy Framework

This was published by the government on 27 March 2012 and sets out the government’s policies on planning for England and Wales and how these will be applied. You can see the NPPF and the government's Planning Practice Guidance here

The Planning process

This guide is merely an explanation of the steps in the Planning Process – at each step, you may need further help and assistance which Solis Law can provide. Generally, the Process consists of 5 Steps:

Step 1 The Application – generally done on-line these days and all LPA’s have an online application process

Step 2 The publicity – the LPA will publicly advertise the proposal and will notify neighbours who will have the right to make representations

Step 3 Consideration – the application and all representations are considered by the allocated planning officer

Step 4 Decision – generally the planning officer reports to the Planning Committee (although in some cases the Planning officer has delegated powers to make the decision alone) who make the decision

Step 5 Post Decision action – this will depend on the outcome. For many successful applications, no further steps are needed but there are opportunities to appeal either a refusal or alternatively conditions attached to the planning permission.

We can assist you with all aspects of your planning – for further information contact us.