Deciding Planning Applications

We reach decisions on planning applications either by officer-delegated powers or by the Planning Committee.

The Planning Portal provides useful information on how planning applications are processed.

Delegated decisions

Councillors have given powers to decide planning applications to team leaders in our Planning team. Your assigned case officer will submit a report and a recommendation to their team leader.

If the team leader is in agreement with the case officer's recommendation, a decision will be issued. 

If they are not in agreement or further information is necessary before a decision can be reached, a planning manager may refer a recommendation back to the case officer.

Planning Committee

If an application does not meet with the requirements to be delegated to officers, it will be considered by the Planning Committee. This is made up of 20 elected members.

Meetings are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month .

The Planning Committee considers the planning officer's recommendation and arrives at a decision by means of a vote, which does not always follow the officer's recommendation. A recommendation for approval could be turned down and vice versa.

In all cases, the Planning Committee must arrive at its decision on planning grounds, not because they personally like or dislike the proposal or for other non-planning reasons.

Planning Committee reports are usually available five working days before the date of the meeting. Draft minutes are available within a week following the meeting.

Details of meetings, agendas, members, attendance statistics and declarations of interest can be found on the Planning Committee page.

Planning Committee site visits

Planning Committee members may decide to conduct a visit to an application site before the meeting. This is to familiarise themselves with the site and surroundings before making a decision.  

During the site visit, they will not discuss the merits of the proposal or hear any representations. This will not happen until the next Planning Committee meeting.

The site visit does not have to be publicised or open to the public, as it is not a legally constituted meeting under the Local Government and Access to Information Act. However, we will notify the applicant or agent if access is required to the site. 

Members may wish to view the site from surrounding properties. We will give the relevant landowners notice of the visit so access can be arranged.

Reaching a decision

Once a decision is reached, either under officer-delegated powers or by the Planning Committee, a decision notice is issued. This document provides the applicant with confirmation of the decision reached.

If permission is granted, the decision notice will probably contain a number of conditions that need to be complied with.

If permission is refused, the decision notice will set out the reasons for the decision, along with details of how to lodge an appeal.

Appealing a decision

You can appeal a planning decision if either:

  • you disagree with it
  • the decision was not made within 8 weeks (13 weeks for a major development, such as 10 or more dwellings or a building of more than 1,000 square metres)

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