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The Planning Application Process

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The planning process is set out by central government legislation and is designed to allow the input of expert and interested parties into the making of decisions on applications for development affecting the built and natural environment. The planning process followes six stages: -

1) VALIDATION

  • Applications are checked to ensure all documents and fees required by the law have been submitted.  
  • Any omissions will be requested before processing can begin.  
  • Detailed notes of guidance are provided with the planning application forms.  
  • We aim to send an electronic acknowledgement of receipt of online applications within one working day.
  • We aim to confirm the validity or rejection of applications submitted online within 5 working days.  
  • Once the application has sufficient information it is assigned a unique Planning Application Reference Number and can be processed.      

2) CONSULTATION & PUBLICITY

  • Consultations are sent to various bodies to obtain their expert view.  
  • Advertisements are placed on site. These indicate how to view plans and how to comment on them, usually 21 days from the date of publishing. In certain instances advertisements are published in the local press.
  • Nearby properties and businesses that are considered to be affected are notified by letter.  
  • All submitted application documents and plans are published on the County Council's Online Planning Register.
  • Copies of the application documents and plans submitted are provided to the relevant district/borough council to be placed on the public planning register and so as to be made available for inspection.  
  • Plans can also be viewed, upon request in advance, at the County Council offices in Kendal.     

3) CONSIDERATION

  • The site is inspected and the application assessed by a planning officer, taking into account the planning policies within the local development plan, consultation responses, public representations and other material considerations.

4) NEGOTIATION

  • If problems are identified with the application which there is scope to address through alterations to the proposal, the officer will contact the applicant to seek suitable amendment. 
  • Stages 2 and 3 may require to be repeated if amendments which significantly change the application are made.  

5) RECOMMENDATION

  • The case planning officer will make a recommendation to the Head of Environment, if a delegated matter, or otherwise to the Development Control and Regulation Committee.    
  • If the application is to be decided at a Committee meeting, objectors wishing to make representations in person and the applicant will be contacted to be advised of the time and venue and of any arrangements to enable them to take part.  
  • Meetings are held in public and all interested parties are free to attend and observe how a decision is reached.  
  • Requests to speak at the DC&R committee need to be made at least 3 working days before the committee. 
  • Please refer to the leaflet below for further information.  

6) DECISION

  • A decision is taken on the application by either the County Council's Development Control and Regulation Committee  or the Assistant Director of Planning & Sustainability under delegated powers conferred to him by the County Council.  Where the decision lies with the Committee, there may be a site inspection by the Committee prior to considering an application.
  • The decision maker is required by law to limit the matters taken into account to the "Development Plan" (i.e. Local Plan Policies relating to the application) and to other relevant "planning matters" (often referred to as "material considerations").  
  • What does and does not qualify as a "planning matter" varies between applications, but can generally be summarised as the impact of the development proposed on the surrounding environment and communities.
  • Matters which should not be taken into account include who is applying, their past history and the effect on the value of neighbouring property.
  • Legislation requires that planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless other planning matters indicate that this is inappropriate.  
  • It is therefore useful to be aware of the content of the Local Development Plan prior to submission of a planning application.   

7) PROBITY

It is important that applicants and the public should have confidence in the integrity of elected members and officers dealing with planning matters. The County Council operates a Code of Good Practice which clearly defines the roles of each in the process and sets out the standard of conduct required. This Code of Good Practice is set out within Parts 7A and 8A of the County Council's Constitution.