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You are here: Home Page  >  Your services  >  Planning  >  Development Management  >  Advice about the planning process  >  5. The Application Process

 

 

The application process

 

You can also see the following information as a flowchart.

 

Registration and validation

 

When we receive an application, we register it and give it a number. We will quote that number when we contact you.

 

The case officer then checks that the application includes all of the information we need. We aim to complete this check within three working days.

 

If there is anything missing, the officer asks the applicant or their agent to provide it. The application process stops until we receive the missing items.

 

Consultation

 

Once we have everything we need, we write to any property sharing a boundary with the application site, including those opposite. We often post a site notice too.

 

We consult our councillors and the parish council on every application. For some applications, we get advice from experts like Staffordshire Highways or Historic England. We have to advertise others in the Express & Star.

 

You can find the documents and plans for any recent application in our online Planning Document Viewer. Comments from the people we have written to appear on Public Access.

 

You can also book an appointment to look at the paper file. Copies are available for a fee.

 

Everyone we write to has at least 21 days to get back to us. We cannot make a decision before the end of that period.

 

Site visit

 

The case officer visits the site as soon as possible to check that the plans are right and the proposal is acceptable. Neighbours can ask the officer to look at the site from their property too.

 

If something needs changing, we may ask the applicant or agent for new plans. If the changes are significant, we will consult the relevant people again.

 

Report

 

When the consultations and negotiations have finished, the case officer writes a report about the proposal. In the report, the officer:

  • addresses any comments people might have made;
  • checks the proposal against our policies;
  • finds the most important points for and against the proposal (the “material considerations");
  • decides how important each point is (its “weight"); and
  • recommends approval or refusal, depending on which side “weighs" the most.

 

Determination

 

We make decisions in one of two ways. For simpler applications, a senior officer checks the report and signs off the decision.

 

The Planning Committee looks at larger and more complex applications. The councillors hold committee meetings at our offices every fourth Tuesday, starting at 6.30 p.m. Five working days before the meeting, we publish the agenda, which includes all of the case officers' reports.

 

If you are involved with an application, you are welcome to come to the meeting and speak for or against it. We will contact you with more details at least six working days before the meeting.

 

Whether it is a senior officer or the councillors who decide, we issue most decisions within:

  • six to eight weeks for domestic extensions;
  • eight weeks for minor applications; and
  • 12 weeks for major applications.

 

We issue the decision as soon as possible after we make it. If you have written to us about an application, we will let you know the decision at the same time as we tell the applicant.

 

Decision: approval

 

The permission lists any conditions we have had to apply to make the proposal acceptable. Some conditions ask for more detail on an aspect of the proposal, while others specify the use of the development.

 

If you need us to confirm that you have complied with a condition, you can apply to “discharge" it. The application form and fee are available elsewhere on our site.

 

We know that it can be tempting to order materials or hire builders as soon as it seems likely that we will grant permission. However, it is best to wait until you receive the permission itself; things may change at the last minute, and conditions may prevent work from starting straight away.

 

Decision: refusal

 

When we refuse an application, we explain why on the refusal notice. The report goes into more detail. If you feel that you can change the proposal to make it acceptable, you can discuss it with the case officer. If you submit the new plans within a year of the decision date, your second application is free.

 

Appeals: applicants

 

The applicant can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if we refuse their application, or impose a condition they think unjustified. When we learn of an appeal, we forward all documents, plans and comments to the Planning Inspectorate.

 

We will usually write to invite further comments and provide more information at that stage. However, the Inspectorate does not accept extra comments on most appeals for domestic extensions.

 

Appeals: neighbours

 

Only the applicant can appeal against a planning decision. As a neighbour, you cannot appeal if we approve something you do not like. However, you may be able to exercise your rights under other laws, such as the Party Wall Act. We recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

 

If you think that we made a mistake in the way we handled the application, you can use our complaints procedure to let us know. We cannot change the decision after we have made it, however. The only way to change a planning decision is to seek a judicial review (JR). Strict time limits apply, and again, you will need independent legal advice.

 

Contact

 
Planning Enquiries

Telephone: (01902) 696000

Fax:(01902) 696403

Email: dcapps@sstaffs.gov.uk

 
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