The application process
You can also see the following information as
Registration and validation
When we receive an application, we
register it and give it a number. We will quote that number when we
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- 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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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