Applying for planning permission FAQ

Who will know about my application?

We will tell any neighbours who we think may be affected by what you want to do. We will give them 21 days to make comments. It is always a good idea to advise your neighbours of your plans before you make an application. For some applications we may ask other council departments and other bodies for their views.

Your application will also be available to view on this website. You can view all applications and appeals submitted to us using the planning explorer.

How can I check the progress of my application?

You can view your application by using the planning explorer. This will advise you of important dates such as when the consultation period expires and when a decision is expected. It will also be updated once a decision has been made on the application. If you do need to contact the planning officer directly it is recommended you do this once the consultation period has expired. The quickest and easiest way of contacting the case officer is by the e-mail address given on the acknowledgement letter.

How is a decision made about my application?

We assess your application, taking into account policy guidelines, site features and any comments made by people we have advised of your application. We decide whether to recommend that the application be approved or refused.

If your proposal is complex, there have been a substantial number of objections to it, or if there are serious problems which we have been unable to sort out, the decision on your application will usually be taken by the planning applications committee. If your application is straightforward and meets our policies, the final decision will probably be made by the planning officer or team leader. Most applications are dealt with in this way.

What considerations are taken into account when processing a planning application?

The main considerations can vary depending on the type of proposal and its location. The main things a planning officer will consider are:

  • the scale and design.
  • the impact on the existing property.
  • the impact on the street scene and visual amenity of the surrounding area.
  • the effect on the amenities (for example light, privacy) of neighbouring occupiers.
  • traffic and parking if appropriate.
  • hours of use if appropriate.

How do I find out what the decision is?

A written notice giving the decision on your application will be sent within 3 days of it being made.

If your application is approved, there may be certain conditions that you have to comply with. These could include submitting details of the materials that you want to use to us for approval. You must comply with any conditions before you begin the work.

You must carry out the work exactly as shown on the approved plans. Normally, work must be started within 3 years. If work has not substantially started during this timescale the approval will lapse. To discuss what constitutes a substantial start of work, please contact us.

If you want to make any changes to the plans that have been approved, you must contact us with the details before starting work. We will then write to you to say whether the changes are acceptable as minor amendments to your original application, or whether you will need to make a new planning application.

What if I start work without permission?

It is not advisable to start work before you have got all the permissions you need. If the work is not acceptable, you could be asked to put it right at your own expense and/or be fined.

What if I want to alter my plans after a decision has been made?

If you change your plans, either before or after work has started, you must be sure to get both planning permission and building regulations approval for the changes. This is very important. For example, you will not always get planning permission for changes you have to make to meet building regulations. However, we will always work with you to try and find a solution.

What is the difference between a planning condition and a planning obligation?

A planning condition is a legal mechanism to either regulate the development or the use of any land under control of the applicant, whilst a planning obligation can involve a payment either direct, or in kind, towards planning measures to mitigate the impact of a development, restrict the use of the land,  require certain activities to be carried out in relation to the land or require the land to be used in a specified way.

In accordance with circular 05/2005, where there is a choice between imposing conditions and entering into a planning obligation, the imposition of a condition is preferable. Planning obligations will be the preferred method of ensuring the provision of complex arrangements, such as affordable housing and the payment of commuted sums.

What are unilateral undertakings?

Unilateral undertakings are legal agreements which bind only one party, usually the developer, to undertake planning obligations. A unilateral undertaking can sometimes be used as an alternative to a section 106 agreement as part of the process of determining a planning application, particularly in instances where the obligations are simple.

Does East Staffordshire Borough Council have standardised legal agreements and obligations?

Yes, a standard heads of terms template, and typical obligations between parties is available.

How can I get involved in section 106 planning obligations?

Members of the public have the opportunity to make representations to the planning authority for each planning application and on policy documents that set out the framework for seeking planning obligations.

Residents or businesses living and working adjacent to a development site will receive a letter from the council at the start of the planning application process detailing who they can contact if they wish to make representations. Representations can include suggestions by members of the public for projects which may mitigate the impact of a new development on an area.

Why are section 106 planning obligations so important?

The pre-submission local plan requires East Staffordshire Borough Council to construct 11,648 homes over the next local plan period (2013 – 2031). Planning obligations are important in ensuring that the impact of the growth in population is dealt with in a planned and sustainable way, and contributions will ensure the adequate provision of infrastructure to meet this planned growth.