1. Validation and registration
When we receive your application it will be checked to ensure that:
- the plans are clear and to scale;
- the forms and certificate of ownership have been properly completed and that the owner and/or leaseholder of the property (if not yourself) has been notified;
- there are sufficient copies of drawings and site location plans;
- drawings are provided of both the existing situation and the proposed development;
- all other requirements specified in the validation checklist have been submitted;
- the correct fee has been paid.
If we are able to validate your application, you or your agent if you have one, will be advised of:
- the planning officer dealing with your application;
- the application number;
- the date of registration and the date by which the Council should determine the application.
If we cannot validate your application will write to you (or your agent) to let you know what information we require and we will allow 14 days for this information to be supplied before returning your application and fee.
Please note that where an agent is employed to act on behalf of an application, all communications will be with your agent.
2. Consultations and advertisements
Consultations consist broadly of two types:
- those covering technical aspects with public bodies, such as supply services, external bodies such as Historic England or Hertfordshire Highways, or other departments within the Council, such as Environmental Compliance.
- those advising third parties who might be directly affected by the application. The Council will notify in writing those properties immediately adjoining a site where planning permission has been sought and, where appropriate, properties immediately opposite.
All such consultation responses will be published on our website.
Applications requiring wider notification are advertised on site and in the local press where necessary. Site notices are posted on or near the application site. In most cases the Council undertakes this task, but in some cases this is your responsibility (you will be informed if this is the case).
3. Site visit
The planning officer assigned to deal with your application will make a site visit. The officer will check that the relevant neighbours have been advised of the application and assess the impact of the proposals on neighbouring properties and the immediate area. You may be contacted if further details or amendments are considered necessary. There is generally no requirement for an accompanied visit, and appointments are not usually made unless there are problems with access.
4. Officer’s Report
The application will be considered against relevant Development Plan policies, government advice and any past history on that site or similar applications. The Council has standards that have to be met for things such as the relationship with neighbours’ daylight, visibility near roads and junctions, and car parking. The Development Plan policies are set out in the St Albans District Local Plan Review 1994, which is the Council’s current policy document.
The case officer’s report will relay the comments of those consulted and any other third parties, including neighbours. The report will recommend whether permission should be granted or refused.
5. The decision
The Council normally has eight weeks (or 13 weeks for major developments), ‘the statutory period’, in which to make a decision. This is not however an absolute deadline. For example, our target for Householder applications is for 75% to be determined withing the statutory period.
The majority of applications are determined under ‘delegated powers’. This means that the responsibility and power to make the decision has been passed to the Head of Planning and Building Control and his or her officers by Council members. Council officers follow a careful procedure with specific safeguards, which has been developed to ensure that applications are dealt with fairly, openly and transparently, with efficiency and where possible within the statutory timescale.
Applications may be considered by one of the three area Planning Committees covering the district (North, Central and South). Each Planning Committee meets every four weeks and considers applications for major developments or those ‘called in’ by councillors within the three-week call-in period. In addition, there is a Planning Referrals Committee, which considers applications of District-wide significance and applications made by the Council or Council employees and their close relatives. Please see Planning Committee Meetings for a full explanation of the call-in process and speaking at committee.
To find out if your application is going to be considered at Committee, please check the application regularly on the Council's website to see if a committee date has been allocated. If we receive a 'call-in' for your application, this will be published on our website with the other documents.
The agenda for each committee will also be published on our website one week prior to the Committee date. If you do not have easy access to the internet, you can telephone us on 01727 866100 one week prior to the relevant Committee date and ask if your application is going to be heard at Committee.
Date of last review: 20 February 2017
6. The Decision Notice
In the case of a refusal, you will be sent information on how to appeal the decision.