Statement of Community Involvement (SCI)

Last updated: 15 October 2021

Planning for new development

We are responsible for determining planning applications, this includes applications for:

  • changes to your home;
  • new houses and businesses;
  • changing a building from one use to another;
  • new schools, roads, pathways and infrastructure; and
  • new sites for minerals and waste developments.

We are not responsible for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs), such as changes to the motorway, HS2, East-West Rail, etc. More information on these can be found on the GOV.UK website.

How we make decisions on planning applications

What we must consider

Decisions on planning applications must be made in line with the Development Plan (Local Plans, Neighbourhood Plans, etc.), unless there are ‘material considerations’ that indicate otherwise.

Material considerations can include but are not limited to:

Anything relevant to making the decision can be a material planning consideration, however in general it relates to matters in the public interest rather than private matters (for example the value of an adjoining property would not be a material consideration.)

How long we have to decide

The time periods for determination are set out in law.

The time limit is usually:

8 weeks for most planning applications

13 weeks for ‘major’ (larger) developments

16 weeks for applications that need an Environmental Impact Assessment.

If more time is needed to determine an application, an ‘extension of time’ can be privately agreed between the planning officer and the applicant.

If we fail to determine the application in time, the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State against ‘non-determination’.

More information on how applications are determined is set out on the GOV.UK website.

How and when we will involve you in the planning application process

The council offers a range of discretionary planning advice services, to help people understand whether they need planning permission, and what information they need to provide. We encourage site promoters to be open about their proposals, but it is up to the site promoter to agree whether these discussions can be made public.

Please note that the content of this Statement of Community Involvement does not relate to HS2 planning applications as these applications are dealt with under different legislation.

Before the application is submitted

We will:

  • encourage applicants to consult the community where relevant

We may:

  • liaise with town and parish councils and local Community Boards, where relevant

Once the application is submitted

We will:

  • make planning applications and the supporting documentation available to view on our website
  • consult upon applications as set out in law
  • notify town or parish councils of relevant applications in their area, inviting comments
  • notify neighbourhood forums with a ‘made’ neighbourhood plan of relevant applications in their area, inviting comments
  • for most types of application, either:
    • display a planning notice on or near the application site; or
    • post letters to neighbours adjoining the application site.

We are currently reviewing our approach here and an outcome of this review will be to provide a Neighbour Consultation Procedure Note. This will set out the council’s approach to the use of planning notices, neighbour letters and any other measures we plan to use to ensure local people have an opportunity to take part in consultation on applications in an inclusive way.

We may:

  • publish a press notice
  • consult with other organisations such as the Environment Agency, Natural England etc. where applicable
  • encourage people to set up notifications for applications through the council’s website
  • publicise a weekly list of planning applications via public channels

During the determination process

We will:

  • publish relevant documents on our website as soon as practicable
  • invite comments on applications, which we are happy to receive by letter, email, or through our website
  • consider the issues raised in response to the application
  • if the application is considered at Planning Committee, provide applicants, town and parish council representatives, and those who have commented on a planning application, an opportunity to register to speak at Planning Committee

Due to the volume of representations received it is simply not possible to acknowledge or enter into correspondence regarding all the representations submitted. You can however be assured that all relevant matters raised are fully taken into account.

Representations from local people are very important in highlighting material planning considerations. Then ultimately applications are determined in accordance with current legislation, development plan policy and all the material considerations identified.

After we have made a decision

We will:

  • publish the decision notice and officer report on our website
  • Inform the applicant of the decision, usually by email
  • publish any relevant appeal documents on our website or on the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) website

If the planning decision has been appealed

If the applicant does not agree with our decision they have the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, in these cases anyone can submit comments directly to PINS for consideration.

More information on how to comment on appeals can be found on the GOV.UK website.