Privacy and planning services

Buckinghamshire Council’s planning service collects, uses and is responsible for certain personal information about you. When we collect personal information we are regulated under the UK General Data Protection Regulation and Data Protection Act 2018, and we are responsible as ‘data controller’ of that personal information.

If you have questions about data or privacy please contact our Data Protection Officer at Buckinghamshire Council, The Gateway, Gatehouse Road, Aylesbury, HP19 8FF or email [email protected].

The personal information we collect

Information collected by us

The work for which we collect personal information includes:

  • processing, determining and providing advice on planning applications, consents and notifications
  • investigation and resolution of breaches of planning control, responding to allegations of unlawful development
  • producing, reviewing and monitoring planning policy and guidance documents (these include local plans, neighbourhood plans and supplementary planning documents, and non-statutory supplementary planning guidance)
  • keeping registers such as the self-build and custom housebuilding register and brownfield land register
  • monitoring development
  • producing a housing and economic land availability assessment and, from time to time, undertaking a “call for sites” and other evidence-based reports as appropriate
  • collecting, spending and administering the community infrastructure levy

In order to fulfil these functions, it may be necessary that we collect the following personal information:

  • your name
  • your contact details, including telephone numbers and email address
  • your home address

At times, we may need you (or you may want) to supply other personal information such as your date of birth, marital status, gender, ethnic status, information on family members, medical, health or details on vulnerabilities and financial information regarding yourself or your existing or proposed business interests.

The type of information we collect will depend on the nature of the enquiry and we will never ask for more personal data than is necessary in order to deal with planning applications, your enquiry or your response on planning documents.

Information collected from other sources

To carry out the work for which we collect personal information we may also obtain personal information from:

  • other services within Buckinghamshire Council
  • other government partners and agencies
  • other third-party partners, including services for submitting planning applications (e.g. the Planning Portal)

How we use your personal information

In order to ensure that we are able to deliver the highest quality service to you, we use your personal information in the following ways:

  • for making decisions and providing advice on planning applications
  • for the purposes of making other management decisions, including the determination of planning applications, defending planning appeals, and producing planning agreements
  • entering legal agreements, serving notices and promoting the best use of land
  • for the purposes of the production, review and monitoring of planning policy documents, including local plans, SPDs and neighbourhood plans
  • for the purposes of undertaking a referendum in relation to a neighbourhood plan
  • for the purposes of keeping and updating registers, such as self-build and custom housebuilding registers and brownfield land registers

Who we share your personal information with

For planning applications, we will make details available online so that people can contribute their comments.

In order to carry out our services in an efficient way, we routinely share personal data with other service departments within Buckinghamshire Council, such as Planning, Electoral, Economic Development, Finance, Housing and Legal. We may also share personal data with other government partners and agencies, such as:

  • the District Valuer
  • Environment Agency
  • Historic England
  • Natural England

In relation to statutory plan making and planning application processing, we may share your personal data with independent planning inspectors and examiners. This data sharing enables us to ensure the best service is delivered.

We do not anticipate that our data transferring arrangements will involve a transfer outside of the UK’s Adequacy Regulations. We do not sell your information to other organisations. We will not share your personal information with any other third party.

On occasion we may be required to share personal information with other bodies in connection with the prevention of crime, criminal or legal investigations or proceedings including fraud (and the National Fraud Initiative) or regulatory functions (such as the Local Government Ombudsman). Where this occurs we will ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place.

Whether information has to be provided by you and, if so, why?

The provision of the personal data (as set out above) is required from you to enable us to deliver our services. We will inform you at the point of collecting information from you whether you are required to provide the information to us.

Failing to provide information may result in:

  • us not being able to consult with you or deal with a response you have made in relation to a draft planning policy document or planning application
  • you not being able to participate in a referendum in relation to a neighbourhood plan
  • you not being included on a register, such as self-build and custom housebuilding registers or brownfield land register
  • your views not being taken into account in development management decisions

How long your personal information will be kept

We will hold the personal data provided by you until the relevant matter is concluded and in accordance with our Data Retention Policy. In the case of planning policy documents, we may keep personal data until the relevant document is superseded. For auditing and accountability purposes we routinely hold information for a period of six years from conclusion or resolution of a matter, or longer if we have an obligation to retain this information.

For information on the statutory registers (e.g. planning decisions, approved plans, legal agreements), information is retained forever as we are required to do so by law.

Reasons for collecting and using your personal information

We rely on planning legislation (such as regulations relating to consultation on planning policy documents and the collection, administration and spending of CIL) as the lawful basis (Article 6(1)(c) we have a Legal Obligation) on which we collect and use your personal data.

We are required by law to make some information provided to us available on planning registers. This is a permanent record of our planning decisions that form part of the planning history of a site, along with other facts that form part of the “land search”. If we need to use your special category data, we can use it for/under:

  • Explicit consent
  • Legal claims or judicial acts
  • Archiving, research and statistics (with a basis in law)

Redaction (‘blanking things out’)

As a part of the process of determining planning applications, developing planning policies, neighbourhood plans, and other documents, we may be required to publish responses received to consultations. This will routinely include publishing your name and home address in our registers and on our on-line planning portal.

We operate a policy where we routinely redact the following details before making forms and documents available online:

  • personal contact details (eg telephone numbers and email addresses)
  • signatures
  • special category data (eg information about health conditions or ethnic origin)
  • information agreed to be confidential

If you are submitting information which you would like to be treated confidentially or wish to be specifically withheld from the public register, please let us know as soon as you can - ideally in advance of your submission.

The best way to contact us about this issue is by email:

a) For matters relating to planning applications at [email protected]

b) For matters relating to planning policy documents at [email protected]

Your rights

You have legal rights over your information. For details of those rights, see our corporate privacy policy. Your rights will differ depending on our basis for processing your data.

If you need to make a complaint specifically about the way we have processed your data, you should email us at [email protected].

You can also complain to the ICO if you remain unhappy with how we have used your data.