Planning FAQs

Planning FAQs

Before a planning application is submitted

Do I need planning permission or building regulations approval?

Do I need planning permission?

Do I need Listed Building Consent?

Can I get written confirmation of whether I need planning permission?

What information do I need to submit with my planning application?

How do I research the planning history of my property?

Can you recommend a professional to help me with my application?

While a planning application is being considered

How long does it take to make a decision on a planning application?

How do you make a decision on a planning application?

How do I comment on a planning application?

Can I speak to a planning officer?

After a decision is made

What if I want to change my plans?

How do I comply with the conditions on my decision notice?

What can I do if I'm not happy with the decision?

How do I view appeals against planning decisions?

Do I need planning permission or building regulations approval?

Planning permission and building regulations are two separate things, both are generally required for building work or alterations to properties.

Building regulations set standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure the safety and health for people using those buildings. They also include requirements for the conservation of fuel and power and provision of disabled access.

Planning seeks to guide the way our towns, villages and countryside develop. Planning therefore controls the use of land and buildings, the appearance of buildings and their surroundings, highway access and the impact a development will have on the general environment.

For many types of building work, separate permission under both planning and building regulations will be required. Where building work only involves internal alterations, building regulations approval may only be needed.

If you are in any doubt which you need you can seek planning advice from us, your local planning authority, or contact your local building control body, such as Devon Building Control Partnership.

Do I need planning permission?

You’ll probably need planning permission if you want to:

  • build something new
  • make a change to your building, e.g. build an extension
  • change the use of your building or land

In some circumstances, permitted development rights allow certain types of work to take place without the need for planning permission, although these do not always apply in National Parks. The Planning Portal website contains excellent guidance so you can quickly find out whether you need planning permission for yourself.

With all building work, the owner of the property or land in question is ultimately responsible for complying with the relevant planning rules. Failure to comply with the relevant rules will result in the owner being liable for any remedial action (which could go as far as demolition and/or restoration). Always ensure you get any permissions you need before starting work. If necessary you can request planning advice from us.

Do I need Listed Building Consent?

Listed building consent is required for all works of demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

The requirement applies to all types of works and to all parts of those buildings covered by the listing protection, possibly including attached and curtilage buildings or other structures located in close proximity to the listed building.

Further information on whether listed building consent is required and what development proposals may be acceptable can be found on Historic England’s website.

If you need advice from our Building Conservation Officer on any plans you have for a listed building please fill in a request for planning advice.

What information do I need to submit with my planning application?

Your application must be made up of the following:

  • a completed application form
  • the correct fee
  • a site location plan and site plan
  • plans of the site which allow us to fully understand the proposals
  • any required supporting documentation set out in our local validation list

You can submit your planning application online via the Planning Portal.

Further advice on making a planning application and the details required to accompany it, can be found on our Planning Validation Checklist.

How do I research the planning history of my property?

Using our planning application search facility you can view the planning history of a site. Where applications or certain documents aren’t available, you can view them at our offices. If you would like to view documents at our offices please arrange a booking in advance.

Can you recommend a professional to help me with my application?

The skills of an architect and/or planning consultant can be invaluable in developing ideas and presenting information. However, before you appoint a consultant be sure they have experience in the type of development you are bringing forward. For example, if your project involves alterations to a listed building we would advise appointing a professional who specialises in conservation and heritage development.

As a public Authority we are unable to recommend a particular architect or planning consultant. You can however use the following directories to search for professionals in your area:

> The Architects’ Registration Board

> RTPI Directory of Planning Consultants

IHBC Historic Environment Service Providers

How long does it take to make a decision on a planning application?

We aim to make a decision on your application within 8 weeks, 13 weeks for a major application or 16 weeks if an environmental impact assessment is submitted, from the date the planning application is validated.

Sometimes, for example, if a lot of people are affected by the proposed development, it is very complicated or needs to be determined at the Development Management Committee, the Authority may have to extend this period. You will be notified of this in advance.

For further information on applications that go before the Development Management Commitee or are considered at a Site Inspection please refer to our Development Management Committee page.

How do you make a decision on a planning application?

Planning applications are assessed against national and local planning policy and guidance. When making a decision on a planning application, we must consider:

Government planning policy and guidance

> The local plan (COR and DMD policies)

> Supplementary planning documents (SPDs)

> Community and neighbourhood plans

> Site specific plans and masterplans

> Other ‘material considerations

Background evidence and research support policies of the local plan.

The elements of a development Officers are able to take into account when making a decision are called ‘material planning considerations’. Material considerations can include (but are not limited to):

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Parking
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic
  • Noise
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Government policy
  • Disabled persons' access
  • Proposals in the Development Plan
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Nature conservation

Issues such as loss of view, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material planning considerations.

How do I comment on a planning application?

Anybody can comment on a planning application, although we cannot accept anonymous comments. You can comment online by finding the relevant application using our planning application search facility.

When making a comment you should think carefully about whether the issues you raise are material planning considerations. Planning Officers will not be able to take into consideration any issues which are not material planning considerations.

You should not include any personal data about yourself that you would not wish to appear online.  You should also not include any personal information about any other individual, or anything that could be considered offensive, defamatory or discriminatory.  Any comments should focus on relevant planning issues, not personal circumstances.

You are responsible for any statements that you make, and any content that is considered to be unacceptable will be removed.

Please note that under the terms of the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, any correspondence on a planning application file can be made available to the applicant or other members of the public via the website.

Can I speak to a planning officer?

We are currently experiencing high demand on our service coupled with unexpected staff shortages. We are trying our best to meet all demands, however there may be unavoidable delays in responding.

As an interim measure we are currently unable to field general enquiries for householder/minor development/permitted development. We have updated our web pages to compensate and many simple enquiries are answered on this page. Please take a look before calling us.

If you still need to contact us please be aware that mornings are our busiest time. You may find it easier to call us after the lunch period. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

What if I want to change my plans?

New issues may arise after planning permission has been granted, which require the approved proposals to be modified. Where these modifications are fundamental to the planning application a new application will need to be submitted. Where less substantial changes are proposed, there are the following options for amending a proposal that has planning permission:

A non-material amendment can be made where the local planning authority are satisfied the matter is not material to the acceptability of the proposal.

An application can be made to vary or remove one or more of the conditions associated with a planning permission. This route can be used to make a minor material amendment where there is a relevant condition which can be varied, a further period of public consultation will be necessary.

You should discuss the amendment with your case officer who can advise how best to achieve the amendments you require.

You can apply to amend your permission online via the Planning Portal.

How do I comply with the conditions on my decision notice?

There may be conditions placed on your decision notice that require you to have samples, further drawings or assessment work approved by us before works can commence, for example a roof slate sample or detailed door and window drawings. The process of ‘discharging’ these conditions is a formal application in its own right which requires the submission of a form and a fee.

The target time period for determining these applications is 8 weeks, but we try to issue decisions far sooner.

We would rather samples are not posted as we are not able to return them. It is possible to show your samples to case officers at our offices. Please arrange a convenient time with your case officer prior to visiting.

What can I do if I’m not happy with the decision?

If your planning application has been refused or has been approved with conditions you aren't happy with, you should always speak to us in the first case.

It may be that an amended application with some changes will be accepted – in which case you can use the Planning Portal to amend and resubmit your application – in many cases for no additional cost.

On average only about one appeal in three is successful, according to the Planning Inspectorate's records. This rate has remained broadly constant over many years.

If, after discussing your case with us, you do not agree with the planning decision you have received you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. You can submit a planning appeal online, which is usually the easiest way of submitting an appeal. To do so you will need visit the Appeals Casework Portal, which is managed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Further information about the appeal process, the timeframes decisions are issued and the costs involved can be found on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

How do I view appeals against planning decisions?

You can use the Planning Inspectorate’s Appeals Casework Portal to search for current or recent appeals.

Please be aware that not all documents are necessarily published. Where they aren’t available, you can view them on our online application search facility or at our offices. If you would like to view documents at our offices please arrange a booking in advance.