Making a planning application

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Making a planning application

Before you make your application, you might want to get some pre-application advice from a planning officer, who will provide informal advice on what might be considered acceptable to the Local Planning Authority. Alternatively, you could check if your proposal conforms to the policies in the Local Development Plan.

Application forms can be downloaded from this website. There is a separate application form, help/guidance note and validation checklist for each type of application. Applications may also be submitted electronically via the Planning Portal  Once the application has been submitted, the Development Management section of the Planning Department will deal with your application. Please see What Happens to Your Application for full details.

Completing an application

If the application is complicated, consider engaging a professional architect or designer who will organise submission and negotiation on your behalf. If you are considering employing an architect ensure they are registered with the Architects’ Registration Board –the government body which maintains the Register listing every architect in the UK.

  • Before you submit an application, seek advice from the planning pages on the Council's website or the Planning Portal at www.planningportal.gov.uk.
  • Pre-application meetings can be arranged - there is a charge for these meetings based on the size and scale of the proposal. For householder applications (extensions, loft conversions etc), we offer a 30 minute meeting with a written advice letter or written advice without a meeting. See Householder Pre-application Advice.
  • Visit your neighbours and show them the plans. This can often avoid conflict at a later stage.
  • Ensure that all the information requested on the form and the relevant validation checklist is supplied.
  • Supply any extra information or amended drawings speedily upon request to avoid delays.

Please note a planning application cannot be processed until all the necesary supporting information and the correct fee is received.

After submitting a plannning application, what happens next?

Once we receive an application, we check it to ensure that it has been completed correctly (with all the necessary supporting information and correct fee). When the application is in order, we will send out a formal acknowledgement stating the reference number.

If an agent has submitted an application on your behalf, all correspondence will be sent direct to him or her. For full details of the process, please see What happens to your application.

If your application is going to be considered at Committee, you are welcome to attend and listen to the proceedings. You will also have the opportunity to speak if you wish, but must register your wish to do so on the day of the committee meeting by calling 01727 866100 between 10am and 2.30pm. You will be given three minutes to state your case. An objector may also do the same, but there can only be one speaker for and one against each application. Speakers may share the three-minute slot by mutual agreement.

Concurrent Builds

If you and your neighbour are applying for planning permission to carry out building work to both your properties, the Planning Department may consider that the work will only comply with the requirements of the Local Development Plan if both developments are carried out and completed simultaneously. This normally means that unless the developments are completed together there will be issues surrounding light and amenity to the neighbours. You will be asked to complete a concurrent build section 106 obligation. This is a signed agreement that you and your neighbours will build your respective developments at the same time. Further information can be found in the Guidance Notes for Concurrent Builds below. The draft Section 106 template can also be downloaded from below.

Care of trees on development sites

Trees within development sites are vulnerable to damage in two areas:

  1. The trunk and branches making up the crown of the tree can be damaged by demolition and construction vehicles.
  2. The roots are often overlooked are easily damaged by ground compaction and excavations. 

Ground compaction is the most common form of damage and leads to trees declining or dying within a few years after a development has been completed.

In order to assist you in the correct tree protection methods when building near trees and to help you to comply with your planning conditions, St Albans District Council has produced the fact sheet below to give you advice and guidance in caring for trees on development sites.

Planning obligations

Section 106 agreements/undertakings or planning obligations are legal agreements between the Council and a developer to ensure that certain extra works related to the development are undertaken.

They are most widely used to support transport and education infrastructure, environmental improvements and affordable housing, to mitigate the impacts of development.

In addition to the Council's Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing, we will:

  1. Look at the Viability Appraisal as an Open Book assessment.
  2. Publish a copy of the Financial Viability Assessment/Appraisal on the Council's website.
  3. Include a clause in Section 106 Agreements requiring a review of the viability situation within a defined timeframe.
Date of last review: 29 November 2016