Making an application
Before you make a planning application
1. Draw up your plans
An architect or surveyor to draw up your plans and make the application for you. Check they are registered with a recognised professional body:
2. Check the consents needed and get pre-application advice
You can get pre-application advice from a planning officer. They will let you know what might be acceptable.
3. Visit your neighbours and show them the plans
This can often avoid conflict at a later stage.
Are you and your neighbour thinking about carrying out building work to both your properties? You can apply together. Sometimes the works will impact on light and amenity unless they are built at the same time. In these cases, you will be asked to sign an agreement that you and your neighbours will build at the same time (a Concurrent Build Section 106 Agreement).
4. Check for nearby protected trees and wildlife
If trees could be damaged by vehicles, ground compaction (from driving or storage) or excavations, check our advice on Trees within development sites
Use the Wildlife Assessment Tool to check if you could require ecological advice before making a planning application.
5. Think about sustainable design
Could you reduce your use of energy and water potentially making long term savings? More advice about be found at Building Futures across a range of aspects such as climate change adaptation, design, and landscape and biodiversity.
The Council's Sustainability section on our website also provides tips and advice on sustainability.
6. Speak to your Local District Councillor
Often they can give you general advice on the process or speak on your behalf.
However, councillors who sit on a planning committee can only make up their minds on the works when they make a decision on the application.
7. Check the information we need
There are different types of planning application. There is a separate application form, help/guidance note and validation checklist for each type of application. Applications can be submitted online.
In most cases, we need:
completed application form (including ownership certificate);
the information requested on the validation checklist;
Please note that the information supplied, including Planning Statements or Design and Access Statements, will be published on our website (with any signatures and personal telephone and email details redacted) as part of the Council’s planning register. Our processes are electronic, therefore hard copies of plans and reports are not kept for the lifetime of the application. If documents submitted are originals and you wish for them to be returned, please ensure a covering letter is supplied on submission of the documents to clearly state this.
If you include any sensitive personal data e.g. medical information or health details, details about your children, education details where a name identifies the child, details of any criminal convictions, in your statement or accompanying documents, this information WILL appear on the website. By submitting a statement with that sensitive personal data in it, you are giving CONSENT for this information to go into the public domain.
However, if you need to supply such information in support of your application, and you wish it to remain confidential, this should be supplied in a separate document clearly marked confidential, which we can withhold from publication.
8. Complete your application and send it to us
When we receive your application, we check it to ensure we have everything we need. If we do, we will send out a letter stating the reference number. You can track progress on your application online using this number.
If we do not, we will ask for more information. We cannot process an application until all the necessary information and the correct fee are received.
From 01 August 2023 postal or paper applications will attract a charge of £53.33 plus VAT which must be paid before an application can be processed. Please pay online at https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/pay-online-planning
From 1 September 2020, if an application is made that fails to meet our validation requirements, an invalid application charge will be made. If the information required to make the application valid is not received within 14 days of a written request for further information, we will dispose of the application. We will also deduct a charge of £25 for householders, £75 for minor/other applications and £175 for major applications from the planning fee submitted before returning the balance.
If an architect or surveyor has submitted an application on your behalf, all correspondence will be sent to them. We will also contact them with any questions or updates during the process.
9. How long does it take to obtain consent?
At present, our current average timescales are
- Householder applications - 18 weeks
- Minor applications (e.g. 1 to 9 new homes) - 18 weeks
10. What happens next?
Please see What Happens to Your Application for full details.