What happens to your application
The following is a guide to the planning application process.
The Planning Application Process
1. Validation and registration Toggle accordion
When we receive an application it will be checked to ensure that:
the plans are clear, to metric scale and show the existing situation and proposed works;
the forms and certificate of ownership have been properly completed and that the owner and/or leaseholder of the property has been notified;
all other requirements specified in the validation checklist have been submitted;
the correct fee has been paid.
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
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.
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.
If we need more information, we will write to your planning agent (if you have one). We ask for this information to be supplied within 14 days. 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 we have all the information needed, we will write to your planning agent with the:
name of the planning officer dealing with your application;
application number (you can use this to check progress online under 'Application Status');
the date by which we aim to make the decision (for changes check online).
Please note that where an architect or surveyor (your planning agent) is employed to act on behalf of an applicant, all communications will be with the agent.
2. Consultations and advertisements Toggle accordion
We ask for two types of comments on an application:
Technical - such as Historic England or Hertfordshire Highways, or other Council departments, such as Environmental Compliance.
Local - we often write and ask for the views of neighbours. In these cases we write to adjoining neighbours and sometimes those opposite.
All consultation responses are put on our website.
Some applications have to have a notice put in the local newspaper and in the street. These site notices are posted on or near the application site. In most cases the Council does this, but in some cases this is the applicant's responsibility.
3. Site visit Toggle accordion
The planning officer dealing with an application will often make a visit to the application site. The applicant does not need to be there for the visit. Appointments are not usually made unless there are problems with access.
At the visit, the officer will check that the relevant neighbours have been consulted. The officer will assess the impact of the proposals on neighbouring properties and the area. Usually the planning officer does not visit the neighbours.
4. Planning officer review Toggle accordion
The planning officer will contact the planning agent if more information or changes are needed to the application. We will also contact them with any questions or updates during the process. You can check progress on the application by speaking to your agent or checking progress online.
When amendments will be accepted on pending planning applications
Amendments to current planning applications will not normally be accepted where this would delay the decision of the application beyond Government targets.
For householder and minor applications, you may still be able to make amendments using our new Planning Application Amendment Service.
The planning officer may discuss with the agent the need for a legal agreement or planning obligation. These Section 106 obligations are legal agreements between the Council and a developer to ensure that extra works related to the development are undertaken.
They are most widely used to get transport, education and environmental improvements and affordable housing, to mitigate the impacts of development.
In addition to the Council's Supplementary Planning Guidance on affordable housing and toolkit, we will:
Look at the Viability Appraisal as an Open Book assessment.
Publish a copy of the Financial Viability Assessment/Appraisal online.
Include a clause in Section 106 Agreements requiring a review of the viability situation within a defined timeframe.
5. Officer’s report Toggle accordion
The planning officer will assess the application. They will write a summary report looking at:
Local Plan policy;
Any past history on that site or similar applications;
Standards such as neighbours’ daylight, visibility near roads and junctions, and car parking.
Comments from technical consultees;
Any comments or views from neighbours.
The report will include a recommendation whether permission should be granted or refused and why.
6. The decision Toggle accordion
Most applications are decided by senior planning officers. All comments, including those from neighbours, have to be considered carefully before a decision is made.
Some applications are considered by the Planning Committee, which meets every three weeks. Please see Planning Committee Meetings for which applications go to committee, the call-in process and speaking at committee.
To find out if your application is going to be considered at Committee, please check progress online. If we receive a 'call-in', this will be published online.
The agenda for each committee will also be published on our website one week prior to the Committee date. If you do not have easy access to the internet, you can telephone us on 01727 866100 one week prior to the relevant Committee date and ask if your application is going to be heard at Committee.
After permission is granted
Getting planning permission is not the end of the planning process. Please go to our page After permission is granted.