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Planning help and guidance

Data retention policies

  • Applicant or agent name and address - Indefinite (part of planning register)
  • Applicant or agent telephone number - 6 years from the date of decision
  • Applicant or argent email address - 6 years from the date of decision
  • Local resident name (comments on applications) - 3 years from the date of decision
  • Local resident telephone number (comments on applications) - 3 years from the date of decision
  • Local resident email address (comments on applications) - 3 years from the date of decision

How to view planning applications

All planning applications made to the Council from 1974 onwards are viewable using our the planning register.

How to retrieve planning application records

Using the simple search box:

Planning simple search

You can retrieve applications using:

  • keyword (e.g. "annex")
  • reference number (e.g. 15/00001/FUL)
  • Postcode, or
  • the first line of the address

If more than one result is returned these will be listed as follows:

Planning simple search results

Click on the green description text to open the record you wish to view.

How to view associated documents

Every application record will have documents associated with it, these might be:

  • the application form
  • relevant plans and drawings
  • the decision notice (where application has been determined)

To view these first ensure you have retrieved the relevant application record.

  • Click on the "Documents" tab
  • Click on "View Associated Documents".

This will open up a new window displaying all documents associated with this application.

How to view associated documents
View the documents associated with this application

To open each document click the blue underlined reference number in the row for that document. All documents are published in PDF format which should open in most modern web browsers. If you are unable to view documents we recommend you try opening them in either Adobe Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader.

If you are still having difficulties please contact us:

How to comment on a planning application

If you have heard about a new planning application submitted that you think may affect you can submit comments on it providing that it is still open for public consultation. Comments must be made in writing for them to be taken into consideration.

Before making comments you should:

  • View the details of the application using our planning register
  • Familiarise yourself with the kinds of issues that the planning case officer can take into consideration
  • Be aware that any comments you make will be held on a public file and will be available to anyone, including the applicant.

To submit comments

To submit your comments on a planning application: 

  • Go to the planning register and retrieve the relevant planning application record using the reference number or site address.
  • Click on the "Comments" tab
  • Complete the Make a Comment form and click Submit

Please note that you must provide your postal address when making comments. Comments received without a postal address will not be taken into consideration.

How to comment on a planning application

What is taken into account when considering planning applications

In considering planning applications, the Council first looks at the agreed Development Plan and then any other "material planning considerations".

Development Plan

The Development Plan sets out the Council's policies and proposals for the development and use of land. This includes the improvement of the physical environment for the next 10 years or so. If the application is in accordance with the Plan, then permission should be granted, unless material planning considerations dictate differently.

The Development Plan is updated periodically. Planning Services can give up-to-date advice and the Development Plan can be viewed online.

Who deals with comments on Planning Applications

All comments for or against applications are dealt with by the planning case officer for that particular application. In the majority of cases, where applications are dealt with by the Planning & Environmental Protection Committee, the case officer will summarise your comments to the elected Councillors in their officer report.

You may give Committee Members copies of your views, but the Councillors must not comment on them, or enter into correspondence about them, before taking a decision. They must be completely impartial until the Committee debates the full details of the application.

How to register for notifications on planning applications

Our Planning and Building planning register lets you register and receive notifications by email of any new applications received by the Council that meet the criteria of any search you have saved.

Register an account

  • Go to the registration page or click on the register button at the top of the planning register page.
  • Complete the form, providing your name and email address etc.
  • When the registration steps are complete a confirmation email will be sent to the email address provided.
  • Retrieve the email and click on the link provided
  • Log in to the Online Register using your email address and password

Create and save search criteria

To receive notifications you need to specify criteria for the system to check. The following example shows how to save a search that alerts you to all applications received in the parish of Barnack between specified dates.

  • Ensure that you are logged in to the Online Register
  • Click on the Advanced Search tab
  • Select "Barnack" from the drop down list for Parish
  • Enter a date into the "Date Validated" field - you will need to enter a date in the past into this field as the system will not let you save a search unless it has received at least one result.
  • Set a future date into the "to" field - this will be the date that the search ceases to operate on.
  • Click Search
  • On the search results page you should see a "Save Search" button to the top right of the page.
  • Click "Save Search"
  • Edit the search title is necessary
  • Select "Yes" for Notify me via email about new search results.
  • Click Save

Create a map based search

The Online Register also lets you save a search based on an area on the map. To do this:

  • Ensure that you are logged in to the Online Register
  • Click on the Map Search tab
  • Zoom and navigate to the area you wish to use as the centre of you search (unfortunately there is no zoom to property address feature on this map)
  • Click Enable filter
  • Select which layers you wish to display e.g. Planning > Application
  • In the bottom right you can specify the area of search around the centre of the map e.g. 50m, 100m etc.
  • If you click the "show on map" option the area of search will be displayed
  • When you are happy with the area selected click "save a circular search"
  • Edit the search title is necessary
  • Select "Yes" for Notify me via email about new search results.
  • Click Save

Search results are published at 6pm every evening.

You can save multiple searches on the system following the steps above.

Removing a search

To remove a saved search: 

  • Ensure that you are logged in to the Online Register
  • Click on the My Profile tab
  • Select "Saved Searches" from the drop down
  • A list of saves searches will be displayed
  • Click on the red Stop button to delete the search entry 

How to view appeals against planning decisions

Appeals made against the Council's decision to refuse planning permission, impose conditions or serve a planning enforcement notice are dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate. The Planning Inspectorate is an independent body that has the power to reconsider the Council's decision on an application.

The Planning Inspectorate now has its own online Casework Portal.

You will need to use the Planning Inspectorate's own reference number to search this system - the original planning application reference number will not work.

Planning Inspectorate reference numbers typically have a format like "APP/J0540/A/11/2153833/NWF". You will only need to enter the last 7 numbers highlighted bold in the example.

Planning services also maintain a register of all appeals made to us, you can view them on the planning register.

How to search for an appeal

Using the simple search option:

  • Ensure that you are searching for Appeals
  • Enter the address or post code of the property into the Search field and click Search

Please note that these search results show the appeal record not the actual planning application or enforcement notice record. There will be no documents associated with these records. To view documents you must view the related planning or enforcement record. 

Planning appeals search

Once you have opened the relevant appeal record you can navigate to the related case(s) by doing the following: 

  • Click the Related Cases tab
  • Locate and click the relevant related case from either the Planning Applications or Enforcement Notices section.

How to view associated documents

Appeal documents will be added to the original application, these might be:

  • the appeal application form
  • appeal start letter
  • the Inspectorate's decision

To view these first ensure you have retrieved the relevant application record then:

  • Click on the "Documents" tab
  • Click on "View Associated Documents".

This will open up a new window displaying all documents associated with this application.

To open each document click the blue underlined reference number in the row for that document.

How to view planning appeals associated documents
Select which associated document to view

What are "Material Planning Considerations"

These vary from application to application, but generally include:

  • The adopted policies of the Development Plan (The Development Plan is made up of several different documents).
  • Relevant planning legislation, Circulars and other Central Government Guidance on planning issues.
  • Relevant Planning Appeal decisions
  • Advice from specialists and bodies consulted on applications, such as highway and drainage engineers and the Environment Agency.
  • Supplementary Planning Guidance, such as Village Design Statements.
  • Other agreed Council strategies, policies and plans.
  • The number, size, layout, siting, design and external appearance of buildings.
  • Impact on the neighbourhood of an area. Would the proposal harm the character or amenity of the area?
  • Impact on the amenities of adjoining properties in terms of privacy, and daylight, e.g. overshadowing or overlooking. If you feel you have a 'right to light', you may wish to take private legal advice, but this is not a matter that the Local Planning Authority can take into account.
  • The effect on traffic, road access and visibility, parking and highway safety.
  • The loss of public view.
  • The appropriateness of the proposed land use, e.g. the conversion of a house in a quiet residential street to a shop or restaurant.

Comments on other types of application

  • Comments on matters such as Listed Building Consent must relate to the character of the building and effect of the work to be undertaken.
  • Comments on Certificates of Lawful Use and Development (Existing and Proposed) can only be made on the facts (evidence) of the case, not on its planning merits.

How to view a Planning Enforcement Notice

As a local authority, we regularly investigate alleged breaches of planning legislation. Where necessary, we will undertake formal enforcement action against to ensure compliance with the law. Only cases where a formal enforcement notice has been served are made public.

You can search the planning register for details of ongoing enforcement notices:

How to search for an enforcement notice

Using the simple search option:

  • Ensure that you are searching for "Enforcements"
  • Enter the address or post code of the property into the Search field and click Search
How to view a planning enforcement notice

How to view associated documents

The Enforcement Notice will be available from the Documents section.

To view this first ensure you have retrieved the relevant record then:

  • Click on the "Documents" tab
  • Click on "View Associated Documents".

This will open up a new window displaying all documents associated with this application.

To open each document click the blue underlined reference number in the row for that document.

How to view a list of planning enforcement associated documents
How to view planning enforcement associated documents

How to research the planning history of a property

The modern planning system was established by the Town and Country Planning Act 1947 which came into effect on the 1 July 1948. From this date planning permission has been required from the Local Planning Authority for any development of land.

Development pre-1948

The requirement to obtain planning permission was established on 1 July 1948, as such there will be no planning records before this date. Everything built before this date is treated as an existing/original building for the purposes of planning.

Development between 1948 and 1974

These records are presently not held in a digital format. You can only view these plotting sheets at our offices. These sheets are currently archived so if you wish to view them you will need to contact us and arrange an appointment.

Development between 1974 and 2000

Textual records from 1974 to 2000 are available from the Planning and Building planning register. However records for this period may not have been fully checked for accuracy in terms of the mapped polygon or property address. Planning Services are currently in the process of working through these records but the scale of this project means that it could be some time before this is complete. You will therefore need to use the plotting sheets alongside the Online Register.

Development from 2000 onwards

From 2000 onwards planning applications were recorded directly into the Council's electronic database and so to find planning history from 2000 onwards you will need to use the property search option on the planning register.

Using the planning register

To see the planning history on your property follow the steps below:

  • Open a property search on the planning register
  • Enter your property address (e.g. 90 Vere Road) and click search
  • Click on the "Property History" tab
  • Check records will appear under their relevant headings e.g. Planning Applications, Planning Appeals etc.

In addition to these steps it is recommended that you also use the Map search feature on the Online Register as it is possible that not all applications have been directly registered against the same address point e.g. the planning permission(s) that resulted in the construction of your house would have been registered before your property address was created. There will however be a mapped area covering your property for this application.

  • From the property search screen click "Map" or start a new Map Search
  • Navigate and zoom to you property (unfortunately there is no address search feature on the map)
  • Click the "Enable filter" option to the right of the map
  • Select "All from 1st January 2000" from the drop down list
  • Tick the layer you wish to show e.g. Planning > Application
  • New edges will appear on the map (Planning applications are red)
  • Click any point on the map to reveal which applications cover that point, where there are multiple applications you can cycle through these using the arrows at the top of the pop-up box.
  • Click Application Details to view the application record and any Associated Documents.

To check mapped planning history for before 1 January 2000 you will need to use the Plotting sheets.

Using the plotting sheets

  • Locate and open the relevant map sheet using the index map and table at the top of the Plotting sheets page.
  • Located the grid square that includes your site.
  • Open the relevant plotting sheet(s) for each date period available.
  • Find the site you are interested in on each sheet and make a note of any reference numbers that appear to relate to that site.
  • Using your list of reference numbers search the Planning and Building Online Register to view any associated documents such as the decision notice relevant plans and drawings.

Getting help

You can ask Planning Services to carry out a Planning history search for you. We aim to return search results to you within 10 working days. Fees are charged by the hour with an initial baseline charge.

If you would like us to conduct a search on your property please contact us.

The stages of a planning application


Before an application can be registered we must check whether we have all the information we need. To do this we will look at the nature of the proposal and compare what has been submitted against the requirements published on our validation checklist which can be viewed on the "Apply for Planning and Building regulations" page.

If during this stage the application is found to be invalid we will contact the applicant/agent to request that the required information be provided. 

The application will be deemed valid from the date all the correct required information is received.

Registration and scanning

Once the application has been validated, it will be registered, allocated to a planning officer and scanned.

Details of the application will appear on our Online Register at this point. Associated documents will appear on the website at around 7pm that evening.


We will consult with neighbours, the parish council and other organisations depending on the details of the proposal. The minimum consultation period set out in planning legislation is 21 calendar days.


We will assess your application against local and national policies and guidance and look at the planning history of the site (if any). A planning officer will visit the site to assess the impact of the proposed development. We will also consider potential traffic problems, the effect on amenity (quality of life for neighbours) and the impact the proposal may have on the appearance of the surrounding area.


Planning legislation sets target determination periods for planning applications, these are:

  • 8 weeks for the majority of applications
  • 13 weeks for an application for a major development or
  • 16 weeks if an environmental impact assessment is submitted

These periods run from the date a valid application has been received (date validated). Where it is not going to be possible to determine the application within the statutory target period the case officer may agree an extension of time with the applicant.

What is meant by major development

"Major development" means development involving any one or more of the following:

  • the winning and working of minerals or the use of land for mineral-working deposits;
    waste development;
  • the provision of dwelling houses where -
    (i) the number of dwelling houses to be provided is 10 or more; or
    (ii) the development is to be carried out on a site having an area of 0.5 hectares or more and it is not known whether the development falls within sub-paragraph (c)(i);
  • the provision of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created by the development is 1,000 square metres or more; or
    development carried out on a site having an area of 1 hectare or more