Determining planning applications

Find out how planning decisions are made

How planning decisions are made

Minerals, waste and county council development planning decisions are made in one of three ways:

  • by delegated authority
  • by our Development and Regulation Committee
  • under consideration by the Secretary of State

Delegated Authority

The full council can delegate powers to the Head of Planning Service. This allows the latter to exercise the council’s functions as a Local Planning Authority, except:

  • to approve a planning application that has received more than two public objections
  • where the Chairperson of the Development and Regulation Committee decides the Committee should hear an application
  • to approve a planning application accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment
  • to approve a ‘departure’ application (one that departs significantly from the Development Plan)

Development and Regulation Committee

Our Development and Regulation Committee considers planning applications that cannot be decided under delegated authority.

The committee meets on the fourth Friday of each month and is open to the press and public. It observes its own Development and Regulation protocol and another public speaking protocol.

View our Development and Regulations section for both protocols.

See our Calendar of Meetings for details of committee meetings and minutes. Agendas are published online at least five working days before the committee date.

Consideration by the Secretary of State

In some circumstances, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government can ‘call in’ a planning application for his own determination. This power is given under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. It can be exercised at any time up to the grant of planning permission.

Some planning applications must also be sent to the National Planning Casework Unit for review. See the Town and Country Planning (Consultation) (England) Direction 2024 for further details.

View the government’s Determining a Planning application section for guidance. This includes how long a decision can take.

Check the status of a planning application on our planning portal.

Planning conditions

Planning conditions can:

  • improve the quality of development
  • allow proposals, which might otherwise be refused, to proceed where a developer agrees to mitigate a development’s effects

Six tests of planning conditions

Planning conditions should be fair, reasonable and used to tackle specific problems. They should not be used generally or to impose unnecessary controls.

Six criteria exist to ensure their proper use. Conditions should be:

  • necessary
  • relevant to planning
  • relevant to the development to be permitted
  • enforceable
  • precise
  • reasonable in all other respects

View the government’s use of planning conditions guidance for a full explanation.

See our Minerals and Waste Specimen planning conditions (PDF, 375KB) for example conditions.