Planning process explained
The planning process can be confusing for those not familiar with submitting applications regularly or those wishing to participate as a support or objector to an application. This 2015 guide form DCLG gives the 'Plain English Guide to the Planning System’.
What happens to your application once it has been submitted?
The case officer will inspect the site and consult various organisations e.g. the highway authority on the application. Neighbours will be notified of it as will the relevant town/parish council and your ward councillor(s). If any further information is required or if the officer wishes to negotiate on the proposal then he/she will contact you or your agent.
The application will be considered in the context of relevant planning policies contained in the South Somerset Local Plan and any other material considerations. Material considerations cover a wide spectrum but could include such matters as visual impact, highway safety, loss of privacy and drainage issues.
The Council tries to decide most applications within 8 weeks. (Unless your application falls within the ‘major’ definition then the expectation is that it will be determined within 13 weeks). A decision on your application will be made either by the relevant Committee or by the Area Director under his delegated powers. If the application is considered by a Committee the Case Officer will prepare a report on it. You may see the application file and that report if you wish and you can attend the Committee meeting at which your application is discussed. Your application may be approved subject to conditions; please read these carefully and ensure that they are complied with within the relevant period.
If your application is refused or you feel conditions have been imposed on a permission granted which are unreasonable, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. Further details on how to appeal will be sent with the decision notice. Before lodging an appeal, however, we strongly suggest that you consider submitting a pre-application query. In some cases the submission of an application for an amended scheme may overcome the objection to your original application and so your need to appeal can be avoided.
You should also be aware you may need Building Regulations Consent.
You are strongly advised not to commence work on site until you have received all necessary consents and complied with all relevant conditions. Although there are a few exceptions, in most cases work which would alter the character of a listed building or work carried out to a tree covered by a tree preservation order is illegal without the necessary consent being obtained and could result in a heavy fine. Similarly, work carried out on a tree within a conservation area should not be commenced until the Council has had 6 weeks to react to a written notification of the works you intend to carry out.
More details can be found here
Scheme of Delegation
Decisions on Planning Applications in South Somerset are determined in line with the Council’s Scheme of Delegation, (this page) this explains how elected Councillors play a role and what decision can be delegated to officers in certain circumstances.
Planning can include a lot of jargon, so we have produced a glossary of terms used within planning spheres to aid your understanding.