The decision-making process

How applications are processed

On receipt of a planning application, the local planning authority (LPA) will firstly check the application to determine whether it’s complete.

A valid application comprises:

  • Information requested on the standard application form
  • Mandatory national information requirements, including a design and access statement if one is required
  • Information specified on an LPA’s local list.

The above items are discussed in detail in our Making an application section.

Once a planning application has been received, accompanied by all the necessary information, it should be validated as soon as is reasonably practicable. The LPA should then start the determination process. Notification should be given to the applicant in writing.

Once an application has been deemed valid and the determination process commences, the application is placed on the planning register and given an application reference number.

Normally, most minor and small-scale applications should be validated within three to five working days from the date of receipt. Major applications should be validated within ten working days.

Invalid applications

If a planning application is deemed invalid, the LPA should notify the applicant of their reasons in writing, unless it is clear that the omissions could be addressed rapidly, in which case it may be more efficient to telephone or email the applicant.

Local planning authorities should only request supporting information that is relevant, necessary and material to the application in question. If an applicant disagrees with a decision not to validate a planning application on the basis that the information requested is unnecessary, he or she should follow this up with the local authority in question.

If the applicant is unable to resolve the dispute with the local authority in question there is a procedure set out in Article 12 of The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 to resolve such disputes. If necessary an applicant can, after the statutory time period for determining the application has expired, appeal against non-determination. In considering such an appeal the inspector will consider both the dispute regarding invalidity and the merits of the application itself.

Find out more about making an appeal.