Attention
We are currently asking people to only come into our offices for essential visits. Where possible, people should contact us by phone or email or through our website.
For up-to-date information about our services and links to useful advice, see our Coronavirus page

The application process

These are the key stages of how an application is considered and the associated timescales.

We aim to determine householder applications within six weeks and the majority of other planning applications within the statutory eight weeks. Major applications, such as large housing developments, are usually determined within 13 weeks, or 16 weeks where an Environmental Impact Assessment has been submitted.

If we are unlikely to meet these targets we will let the applicant know why. See our Planning Service Standards for more details about the service you can expect from us.

Development Management Planning

In light of the further announcement on 16 April regarding ongoing controls in relation to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, the Council will be amending how we manage the determination of planning applications in order to be able to support the economy while practicing social distancing and safeguarding measures.

  • Applications will be validated and allocated to an officer as usual.
  • Officers will only be carrying out site visits where it is essential to be able to assess the proposal and other methods have been explored (i.e. the use of aerial photography, street view, previous records or photographs from the applicant). Officers will only go onto the application site where this has previously been arranged with the applicant and with their consent
  • From 27 April 2020 where there is a statutory requirement to display a site notice this will be undertaken. We will practice social distancing, minimise the number of officers who will undertake this and will use appropriate protective equipment to minimise risk.
  • Neighbour notification letters and consultations required for each application will be sent out as usual.

The statutory requirement to post a site notice includes applications that affect the character or appearance of a conservation area or the setting of a listed building; that are a ‘major application’ i.e. 10 or more dwellings or 1000sqm or more for non-residential; where the application is contrary to the Development Plan; that are accompanied by an Environmental Statement; that affect a public right of way; or are submitted by the Council.  The Council will also advertise by site notice when the proposal is directly adjacent to land where the landowner’s address is unknown i.e. agricultural land.   In order to minimise the number of journeys to erect the required site notices it is likely that there will be a delay in the Council being able to determine the application.

The Council will be seeking in the above scenarios, as is recommended by government and is usual practice, to agree an extension of time with the applicant for a revised date in which to determine the application by. The Case officer for each application will contact applicants individually in this respect and we trust that applicants and agents will work with the Council and be cooperative with this approach.

Town / Parish councils will continue to be consulted and in most instances have the ability to comment on planning applications without the need to convene a meeting.  However Town / Parish Councils are advised to contact the case officer should they be unable to comment on an applications in the required 21 day period or do not have appropriate constitutional arrangements in place to do so. We will of course, as always, consider requests for further time for Town / Parish Councils to comment on a case by case basis depending on the particular circumstances of each application.

We are reliant on responses from statutory consultees in most instances in order to determine a planning application. We may experience a delay in responses and again the case officer will keep applicants and agents updated.

In respect of contact with the case officer/the council offices during this period, as you will appreciate the majority of staff are working remotely and email contact in the first instance is suggested and preferred, however we do have phone cover and will do all we can to help you on the first point of contact or ask the case officer to contact you directly.

Whilst we are working hard to maintain our usual efficient service, as we are working in different ways to respond to the restrictions of Coronavirus at this time, you may experience a delay.  The Case officer will be in touch with you to discuss implications on individual applications.

The Development Management Committee will be a held in a virtual format and further details about how this will be held can be seen below under "The decision process".

Please note that this procedure will be kept under review in light of any further updates and changes from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Enforcement

In the current climate, we are operating at a reduced staffing level. Assessments of the breach you have reported may take longer than normal. We may request further information from you to aid in the investigation; such as photographs or measurements.

We are not carrying out site visits at this time unless there is a specific urgent matter and we will consider this on a case by case basis.

In respect of contact with the case officer/the council offices during this period, as you will appreciate the majority of staff are working remotely and email contact in the first instance is suggested and preferred, however we do have office cover and will do all we can to help you on the first point of contact or ask the case officer to contact you directly.

Whilst we are working hard to maintain our usual efficient service, as we are working in different ways to respond to the restrictions of Coronavirus at this time, you may experience a delay. The Case officer will be in touch with you to discuss implications on individual applications and enforcement complaints.

The Government has introduced some new legislation that came into force on the 24 March and is in place until the 23 Marc 2021. This allows Class A3 restaurants and cafes and other Class A4 Drinking uses to expand without planning permission for the provision of takeaway foods. More on this can be found at legislation.gov.uk. The Government has also advised that local planning authorities should use their discretion on the enforcement of planning conditions which hinder the effective response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Hours of working on construction sites

The Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government issued a ministerial statement on 13 May 2020.  It made clear that with immediate effect, local planning authorities should take 'a swift and positive approach to requests from developers and site operators for greater flexibility around construction site working hours'. Broadland and South Norfolk Councils want to do everything possible to support the economic recovery of the country and see the construction industry getting back to work as a key priority.

It is the Councils' view that it is essential that the impact any temporary relaxation of working hours could have on local residents and businesses is mitigated appropriately.  Balancing that key consideration with the need for the construction industry to get back on site, it is the Councils' view that 'a short term or modest increase to working hours' as stated in the ministerial statement would be for an initial four weeks and that hours of construction could run until 9pm Monday to Saturday.   Should complaints be received during this period, we will work with developers to address any concerns being raised.  Enforcement action would not be taken during this period.  However, if these hours of construction are required for a longer period then we will request further information be provided in relation to the usual matters such as noise and traffic and that these are then regularised by a temporary adjustment to a condition or construction management plan as may be relevant.  The Council will seek to utilise an informal approach advocated by the ministerial statement where appropriate. The Council will provide a guidance note to developers

Please note that this procedure will be kept under review in light of any further updates and changes from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

If you are concerned that development has taken place without planning permission, report a suspected breach of planning to us. Find out more about the need for planning permission.

 

Please note that this procedure will be kept under review in light of any further updates and changes from the government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

We will check applications to make sure all details are correct and that you have included the necessary documents. A checklist of the details required for each application type is available on the Planning Portal. Further details about additional supporting information which should be submitted with an application can be found at "How do I submit an application". An acknowledgement will be sent to you or your agent. At this stage the consultation and publicity period will start and we will appoint a Planning Officer to manage your application.

We will place application details and plans on our planning system as part of the statutory register of applications, as required by the Town and Country Planning Act, the Town and Country Planning (Tree Preservation) (England) Regulations and the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) Order. The application will also be included on the weekly list of applications published on our website.

We will notify local councillors, parish or town council and statutory consultees of your application. We will publicise the application using either site notices, letters to neighbours or a press advert, depending on the application type.

You can find out about applications in your area by looking at the weekly lists or searching the planning system.

Anyone can comment on an application and has 21 days from the publicity date to do this. Comments will be considered as a part of the decision process. The case officer will assess the relevance of the comments and may request amendments to the application, where necessary, to address planning issues.

We will only consider comments or objections that are significant and relevant to planning. For example:

  • Overlooking - the proposal would lead to previously private areas being overlooked to an unacceptable level
  • Overshadowing - the height or proximity of the development would be such that unreasonable overshadowing would occur
  • Disturbance - there would be unacceptable intrusion in the form of noise, odour, general disturbance
  • Overbearing - the scale of the works means that the property/premises has an oppressive impact on surrounding areas/houses
  • Out of character - if the design of the development, its scale and use, is such that it appears to be out of character with its surroundings
  • Road safety - the development may lead to a significant impact on road safety.

Issues we will not consider include:

  • Issues covered by other legislation
  • Loss of value to a property, loss of a private view, and potential difficulties in property maintenance
  • Private interests of objectors, the effect of the proposal on property values and competition between rival companies.

The Planning Portal also has information on commenting on proposed development.

Any comments on applications should be made through our planning system, by email or in writing to Growth and Localism, South Norfolk Council, South Norfolk House, Cygnet Court, Long Stratton, Norwich, NR15 2XE. Please include your postal address as we will not show your email address. Please note that comments made online will be published on the next working day.

The Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 requires that any comments made are available for public inspection on the file and copies will be provided on request. Please note that all comments received are published on our website and are attributable to their author. No anonymous comments can be considered. We will redact signatures and contact details (other than your name and address which must be available) such as phone number, e mail etc as set out in our “Planning Standards”. However, human error can occur and we may miss something. If you notice something that causes you concern, then please email us noting the application reference and document details and we will do our best to resolve the matter.

Personal data will be retained for 10 years as part of the lawful processing of the application. Make sure that your comments are relevant and not defamatory or offensive, because you remain personally and legally responsible for them.

If these precautions still leave you concerned then submit your comments to your District Councillor who will raise them as appropriate, so they can be taken into account when the application is considered.

Please note that where you submit your views in writing to your District Councillor, this is described as “lobbying” and the District Councillor will be obliged to pass these on to the planning officer, where they will be published on the website.

Your rights - Under data protection legislation you have the right to request access to, rectification, restriction, or objection to the processing of your personal data, as detailed on our Data Protection Policy. You can contact our Data Protection Officer at e) right2know@s-norfolk.gov.ukor t) 01508 533943. You also have the right to lodge a complaint with the regulator, the Information Commissioner’s Office.

The website will regularly be updated as the application progresses with consultee comments, amended plans, committee dates (where an application will be decided at committee), the officer’s delegated or committee report and the final decision.

For relatively simple applications a decision can be made once the statutory 21 day consultation has finished. These are authorised under the powers delegated to the Director of Place. Most applications are dealt with under our Scheme of Delegation. However, a local member can request that an application be decided by Committee, if it is in the interest of local people to do so, and it is for valid planning reasons. If it is to be determined at committee the date of the meeting will be shown on our planning system

Committee

Public speaking at Development Management Committee

The Council is having to adapt the way it processes planning applications in a number of areas during this Coronavirus pandemic. 

During this period, the Government has made amendments to legislation to give Councils greater flexibility in how it can effectively continue to run a committee which includes the provisions to enable a ‘virtual’ committee.  The Council will continue to run Committees as scheduled but this will now be on a virtual platform (Zoom) and as such the Committee will not be held at the Council Offices during this time.  This enables us to continue to deliver a planning service and help ensure that these decisions are made which will help sustain the economy.

What does this mean for me as an interested party/applicant?

You do not need to do anything further unless you intended on speaking at Committee.

The representations you have already made on the application will be reported in the Committee agenda and will be taken into account in the decision making process. 

Public speaking will continue to take place on agenda items however this will now be in a virtual format. 

The following is permitted for public speaking:

Parish/Town Council – max. 5 minutes

Objectors – max. 5 minutes

Supporters – max. 5 minutes

Local Member

Should you wish to attend Committee and speak, please notify Democratic Services at democracy@s-norfolk.gov.uk by 3.00pm on the Friday preceding the Committee at the latest, stating in what capacity you would like to speak (i.e. in support/objecting).  Democratic Services will liaise with you to coordinate if there is more than one person wishing to speak.  You will also be sent a link to attend the virtual meeting.

The Council will be live streaming this meeting.  Should you wish to observe the meeting only (and not participate in public speaking), please follow the appropriate link here.

Should you have any queries on the above please do not hesitate to contact Democratic Services or the case officer.

This should be read in conjunction with the SNC Virtual DMC Guide using Zoom.

Find out more details about the Development Management Committee.

We will forward the Decision Notice to you or your agent, along with any conditions that apply. We will also publish the decision on our website and the decision will be included on the weekly list of planning applications published on our website. Once approval has been granted it will be necessary to let the Planning team know when works are due to start and to complete the relevant paperwork for any Building Control Regulations. See the CNC Building Control website for more details.

Community Infrastructure Levy

If your development is liable for the Community Infrastructure Levy, we will send a liability notice with your decision notice. It is important that you notify us of your start date, as any exemptions, or relief granted, may cancelled if you start work without telling us.

Wheeled bins for new dwellings

All residential developments for new dwellings are required to purchase from South Norfolk Council a pair of standard wheeled bins for each property. South Norfolk Council no longer provide free of charge wheeled bins for household refuse and recycling for new properties. The council is seeking from developers an undertaking to pay for procurement, storage, delivery and administration costs for the provision of bins. The charge of £69 for a pair of wheeled bins are a one-off cost and the bins will remain the property of South Norfolk Council.

You can appeal if we haven’t made a decision on your planning application within the specified time, or you are unhappy with the decision we have made. Only the applicant can make the appeal. To do this you need to contact the Planning Inspectorate, the Government Agency set up to process all planning and enforcement appeals.

There are strict time limits on your right to appeal. Appeals made outside these are likely to be turned away by the Planning Inspectorate.

The deadline for submitting most appeals is six months from the date of the application decision notice, however for householder applications and minor commercial applications it is 3 months and two months for advertisement consent, or if your application was never determined, six months from the date the decision should have been made.

For more information please visit the Planning Inspectorate website.

You can search for appeals that have been made on our planning system. Appeals can be found with the original planning application.