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How Planning Applications are Dealt With

Once a planning application has been submitted, it is checked to ensure it is complete (i.e. sufficient and accurate plans, fees etc.).

We will then write to you to acknowledge receipt and to give you a date by which a decision should be made. In most cases a decision will be reached within 8 weeks. 

Once complete it is entered upon the register of planning applications that the Council is legally required to maintain and make available for public inspection.

Publicity and Consultation

The next step is to consider what publicity should be given to the proposed development and who should be consulted. There are many forms of consultation on planning applications;

  1. Consulting specialist bodies to obtain expert advice on various aspects of the proposed development. This would include for instance, matters relating to the highway and drainage, environmental health etc. We also often seek the views of other organisations such as English Heritage and the Environment Agency, as well as local amenity societies and residents' associations.

  2. Individual consultation letters, (around 20,000 a year) are sent to neighbours who we consider are likely to be affected by a proposal. You will normally have at least 21 days to comment. In the case of proposals likely to generate wider interest, a press advert in the local newspaper may be published or site notices displayed in the area.

  3. Notices are published in the local newspaper and/or displayed on or close to the site (for at least 21 days) for many applications, including those which would affect the character or setting of a listed building, or the character of a conservation area, or which in the council's opinion are likely to have implications for more than the immediate neighbours.

  4. We consult neighbouring borough councils where appropriate, but we also consult directly any properties in other boroughs that adjoin the application site.

  5. The council's practice is to negotiate improvements to applications. We will normally re-consult (between 7-14 days) on amendments if we consider that they raise new issues which could lead to further comment.

How to comment

  1. Comments can be made by anyone, regardless of whether they were consulted individually. We welcome any comments, whether in support of an application or objecting to it, although the council can only take account of relevant "planning considerations". These include matters like the effect on traffic or parking, the appearance of the proposal, overlooking or disturbance, loss of light or privacy, impact upon the appearance of the surrounding area and whether the proposed use is suitable.

  2. We cannot take into account matters like the loss of property value, private disputes between neighbours, matters covered by leases or covenants, the impact of construction work, and competition between firms.

  3. A duty planning officer will be available at our reception at the address below to explain proposals and give advice on how to make representations.

  4. Any comments you wish to make should normally be submitted as soon as possible (normally within a 21 day period). Comments can also be made using this site or by contacting us through the details at the bottom of the page.

Please note that any comments made will be published in full on the Internet. When responding electronically, please send your comments as an attachment if you do not wish your e-mail address or telephone number to be published. However, please include your name and address, the application number and site address in any correspondence/attachment sent to the Council.

Additionally, you may consider excluding your signature on letters to remove any fears of signatures being copied or identity theft.

Assessment of Proposals

To enable a full assessment of the proposed development to take place the planning officer who is responsible for the application will visit the site. This is essential to ensure that the proposals and surroundings can accurately be visualised in order to assess whether there would be any problems if the development were to take place.

The next stage is to consider the proposed development in the light of the Government’s and the Council’s planning policies and advice, in particular Dudley Council’s Unitary Development Plan.

If the application is unacceptable as submitted but amendments could overcome the concerns, the planning officer will explain this to you or your agent. If a minor amendment would overcome the concerns you will be given a reasonable time to send us revised proposals. If, at the end of that period, we have not received the amendments and no extension of the time period has been agreed, the council may decide the proposals as originally submitted. If more substantial amendments are necessary, particularly if they are likely to require further consultation, we may invite you to withdraw the application and submit a new revised application. No additional fee is payable in these circumstances providing this is within 12 months of the withdrawal. Applications will be refused if they are considered to be unacceptable in principle or the necessary amendments cannot be agreed.

Once satisfied that all the relevant information is available, including representations made by interested parties, the planning officer co-ordinates all relevant information and prepares a report on the application and how it should be determined. The Director of the Urban Environment under powers delegated to him by the Development Control Committee, may himself determine applications which are straight forward and not controversial. A list of the powers delegated to the Director can be inspected at the Directorate of the Urban Environment Reception, 3 St James’s Rd. All other applications are presented to the Development Control Committee for determination.

Development Control Committee

The Development Control Committee, which normally meets every 3 weeks, is comprised of 9 elected councillors. The Committee is responsible for the planning functions carried out by the Council. At their meetings (which are held in the Council House and are open to members of the public) the reports prepared by the planning officers are considered and then the application is determined. Before a decision is made on an application the Committee is informed of all representations made regarding each application and will consider these before reaching a balanced decision. Opposition to a proposal is not in itself a ground for refusing planning permission and in reaching a decision the Committee will have due regard to all the planning merits of the application.

Different types of decision

There are three types of decision:

  • Unconditional permission - the application is granted permission in its current form and can proceed.

  • Permission subject to conditions - the application is granted permission only if certain conditions are met, e.g. you have to use certain materials for the development. We must give you reasons for imposing any conditions.

  • Refusal - outright refusal of permission for the development. We must give you reasons for refusing permission

Notifying you of the decision

  • We will issue all decision notices to the applicant (or agent) within 2 working days of the decision. The notice will be accompanied by a clear explanation of your rights of appeal if we have refused permission or granted permission subject to conditions.

  • The planning officer who dealt with the application or someone who was at the Committee will be available, by prior appointment, to explain the council's decision and what further action you can take.

  • A copy of the decision notice will also be sent to parties that made a representation.

  • A copy of the decision notice will be available for public inspection at our reception and on this site within one working day of the issue of the formal decision letter. The decision will also be included in our published weekly list of applications and decisions, available for public access in our local libraries.

How Long Does the Process Take?

The Council receives around 2,500 planning applications per year and aims to determine most within the statutory period of eight weeks. If no decision is made within the period the applicant can appeal against non-determination. However, this action should be seen as a last resort and anybody who is concerned about the time taken to determine an application should initially contact the planning officer to establish the reason for the delay. Although speed of decision making is important in most situations, this should not take precedence over reaching the right decision and a further negotiation may well result in a positive outcome.

The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes statistics on a regular basis concerning the number of planning applications and speed at which they are determined by each council. For latest figures visit the Department for Communities and Local Government.

More information about the planning process can be viewed at the Planning Portal.

Can I appeal against the council’s decision?

Yes you can, however, the right of appeal lies solely with the applicant, third parties do not have the right of appeal.

For further information see Planning Appeals