Planning applications - FAQs

Q1: Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?
Q2: What is the difference between planning permission and building regulation consent?
Q3: Do you have a list of recommended architects/agents?
Q4: Can I get advice about something I am planning to do?
Q5: How much are the planning fees?
Q6: Have you received my application?
Q7: How long will it take to process my application?
Q8: Can I view applications/plans?
Q9: Can I have a copy of the plans?
Q10: As a resident will I be asked for my views on an application before it comes in?
Q11: Can I see any letters of objection?
Q12: Why haven't I been consulted on a planning application?
Q13: How can I object/comment on an application?
Q14: What happens to my letter when you have received it?
Q15: My planning application has been refused. How can I appeal?
Q16: Can I appeal against you giving my neighbour permission?
Q17: What does a delegated decision mean?
Q18: Can I get it referred to the Planning Committee?
Q19: Can I speak at the Planning Committee meeting?
Q20: I've got planning permission but I want to change something slightly
Q21: Why can the applicant submit a further application?
Q22: How long does the planning permission last?
Q23: Why can a scheme be approved even though I objected?
Q24: How do I contact my Ward Councillor?


Q1: Do I need planning permission for a dropped kerb?

In certain circumstances planning permission is required for a dropped kerb/vehicular access.

Further information can be found on our web page ' Dropped kerbs and vehicle access'.

Q2: What is the difference between planning permission and building regulation consent?

Planning permission is concerned with how a proposal impacts on the environment and neighbouring properties/land.

Building Regulation consent is required for most building work, including structural alterations.  It is mainly concerned with the way that something is being built and will therefore deal with such things as the depth of foundations or thickness of insulation.  Planning permission is not generally required for internal work or for many small domestic extensions (permitted development).

Q3: Do you have a list of recommended architects/agents?

The Council is not able to recommend any individuals/companies.

Q4: Can I get advice about something I am planning to do?

The Council encourages pre-application advice and there is a charge for this.

Please see our pages on Pre application advice for more information.

Q5: How much are the planning fees?

The fee for a domestic application is £172.

Q6: Have you received my application?

Once the application has been validated (which may take up to five days) you can check on the progress of your application via 'Planning Applications Online'. See the 'important dates' tab once you have searched for your application by address or application number. This information is updated regularly.

Q7: How long will it take to process my application?

Our target is eight weeks for domestic planning applications.

Q8: Can I view applications/plans?

All applications and plans can be viewed either at the Council Offices during normal office hours or on our website via Planning Applications Online.

Q9: Can I have a copy of the plans?

These can be printed off from the website, but please note that once printed they may not be to scale. Alternatively the Council can provide you with a copy but there is a charge for this service.

Q10: As a resident will I be asked for my views on an application before it comes in?

Many planning applications are submitted to the Council without any form of pre-application discussion with us. However, when we have pre-application discussions with applicants on larger proposals we do encourage them to carry out consultation with local residents before the scheme is submitted.

The type of consultation will vary according to the nature of the application but in many cases this is likely to involve local residents being invited to attend a presentation in a local hall where the applicant will display their initial thoughts for the site, invite comments on it, and be available to answer questions about it.

Q11: Can I see any letters of objection?

Any objections or comments on a planning application are displayed on our website (with personal details removed) and can either be viewed via 'Planning Applications Online' or at the Council Offices during normal office hours.

If your letter relates to an application which is being decided by the Planning Committee, all letters received are available for Councillors to see before the committee meeting.

Q12: Why haven't I been consulted on a planning application?

With all planning applications, as a minimum, we will write to those people who live in properties adjoining the application site. With applications for large scale development we will usually notify properties beyond that area particularly when the effect of the development is likely to affect a wider area.

We also ask applicants to display a site notice outside their property to advertise the submission of the application.  The fact that you may not have received a letter from the Council does not prevent you from commenting on the application, and any comments you may make will be taken into account in the consideration of the application.

Q13: How can I object/comment on an application?

You can either email/write to the Planning Department at the Council Offices or submit your comments via the website. Any comments submitted will be shown on 'Planning Applications Online' on our website. However, personal details will be removed (signatures, telephone numbers and email addresses) but not names and postal addresses.

Q14: What happens to my letter when you have received it?

We will display it on our website (having removed your personal details) and then pass it to the planning officer dealing with the application, who will take your comments into account as part of the overall consideration of the application. Any letters received will be referred to in the report which is written about the planning application and the points made will be commented on.

Q15: My planning application has been refused. How can I appeal?

You will find details of how to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate on the back of the decision notice. However, it is always a good idea to speak to the planning officer involved first to see if the reasons for refusal can be overcome by submitting a revised application.

The Planning Inspectorate is an independent organisation that has been set up by the Government and one of their main functions is considering appeals submitted against the refusal of planning permission.

Further information can be found on our web page 'Appeals against planning decisions'.

Q16: Can I appeal against you giving my neighbour permission?

The planning system in this country only allows the applicant to appeal against a decision made by the Council.

In certain limited cases where there has been a legal flaw in the processing of an application, third parties may seek to challenge the decision in the High Court. This process is called seeking a 'judicial review' and can only be taken within six weeks of the decision being issued.

Q17: What does a delegated decision mean?

Certain Senior Planning Officers have 'delegated powers' which enable them to determine most minor planning applications without the necessity of being referred to the Planning Committee. This includes the majority of household extensions and other smaller scale proposals.

Q18: Can I get it referred to the Planning Committee?

If you are not happy with the application being a delegate decision you may be able to get it referred to the Planning Committee. You should contact one of your local Councillors, and if they feel it is necessary for the application to be considered by the Planning Committee they will 'call it in' for determination, provided this is done within a certain time frame.

To find your local Councillors look under 'Ward' in the Council and Democracy section in 'My Spelthorne'

Q19: Can I speak at the Planning Committee meeting?

The Council's public speaking procedure enables one person to speak at Committee in favour of the application and one against.

Each speaker is given three minutes and they must register to speak with the Committee Clerk on the day, or day before, the Committee meeting.

View our guidance for public speaking for Planning Committee

Q20: I've got planning permission but I want to change something slightly

You will need to formally write to the Planning Department and submit a plan showing what you want to alter. The Council are only able to accept very minor alterations to a planning permission without requiring a revised application to be submitted. There is, however, a charge for this service *ie £25 for a householder application and £170 for any other application.

Q21: Why can the applicant submit a further application?

Planning legislation in this country allows applicants to submit as many applications as they like on a particular site. The Council does, however, have the ability to refuse to process certain types of applications that are submitted following an appeal decision or the taking of enforcement action.

Q22: How long does the planning permission last?

The planning permission will contain a condition which states when the consent expires. In the vast majority of cases building work has to be started within three years of the permission being granted.

Q23: Why can a scheme be approved even though I objected?

Planning law requires that planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Council's and Government's adopted policies, unless "material considerations indicate otherwise".

When we consider planning applications, in addition to assessing them against these policies, we also have to consider a number of other factors including the comments of statutory consultees (organisations we have to consult) and the views of local residents.  The views of local residents are just one of the many factors that form part of the decision making process.  In many instances the issues raised by local residents will be referred to in our policies or be matters that statutory consultees comment on (such as loss of light or traffic generation).  Where residents' comments reflect our policies, or the comments of statutory consultees, we are able to give them greater weight in the overall consideration of the application.  Whilst we recognise most applications have some impact on neighbours, and we understand your reason for objecting to an application, there will be occasions when having considered all the relevant issues we do not feel refusal of planning permission can be justified on the grounds set out in your objection.

Q24: How do I contact my Ward Councillor?

Details of your Ward Councillor can be found via 'My Spelthorne'.