Our customer charter

How the Development Management team will serve you

The purpose of this charter is to provide a clear understanding of what level of service to expect when customers contact us about planning development proposals within the district. This policy sits alongside our customer promise.

The planning section on our website contains initial information for any applicant, agent or objector regarding development proposals. There are further links within this charter providing more information about the planning process and service.

Serving our customers

We will at all times seek to:

  • Be approachable, professional and use plain English in our communications.
  • Make sure you can quickly and easily access the latest information and guidance on our website.
  • Respond to call-back requests left via the council's customer service team or case officer answerphones within 2 working days.
  • Provide a duty planning officer system between 8.45am and 12.30pm Monday to Friday for general enquiries.
  • Respond to email and other written enquiries within 10 working days or otherwise send a holding response if this cannot be achieved.
  • Deal with requests on first contact. This excludes when an applicant has a planning agent, where the agent will be required to provide updates.

Pre-application advice 

We will always:

  • Encourage pre-application advice wherever possible and appropriate.
  • Confirm safe receipt of a request for advice, and make clear who is dealing with the pre-application and when to expect a response.
  • Provide advice in a proactive manner.
  • Provide guidance on what additional work may be needed to enable us to reach a positive conclusion on proposals, if it is possible to do so.
  • Encourage a review of information and relevant planning policies beforehand.

Validation of planning applications

We will:

  • Encourage applicants to adhere to our validation guidance on submission of an application.
  • Aim to inform applicants whether an application is valid within three working days of receipt.
  • Look to respond quickly to resolve any minor technical errors or omissions.

Return as invalid any applications where requested information is not received within agreed timescales.

Advertising and consulting on planning applications

We will:

  • Follow all current national guidance on the consultation and advertisement of planning applications and the provisions of our statement of community involvement.
  • Publish comments made on our website for all live planning applications and take these into account in the determination of applications, unless the comments are offensive, racist, discriminatory, threatening, anonymous or marked private/confidential.

Consideration of applications & making decisions

We will:

  • Ensure all decisions are made in accordance with the relevant legislation and planning policy but also take into account other relevant material considerations.
  • Act in a positive and proactive manner and look to find solutions where possible.
  • Not seek changes or amended information if no pre-application advice was sought and the proposals are clearly unacceptable in planning policy terms.
  • Reference all points raised in consultation or neighbour responses on applications in the planning officer’s report.
  • Publish the officer's report and the decision to view on our website within 48 hours of the decision being made.

Dealing with breaches of planning control and enforcement

We will:

  • Take any allegations of breaches of planning control seriously.
  • Carry out our investigations in accordance with our adopted enforcement plan.
  • Look to resolve matters in a collaborative/proactive way based on appropriate evidence.
  • Consider formal enforcement action as a last resort in accordance with relevant national and local guidance

What we need you to do:

  • Deal with us in a professional and courteous manner.
  • Submit good quality plans and provide all relevant supporting information about your development in a timely manner.
  • Follow our policies, guidance and procedures and use our pre-application advice service.
  • Recognise that we are required to work within a statutory framework and meet government targets.
  • Make best use of electronic methods of communication and use our website to access guidance and reports on all aspects of our service.
  • Use the Planning Portal to submit and pay for planning applications.
  • Use our online services if you wish to make comments on planning consultations.
  • Build in accordance with duly approved plans and any related conditions.