Development Management Charter

Introduction

This Charter outlines the practices adopted by the Development Management Section of the Regeneration Directorate with regard to its development management functions and responsibilities.

It is intended to make the customers of the service: applicants, agents, neighbours and the general public, fully aware of how the service operates and what level of service they can expect. In carrying out their duties, members of the development management team will ensure that all customers of the service are treated fairly and courteously.

The Council is committed to good planning practice and continuous improvement to ensure that the service meets the needs of its users. From time to time, it will conduct surveys amongst users of the service to help achieve this.

This Charter sets out the quality and level of service the Council seeks to provide.


Service and Quality

Development Management is a process which regulates development and the uses of land in the public interest. It involves the consideration of planning applications; the monitoring of development as it takes place; taking enforcement action where unacceptable breaches of planning control have taken place; and providing information and advice on general planning maters and individual proposals. It is a process, which is governed by law and can sometimes be complex.

The general framework for Development Management is set out in Government Guidance and Circulars and the Development Plan. The law requires that these plans provide the basis for determining planning applications. The Council will always aim to make the best decision on each application but not necessarily the quickest. This means taking into account the impact of the proposal on the environment and the community.


Pre-application Advice and Information

The Council welcomes discussions between its Officers and applicants and agents prior to the submission of an application. Such discussions can help improve the quality of the application and enable it to be processed as efficiently as possible. Advice will always be given objectively on the basis of the information provided and having regard to current planning policies and guidance. However, any advice on the merits of a planning application is informal and cannot be binding on the Councils formal decision.

It is strongly advised that planning enquiries are submitted in writing to the Authority to avoid any ambiguity. Suitably qualified staff are normally available to deal with general planning enquiries at Redcar and Cleveland House, Kirkleatham Street, Redcar between 08.30 a.m. and 05.00 p.m. (Monday to Thursday) , and 08.30 a.m. to 04.30 p.m. (Friday) however, this advice may be restricted to describing the relevant regulations and it is advised that confirmation of any advice given is then followed up in writing.


In the case of a specific proposal it is recommended that an appointment is made to ensure that the enquiry can be dealt with promptly and efficiently. In the case of large or complex applications, a Development Team may be set up, which will include Officers from various sections of the authority and sometimes representatives of external bodies who will be consulted on the application, in order to give advice on all aspects of the proposal.

The length of time for a response to be sent will depend on the complexity of the enquiry and workloads of the case officers. Should you wish to contact the case officer once the enquiry has been allocated, they may be able to give an indication of how long the reply will be.


Submitting a Planning Application

The applicant (or agent) is responsible for making sure that their application is submitted correctly. Guidance notes are available in paper form and on the Councils website to help complete the application forms and help will be given on the calculation of the fee and what plans may be required. All planning applications should include an Ordnance Survey Location Plan at 1:1250 scale. Applications can be submitted on-line or in hard copy form (see Councils web-site for further details).

All valid applications will generally be registered and acknowledged within 5 working days. The acknowledgement letter will be sent to the applicant (or agent if one is acting for the applicant) and will include the name and contact number of the Case Officer dealing with the application. It will also advise of the date by which the application should be determined and the rights of appeal if a decision is not issued by that date.

If the application is incomplete the applicant or agent will be advised in writing within 5 working days of the additional information, which is required. INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REGISTERED.


The Register and Consultations

The statutory planning register, which lists all current planning applications, will be available for public inspection at Redcar and Cleveland House during normal office hours. All current applications and plans are also available to view on the Councils web-site.

Applications will be publicised in line with the procedures set down by Central Government. This may take the form of a press notice and/or site notices and/or direct neighbour notification. All persons notified about a specific planning application will be advised where and when they can see the plans and they will be allowed 21 days in which to make any comments on the proposal. If significant alterations are subsequently made to an application, it may be necessary to re-notify neighbours or other interested parties and in this event a further 10 days will be allowed for further comment. Comments on planning applications form part of the public record and placed on the application file, which is open to public inspection.

Assessment and Negotiations

The Case Officer will visit the site for every planning application. Normally these visits are not pre-arranged and it is not necessary for the applicant or agent to be in attendance. If there are difficulties in gaining access, the Case Officer will leave a card to arrange a suitable appointment.

As a result of the site visit and responses of consultees the Case Officer may feel that it is necessary to modify the proposal or provide additional information. The Case Officer will advise the applicant/agent of what information or amendments are required.


Making the Decision

The Council has a target of determining 75% of all minor and 90% for all other applications within 8 weeks of the date they were registered as being valid. The target for major applications is 13 weeks.

The Council has approved delegation arrangements whereby applications for minor (mainly house extensions) or non-controversial development, which accords with Council Policy will be determined by Officers under delegated powers.

Where an application does not come within the scope of the delegated powers, the application will be reported to the Planning Committee for determination.

The Planning Committee comprises of 13 Councillors and generally meets on a four-weekly cycle. The meetings are usually held at Belmont House and currently commence at 10.15 a.m. All comments received on a planning application within the specified timescale will be incorporated in the report to the Planning Committee. Objectors and supporters for the applications being considered by Planning Committee will be invited to attend Planning Committee. Up to 3 objectors and 3 supporters will be afforded the opportunity to speak at Committee. Each person is given up to 3 minutes in which to make their representations.

Planning decisions will be issued to the applicant / agent within 2 working days of the decision being made.

Where an application is refused the reasons will be set out clearly on the notice. An applicant has the right of appeal against the refusal of permission or the imposition of conditions and information on how to lodge an appeal will be included with the decision notice. The Case Officer would also be willing to advise on changes and amendments when it is considered that they would lead to a favourable decision on a revised application.

Some decisions will only be made when the applicant and other relevant parties have entered into a planning agreement, often known as a Section 106 Agreement.

Monitoring Development

Once planning permission has been granted, an applicant will need to submit details of the development, which are required by any conditions attached to the permission. These details will generally be agreed by the Case Officer.

Applications to deal with conditions are subject to a fee and will be dealt with within 8 weeks of submission.

Development must be carried out in accordance with the approved plans and it is the applicants responsibility to ensure that this happens. Any amendments to the proposal will need to be agreed in advance with the Council and in the case of significant amendments may require the submission of a new application.

The Council will selectively monitor development as it takes place, particularly in situations where concern has been expressed by third parties, to ensure it complies with the approved plans. Non-compliance may result in the Council considering taking enforcement action.

Enforcement Planning Control

Where an alleged breach of planning control is reported or suspected, the site or premises will be inspected and further information sought to establish the facts. If a breach of control is established the person responsible will be informed in writing what is wrong and what action is necessary to remedy it. They will also be advised of the consequences of failing to take such action.

Priority will be given to investigating complaints where work is underway; listed buildings, uses that are causing problems for neighbours or where protected trees are under threat. Site visits for priority cases will be carried out within three working days. Lower priority will be given to development, which has already been carried out or untidy sites. Anonymous complaints will not be followed up.

The complainant will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation and whether or not further action will be taken, together with the reasons for that decision. (For further information see the Councils Planning Enforcement Policy) .

Performance

The Development Management Section reviews its performance on a quarterly basis in relation to Central Government targets (relating to the speed and quality of the decision making process and the Councils appeal record). If appropriate, it will identify and detail the reasons for not meeting the targets. We are also developing means of monitoring the quality of decisions and from time to time invite planning officers of other authorities to inspect some of our decisions and the Planning Committee periodically visits a sample of completed developments for review purposes.

Complaints

For details of the Councils corporate complains procedure, see Councils web-site.

The Department will investigate all complaints received about the way in which planning matters are handled. The Department will give a written response to the complainant within 10 working days of the complaint being received. The response will detail any action it proposes or explain the reasons for not taking action. (Stage 1) . If the complainant remains dissatisfied in the way which the Department has handled the matter, then the matter can be pursued in line with the Councils complaints procedure. Any investigation under the Councils formal complaints procedure or by the Ombudsman would be in respect of the decision-making process itself, rather than the merits of any particular decision.

This Charter seeks to provide a clear statement of what can be expected from the Councils Development Management Service. Equally, it must be accepted that the standards set out by the Council will also be to an extent dependent on applicants and their agents. Applications can only be processed efficiently if plans and other information submitted are clear and to a high standard. Furthermore, it will be important that applicants and agents reply promptly to requests from Development Management Officers for additional information and amendments. There has to be a joint commitment to providing an efficient and effective service by both the Council and applicants.

Throughout the development management process Officers give advice, information and guidance to applicants, agents and the public, in good faith. However, it must be recognised that it is without prejudice to the Councils duty to take the final and formal decision on any matter before it. Care must be taken by all parties to avoid misunderstandings and in particular any comments made by the Officers should never be taken as a firm indication of what the Councils final decision will be.

Note

This Charter relates to the development management service only. Applications made under the Building Regulations are handled separately, though the teams endeavour to work closely together to provide the highest quality service to the public.

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Last updated:
03/03/2014

Assigned review date:
01/11/2014

Page Section:
Resident
Planning & Building

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