Development Management Charter

Introduction

This Charter outlines the business 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 and the general public aware of how the service operates and what level of service they can expect. In carrying out their duties, officers in 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 customers. 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 new building and the use of land in the public interest. It involves the consideration of planning applications; monitoring of new development as it takes place and taking enforcement action where unacceptable breaches of planning control have taken place. The service also provides information and advice on planning matters 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 Planning Policy (National Planning Policy Framework) and associated Circulars and guidance and the adopted local Development Plan. Planning law requires that the adopted Development Plan provides the basis for determining planning applications.

Redcar and Cleveland Planning Strategy

The Council will always aim to make the best decision on each application but this will not necessarily be the quickest; this means taking into account the impact of the proposal on the environment and taking into account the views of the local community and other stakeholders in the decision making process.


Pre-application Advice

The Council welcomes discussions between its officers and applicants / agents prior to the submission of an application. Such discussions can help improve the quality of an application and enable it to be processed more efficiently. Advice will always be given objectively on the basis of the information provided and having regard to current planning policies and guidance. Any advice offered by officers on planning matters is informal and is without prejudice to the final decision on any application and, most importantly, no officer within the department has the power to bind the Council to a particular decision.

It is strongly recommended that planning enquiries or the details of any development proposals are submitted in writing to the Council, this allows a record to be kept of the enquiry and any advice that has been given. Other than the simplest enquires, advice cannot be given over the phone and in most cases you will be invited to submit your enquiry in writing, if you decline this request it is unlikely we will be able advise you further.

Planning 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 explaining the relevant regulations and we would then advise that confirmation of any advice given is obtained, again by submission of an enquiry 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, and it would assist the planning officer if details of the proposal are submitted in writing before such a meeting. In the case of larger or more complex proposals, a development team may be established, which may include officers from other services of the Council and perhaps representatives of external bodies, so that more comprehensive advice can be offered.

The length of time for a response will depend on the complexity of the enquiry and the workloads of the case officers. All enquires will be acknowledged within 10 working days and responded to in 21 or 42 days depending on the complexity of the enquiry. Should you wish to contact the case officer once the enquiry has been allocated, they may be able to give a clearer indication of the response time. The Council does not presently change for pre-application advice.


Submitting a Planning Application

The applicant (or agent) is responsible for making sure that their application is submitted correctly. Guidance notes on the submission of an application are available in hard copy and on the Councils website and advice will be given on matters such as the calculation of the planning fee and what plans and other information may be required to support an application. All planning applications are required to be supported by a minimum level of information in terms of location plans and completed application forms. Applications can be submitted on-line via the Planning Portal or in hard copy (Link to Planning Portal).

We seek to register and acknowledge a valid application within 5 working days. The acknowledgement letter will be sent to the applicant (or agent if one is appointed) and will include the name and contact number of the planning case officer dealing with the application. It will also advise the date by which the application should be determined (the statutory period) and the rights of appeal if a decision is not made by that date.

If the application is incomplete we aim, wherever possible, to notify the applicant or agent in writing, within 5 working days, of the additional information required to validate the application. On more complex applications, or when we are dealing with significant numbers of applications, this time frame may be extended.

INCOMPLETE APPLICATIONS WILL NOT BE REGISTERED.


The Register and Consultations

The statutory planning register, which lists all current planning applications, is 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 are publicised in accordance with planning regulations. This may take the form of a press notice and /or site notices and /or direct neighbour notification. All persons notified about a planning application will be advised where and when they can inspect the proposals and the Council generally allows a period 21 days to submit comments on an application. If significant alterations or amendments are made to an application, we may re-notify neighbours or other interested parties and we will then generally allow a further 10 days for any further comments. Comments on planning applications form part of the public record and are placed on the application file and published on the Councils website. You should note that any comments made in respect of an application may be viewed by the applicant / agent and the public.


Assessment of applications

The case officer will visit a site for the majority of planning applications. These visits are not always pre-arranged and it is not necessary for the applicant or agent to be in attendance. If there are difficulties in gaining access, the officer will view the site by appointment. It is not always necessary for the officer to view the site from adjoining land but if you think that would be helpful or inform the planning decision you may request an officer visits your property as part of the consideration of the application.

As a result of the site visit or representations made 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. We seek to ensure that all relevant information has been made available for consideration by all those with an interest in an application before a final decision is made.


Making the Decision

The Councils Constitution includes an approved scheme of delegation and so most applications are able to be determined by the Director of Regeneration. Where an application does not come within the scope of the delegated system the application will be reported to the Councils Regulatory Committee for determination.

The Regulatory Committee comprises 13 Councillors and generally meets on a three-weekly cycle. The meetings are usually held at the Redcar and Cleveland Civic Heart in Redcar and currently commence at 10.00 a.m. Applications considered by Committee are normally the subject of a full report which includes a summary of all the representations received as a result of consultation. Any person who had made a representation on an application will received an invitation by letter or by email to the meeting. No person may address the Committee as of right, but the Council has adopted a public speaking procedure which allows a person to address the Committee but this is limited and you should refer to the information set out in the invitation letter as to those procedures.

Attendance and Public Speaking at Committee.

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 for refusal will be set out clearly in the decision notice. The applicant has the right of appeal against the refusal of permission or the imposition of conditions and information on how to lodge an appeal is included with the decision notice. The case officer may also be able to offer advice on any changes or amendments that might result in a more favourable decision on the application.

Some decisions will only be made when the applicant and parties have agreed to enter into a planning agreement (or contract) known as a Section 106 Agreement. The planning permission cannot be issued until the agreement is signed and completed.


Monitoring Development

Planning permission is generally granted subject to planning conditions. In some cases these conditions will regulate the development (e.g. hours of opening) in others, conditions may require further information to be submitted (e.g. materials or landscaping) in order for the conditions to be formally discharged. You should read the planning decision notice carefully and clearly understand the terms of the planning permission. The Council will seek to minimise the use of pre-commencement conditions (i.e. those that are required to be discharged before any development commences) but, most importantly, you should apply to discharge conditions in a timely manner so as not to unnecessarily delay your development. Applications to discharge conditions are subject to a fee and will be dealt with within 8 weeks of submission; most applications of this nature are dealt with by the departments dedicated compliance officer in consultation with other officers where necessary.

Development must be carried out in accordance with the approved plans and this is the developers responsibility. Any changes to a proposal should be agreed in writing with the Council. Not all changes will require a new application; change may be dealt with as a non-material amendment or minor material amendment, depending on the changes proposed. Such changes can be dealt with fairly quickly under prescribed regulations. A new application may be required where the changes proposed are more significant.

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 with the terms of a planning permission may result in enforcement action.


Enforcing 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 the breach. They will also be advised of the consequences of failing to respond to any request to take action.

Priority will be given to investigating complaints where work is underway including works to listed buildings, uses or other activities that are unacceptably adversely impacting on neighbour amenity 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 but has less of an impact. The department will not generally accept anonymous complaints.

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

All Councils are currently subject to a national performance regime in respect of the time taken to deal with major planning applications and so our business procedures reflect this Government priority. The department has also set targets for dealing with other applications in its own service plan. Our performance is reported quarterly to the Regulatory Services Committee. Notwithstanding these targets we will look to determine all applications as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Complaints

From time to time things may go wrong and you may feel the need to complain. The Council has an adopted Corporate Complaints Procedure and further information can be found on the Councils website by following the link below.

Corporate Complaints Procedure

However, not all complaints are dealt with under the Councils corporate procedure. So, for example, a complaint about the failure to adhere to approved business procedure may be dealt with under the corporate policy but complaints as to the merits of a planning decision will not. Notwithstanding this, all complaints will be responded to and if a complainant is unhappy with the Councils response they can refer the issue to the Local Government Ombudsman.

This Charter provides a statement of what can be expected from the Councils Development Management Service. 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 decision on any matter before it.

This Charter relates to the development management service only. Applications made under the Building Regulations are dealt with separately and under other legislation although the two teams endeavour to work closely together to provide the highest quality service to the public.

If you have any enquiries or comments in respect of this Charter you can send them to;

Mr Adrian Miller
Regulatory Services Manager
Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council
Redcar and Cleveland House
Kirkleatham Street
Redcar
Yorkshire
TS10 1RT

adrian.miller@redcar-cleveland.gov.uk
Tel: 01287 612454

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Last updated:
27/04/2015

Assigned review date:
01/11/2016

Page Section:
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