The Planning Application Process
The stages that a planning application will go through, between Mole Valley District Council (MVDC) receiving it and making a decision, are explained below.
Before sending your Planning Application to MVDC, you should check that it is complete. Make sure that you have answered all of the questions on the form and have included all of the necessary plans at the right scale, and any additional information required in the local Validation Checklist. Failure to provide all of the documents will result in delays. You must also make arrangements to pay the application fee if required. More information can be found on the 'How to Submit a Planning Application' page.
Validation and Registration
When your application is received, it will be checked, and you will be contacted if there are any missing or incomplete items, or if the fee hasn't been paid. If you do not respond within the time period stated in the letter, your application will be returned to you. When MVDC has accepted the application as valid, it will be registered and added to the planning database (planning register). The application will be given a reference number in the format 'MO/YYYY/XXXX' - where YYYY indicates the year - and assigned to a Planning Officer. This information will be included on the acknowledgement letter that you or your agent will receive. The application and associated documents are normally available for viewing on the MVDC website within five working days of the completion of registration. At the conclusion of the registration process, the application will be passed to the assigned Planning Officer.
Once a planning application has been validated, the statutory time limit for 'major' applications is usually 13 weeks, and 8 weeks of all other types of development, including householder applications, unless a longer period is agreed in writing with the applicant. If the application has not been decided within this statutory period, and written consent to extend it has not been given, you can take the application to appeal for 'non-determination'. However, the appeal process, which is independent of MVDC, can take several months to decide. More information about the appeal process can be found on the 'Planning and Enforcement Appeals' page (see 'Related Pages').
As part of the registration process, MVDC will also notify neighbours by post of your plans, and they will have a minimum period of 21 days to respond if they wish, by post, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or through this website. Depending on the nature of your application, MVDC will also consult all relevant statutory bodies, including Surrey County Council Highways. Further information about the consultation and notification process can be found in the Statement of Community Involvement (see 'Downloads').
Once registered, the Planning Officer should be your first point of contact if you have any queries about your application. Please quote the application number in all correspondence. During this stage of the process, the Planning Officer will make a site visit, and will only need to contact you if they are unable to gain access to the site.
After the visit and analysis of any responses from the consultation process, the Planning Officer may contact you if they think that your proposal is not acceptable, but could be improved by amendments. If you agree with the changes, you will need to submit your revised plans and drawings within a time limit. MVDC may need to notify the neighbours of the revised plans, giving them a short time to respond if they wish. Their original responses will still be relevant. If the proposal requires radical change to be acceptable, MVDC may suggest that you withdraw the application and submit a new application, rather than refuse it.
At the conclusion of the process, the Planning Officer will write a report on your application, referring to any relevant planning history and policies, representations from neighbours, and responses from consultees. The report will identify the main issues and discuss each in turn, and will usually conclude with a recommendation to either approve with conditions, or refuse. Most decisions on applications are made by Planning Officers under powers delegated by MVDC. However, a few are referred to the Development Control Committee for Councillors to make a decision. Further information about delegation can be found on the 'Constitution' page (see 'Related Pages').
The principal categories of application that are determined under delegated powers are:
- all householder applications
- all refusals of planning permission
All other applications, except in the following cases where the recommendation is for approval:
- residential development of more than four dwellings
- significant departure from stated planning policy
- non-residential development involving more than 1000 m2 (except for agricultural buildings)
- changes of use, outside built-up areas, involving more than 1000 m2
- change of use of shops
Occasionally, applications that would normally be delegated are referred to the Planning Committee at the discretion of the Corporate Head of Planning or at the request of a Councillor.
The delegation agreement is set out in full in the Constitution (see 'Related Pages').
If your Planning Application is refused, you have a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. More information about this process can be found on the Planning and Enforcement Appeals page (see 'Related Pages').