ABOUT THIS GUIDE
This guide is designed to provide some basic information to help you respond to a planning application. It should be read alongside the Plain English guides to the planning system (England or Wales) and Environmental Impact Assessment.
Planning ensures that the right development happens in the right place at the right time, benefitting communities and the economy. It plays a critical role in identifying what development is needed and where, what areas need to be protected or enhanced and in assessing whether proposed development is suitable
This guide deals with the nuts and bolts of how development control works and provides some general advice and guidance on how to fight an effective planning campaign.
What is a planning application? If you want to develop land for things like housing, shops or new industry, you need to get planning permission from your local council. This means submitting a planning application, which allows the council to decide whether or not the development should go ahead. And why should I be interested? Because if you want to be involved in the future of the South Hams community, to ensure the best kind of developments happen and not the worst ones, you have to be involved in the planning process.
The planning system is also one of the key ways that we can implement our vision for sustainable development by ensuring, for example, that new growth helps reduce climate change emissions through renewable technology, energy efficiency and reducing the need to travel. Your voice and the voice of our community need to be heard just as loudly as the voice of the development industry.
Is there any point getting involved? Yes! You have important rights to be involved in the way that local planning decisions are made. The Council must take note of your views. Local people are often accused by developers and government of being NIMBYs, but the people in the South Hams have a wealth of knowledge and experience to bring, which makes for better decisions.
So how does it work The process of dealing with a planning application is a bit like a horse race. Each application has to jump over a number of hurdles before it reaches the finish line and gets either approved or refused. The ‘road map’ provides an outline of the key stages a planning application has to pass through.
Don’t be put off by the apparent complexity! In fact you only have to worry about a small number of key stages where you can make a real difference to the outcome. Please note: There is a separate process for dealing with Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) applications under the Planning Act 2008. Please see the separate briefing for more detail.
For a simple overview of the planning system see the ‘Nine Planning Steps’