What happens after a planning application is received?

Planning applications for building, extending or converting homes, offices or shops are handled by borough and district councils.

We, Surrey County Council, only deal with planning applications for minerals or waste-related developments, and for developments to its own property, such as schools and libraries.

Here is a simple guide to what happens to an application once we receive it.

Step 1 - validation

All planning applications are checked to see if they are valid. To be valid the application will need to include:

  • Correctly completed, signed and dated application form.
  • Relevant ownership certificate.
  • Supporting statement (if required), plans, drawings and other relevant information to illustrate the proposal.
  • Correct fee (if required)

For a complete list of validation requirements see our Local List.

If an application is invalid or incomplete, we write to applicants informing them what they need to do to complete the application.

Step 2 - registration

Once an application is valid it is published onto our online register, where you can track the progress of an application.

It is also sent to the relevant borough or district council, who hold the official Planning Register.

Step 3 - consultation

Once an application has been registered, we seek the views of relevant organisations and the public on the acceptability of the proposal.

Our Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) sets out how we consult and publicise for different types of application. See also how you can be involved in the process.

If the applicant provides further details or documents there may need to be further rounds of consultations and publicity. For large, complex applications this process can take many months.

Step 4 - decision

After the consultation has been completed, the planning officer managing the application will write a report taking in the views from consultees and the public and make a recommendation to grant, refuse or approve the planning application.

If the application is being decided under delegated powers the report is signed-off by a senior member of the planning team. Alternatively, if the application is to be determined by Planning and Regulation Committee, either because it has reached the threshold of objections or it has been called-in, then the report is presented to the committee for the members to make the decision. The committee can decide to disagree with the planning officer and make the opposite decision.

For more information see How are planning applications decided?

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