How are planning applications decided?

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

Planning applications for building, extending or converting homes, offices or shops are handled by Surrey's borough and district councils. Each borough and district will have its own procedure for deciding planning applications.


The application will be assessed against policies in the Minerals and Waste Development Framework, which includes the Surrey Minerals Plan and Surrey Waste Plan, the policies in the relevant borough or district Local Plan and any Neighbourhood Plan. Relevant government planning policy, such as the National Planning Policy Framework, and guidance will also be considered.

Our minerals and waste plans can viewed at Woodhatch Place, Quadrant Court, in your local library or online. Your local borough or district council will also have copies of these plans and their own plans available for public viewing. If you wish to see any of these documents, please check on their availability before visiting.

Feedback from statutory and non-statutory consultees will be taken into account and representations from members of the public will also be considered. Where appropriate the applicant will be given the opportunity to address any concerns before the decision is made and if necessary further rounds of re-consultation will take place.


The County Council may grant, grant with conditions, or refuse planning applications. Applications are determined by one of the following:

Planning Manager under delegated powers

Many applications, especially those of a minor nature, are decided by the Council's Planning Manager under powers delegated by the Planning and Regulatory Committee under the council's Constitution (section 3A).

The case officer reviews the application, considers all comments and representations made, consultee responses, and prepares a report summarising the application and the issues it raises. This report is then reviewed and signed-off by a senior member of the Planning team.

Planning and Regulatory Committee

The Planning and Regulatory Committee is made up of elected County Councillors. If an application goes to this committee they consider the case officer's report and make the final decision on an application. Reasons why a decision is made by the committee instead of under delegated powers include:

  • A full planning application that has five or more separate objections.
  • A Member requests an application to go to the Planning and Regulatory Committee.

Letters from the public are also available for members of the Planning and Regulatory Committee to read if they wish.

Planning and Regulatory Committee papers are available five working days before the meeting. The Planning and Regulatory Committee meetings are normally held at Woodhatch Place. The meetings are open to the public. Fire and safety considerations determine the number of people who can attend meetings, so when a proposal attracts considerable interest alternative arrangements have to be made to accommodate those wishing to listen to the proceedings.

Having your say

You can have your say to the Planning and Regulatory Committee if you have made a representation on an application that is going to the committee. Details can be found in our "Have your say - speaking at Committee" leaflet. This leaflet is given to all those who write making representations on an application whether by letter, email or using our online register (and provide a full postal address). You can also request it by calling us on 03456 009 009 or email

Secretary of State

Some applications may need to be referred to the Secretary of State so they can decide whether it should be 'called in', for example where we are minded to permit over the objection of certain statutory consultees or the application is contrary to certain policy; this can lead to a delay in the decision being issued. Applications of significant or strategic importance may also be 'called in' without this referral. Further information about called in applications is available from the Ministry of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

What was the decision?

Information about decisions on planning applications and appeals is available from our online register. For applications decided on or after 1 December 2005 this will include a full copy of the statutory decision notice and a copy of the planning officer report on planning applications decided by the County Council. The copy of the decision notice online is as equally binding as the original, but for security reasons the signature has been removed.

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