How are planning applications decided?

District and borough councils deal with planning applications for building, extending or converting homes, offices or shops. Each district and borough will have its own process for deciding applications.

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

The County Council may permit, permit 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 more than five 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 in the Ashcombe Suite at County Hall, Kingston upon Thames. 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 form (and provide a full postal address). You can download a the leaflet, request by calling us on 03456 009 009 or email

Secretary of State

Major applications of strategic importance may be "called in" by the Secretary of State for him to decide. Further information about called in applications is available from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

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 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.