Introduction to town and country planning

How does the planning system work in Surrey?

Planning applications relating to building new homes or offices, or house extensions, are usually decided by the district and borough councils. If the development is large or likely to affect the road network, then the district or borough council may ask for our comments. We will make a recommendation on whether permission should be granted, or granted with certain conditions attached, to the district or borough council which makes the final decision.

We decide on three main types of planning decisions:

  • those relating to mineral extraction like sand, gravel or clay. Policies to control mineral working across Surrey are set down in the Surrey Minerals Plan, which was adopted by the council in July 2011.
  • those relating to the handling or disposal of waste from homes and commercial premises. The policies to decide these are held in the Surrey Waste Local Plan, which was adopted by the council in December 2020.
  • those involving developments to council property or which are needed so we can provide specific services to the people of Surrey - like schools or fire stations.

Guides to planning

If you want to find out more about how the planning system works in England the following may be helpful:

  • Plain English guide to the planning system
    The plain English guide explains how the planning system in England works. It is intended to give an overview only and does not set new planning policy or guidance. Published in 2015 it may not reflect the latest planning framework or guidance.
  • National Planning Policy Framework
    The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was first published in March 2012 and most recently updated in July 2021. This sets out the government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.
  • Planning practice guidance
    The collection of planning practice guidance categories.

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