In a post-Covid world, there appear to be extensive delays in most local authority planning departments. Gone are the days where you could easily call a planning officer and discuss proposals with them. Call back requests have to be logged and officers are expected to return calls within set time frames – albeit this does not always happen.
Where does that leave matters with your potential planning application and how long it takes to get planning?
The honest answer is how long is a piece of string – it varies from application to application and although most applications should be determined in 8 weeks unless they are unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks, due to ongoing workloads this can easily be increased with planning officers asking for extensions on the statutory timeframes.
Local councils can often take a few weeks to validate applications and worse still find what can appear to be spurious reasons to delay validation to help manage their internal workloads – this is why it is important to allow your architectural team to get the package for planning right at the outset to hopefully mitigate any delays in validation.
Requirements change frequently and each council has different requirements to validate applications. It is worth noting validation officers are not planners and can miss items so there can be instances where the planning officer can come back and ask for further information once they start their assessment.
At Formed we seek to chase the assigned planning officer after the initial consultation period has ended – normally 3 weeks from validation and seek to work with them to get to a positive outcome in so far as practical.
Doing this allows the officer to ask for any changes before the decision date, possibly make design amendments where needed to help ensure that your application is approved.
It currently takes on average about 10 weeks to get a decision on a small typical planning application. Due to lockdown a lot of councils have a lot of backlog and planning officers often now request for extension of time on most applications from the standard 8 week timeframe.
Due to this it is hard to say how long a decision will take at the moment, but your architect should push & chase the officer for a decision date.
In the case that your planning application is refused, amended drawings to suit the officers report can be resubmitted to the council with no further council fees to be paid within 12 months of the decision to your first application.
However, if you feel that the refusal was unreasonable or a decision has not been made within 8 weeks without an agreed extension of time, an appeal can be made with the Secretary of State within 6 months of the date on the decision notice or in a case where a decision has not been determined 6 months from the date the decision should have been made.
Please note this by no means is a quick process and can take upwards of up to 26 weeks, this should be a last result if no alternatives can be considered and implications and costs of this discussed with your architectural team.
Formed Architects are extremely experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to planning processes. It’s something we do week-in and week-out and we can help whether you need help with architects in Chiswick or even planning permission in Bedford Park. Just get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help!