The County Council's Planning Committee decides on complex and contentious planning applications. Smaller and less contentious applications are decided by planning officers under delegated powers in consultation with the Chairman of the Planning Committee.

All planning applications are considered against current planning policy as set out in the Development Plan and Government guidance on National Planning Framework. The Development Plan consists of the Minerals and Waste Local Development Framework and Local Plans prepared by city and district councils. Planning legislation requires applications to be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless there are planning reasons not to do so. Other relevant factors (known as 'material considerations') must also be taken into account.

The council will seek the view of other interested parties such as district councils, parish councils, local residents and government agencies, such as the Environment Agency and Natural England. As part of this process the occupiers of neighbouring land/properties are informed about the planning proposals.

Planning Committee meetings are usually held every month at Shire Hall, Cambridge.

Only elected members of the Planning Committee are allowed to vote on an application. The committee is guided in its decision by advice from planning officers. Copies of committee reports are usually published 6 working days before the date of the meeting.

How long does it take to gain planning permission?

The council will aim to issue a decision notice on small scale non-controversial applications within the statutory 8 week period from the date of receipt of a valid planning application.

For more complex proposals the council may need to undertake additional consultations/negotiations before the application is ready to be considered by the Planning Committee. In such circumstances planning officers may seek the voluntary agreement of the applicant to extend the determination timescale by a specified amount, to allow sufficient time for resolution of any outstanding planning issues. Alternatively, the council will aim to determine the majority of non-Environmental Statement applications within a 13 week period from receipt of a valid application.

For applications accompanied by Environmental Statements the council will aim to issue a decision notice within the statutory 16 week period from the date of receipt of a valid planning application following the process of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

The complexity of the issues associated with many mineral and waste applications - for example, noise, archaeology, ecology and traffic - means that further supporting information may be required from the applicant, involving further public consultation and technical assessment. This can affect the decison-making timescales for these types of applications.

Planning application appeals

Planning permission applicants for mineral and waste development can submit an appeal to the Secretary of State in the following circumstances:

  • in respect of a refusal of planning permission by the council
  • in respect of the failure of the council to determine a planning application within the timescale agreed with the applicant in respect of the imposition of a planning condition which the applicant considers restricts the development to an unacceptable degree

A record of current planning appeals is lodged with the Planning Inspectorate.

Please note there is no right of appeal in respect of council planning applications (ie schools, county roads and libraries).

Unauthorised land development

A landowner in receipt of an Enforcement Notice served by the council may also appeal to the Secretary of State. To find out more go to the GOV.UK website.

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