Understanding the Planning System
The council’s Development Control service is responsible for all decisions ranging from major sites such as Brighton Marina to householder extensions and changes of use. Development Control's decisions are guided by a number of documents.
National Planning Policy and Guidance
The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government’s planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied.The NPPF must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions
The National Planning Practice Guidance adds further context to the NPPF. The NPPG replaces over 7,000 pages of planning guidance that was previously published in separate documents. It is now available entirely in one place, online. You can sign up for email alerts on any changes the Government makes to it in the future.
The guidance is a ‘material consideration’ when taking decisions on planning applications. This means that if a local policy is deemed out of date, local authorities may be directed by the national guidance’s requirements
A number of pieces of guidance relates to the planning application process including:
- When is permission required?
- Before submitting an application
- Making an application
- Consultation and pre-decision matters
- Determining a planning application
- Use of Planning Conditions
- Planning obligations
- Flexible options for planning permissions
- Ensuring effective enforcement
- Lawful development certificates
General Guidance from DCLG
DCLG have produced a useful Plain English Guide to the planning system (January 2015) [PDF, 331 kb]
The City Council produces a development plan, based on planning laws, government guidance and local priorities, together with national laws and guidance, and local policies and guidance found in SPGs and SPDs, it is used by Development Control when assessing applications.
- Brighton & Hove Local Plan (Adopted 2005) -Most policies are 'saved'. Some policies in the plan will be superceded by the City Plan Part One when it is adopted in 2016.
- City Plan Part One (likely to be adopted early 2016) - provides the overall strategic vision for the future of Brighton & Hove and identifies the broad locations, scale and types of development needed together with the supporting infrastructure.
- City Plan Part Two (work commencing on this in 2016) - will provide site allocations and development management policies
- Waste and Minerals Plan (adopted February 2013) [5.04 MB, PDF] and Waste and Minerals Sites Plan Submission 2015 [PDF, 11.4 MB]
- Neighbourhood Plans - There are a number of neighbourhood plans in preparation in the city. When a neighbourhood plan has passed examination, achieved successful local support through referendum and is then formally ‘made’ by the Local Planning Authority, it will form part of the statutory ‘development plan’ and used by the council in deciding planning applications.
Types of development proposals
The following types of development may require a planning application submission to the city council;
- building a garage or extension
- constructing new buildings such as offices or homes
- changing the use of existing land or buildings, or altering buildings, for example adding new shop fronts or replacing windows
- changing landscaping, such as making a new children’s play area
- displaying advertisements
- working on protected trees
- putting up temporary structures
More information can be obtained on the Government's Planning Portal website. If there is any question whether you need planning permission or not, you can apply for a ‘Lawful Development Certificate’ to prove to anyone, such as a prospective purchaser, that your development is within the law. Apply online here.
An application for planning permission will either be approved or refused, based on planning laws, guidance, and policies.
- approvals may be subject to conditions reasons must be given, and there is a right of appeal
- approvals may be subject to a legal agreement
Written confirmation should always be obtained from the development control team where certainty is needed regarding the necessity of a planning application.
The Investigation and Enforcement Service
The Investigation and Enforcement Service is the part of Development Control that takes action against unlawful development.