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Planning decision making process


Once your application has been received it will be allocated a planning application reference number and will be passed through to one of our planning officers to validate (check that all the necessary documents and plans have been received). 

If you have provided an e-mail address we will use that to communicate with you throughout the process, otherwise we will communicate by post. If you have an agent acting on your behalf, all communication will go to them.

We will write to advise of the application number, the name of the planning officer dealing with it and if the application is valid or not. If it is not valid, we will set out what further information is needed to make it valid.

Once all the information needed has been received an application will be valid and processed. The Planning Portal website provides useful information on the planning application process.



We aim to deal with planning applications within the statutory determination period of 8 weeks for minor applications, 13 weeks for major applications and 16 weeks for applications accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment. 

If we cannot meet these timescale we will aim to contact you to advise why they cannot be met and agree an extension of time once the outstanding issues have been identified.



We notify people who may be affected and other interested parties of planning applications. For most types of applications people have 21 days to share their views, though this is shorter for certain types of applications. Negotiations are carried out if needed and we re-notify people of any changes if necessary. 

Other parties who may be consulted include Parish or Town Councils, other departments of the council (such as Environmental Health or the council's Tree Officer), Lancashire County Council (such as the Highways Department) and other outside bodies such as United Utilities and the Environment Agency as examples.


Site visit

We will visit the site to assess the proposals to allow us to discuss any issues or changes needed.



Planning officers and councillors who determine a planning application are required by law to determine matters in accordance with "The Development Plan" unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The Development Plan in each local council's area is called the Local Plan

The Local Plan prescribes areas where particular types of development are acceptable and designates other areas (such as Green Belt and open countryside) where development is generally discouraged. The plan contains detailed policies relating to design, acceptable uses and other detailed matters. 

We also publish local planning guidance, giving detailed advice on particular planning issues. View our planning policy page for more information.


Material planning considerations

When deciding a planning application, we consider a range of factors including:

  • previous planning decisions on the application site
  • traffic generation from the development proposed
  • road access to the site of the development
  • noise and disturbance resulting from the proposed use/development
  • overlooking and loss of privacy
  • smells generated by the development
  • hazardous materials/ground contamination.

Things we cannot consider when deciding on a planning application include:

  • loss of property value
  • loss of private view
  • private disputes between neighbours (e.g. land ownership)
  • restrictive covenants
  • personal morals or views about the application
  • competition between firms
  • fence lines/boundary positions.

To learn more about how planning applications are decided and the options you have once a decision has been made, visit the decision making process guide on the Planning Portal website.



Planning policy as well as comments made during the consultation process are considered before a decision is made. The planning case officer makes a recommendation on the application and a decision is made either by a senior planning officer or by the planning committee made up of elected councillors.

The planning committee generally deals with large, complex and controversial applications. Householder applications are not dealt with by the planning committee.

You or your agent will be notified if your application is to be determined by the planning committee.

We will send a decision notice to tell you if your application has been approved or refused. If you have provided an e-mail address this will be sent electronically to you or if you have an agent acting on your behalf it will be sent to them. If you have not provided an e-mail address it will be sent by post. The decision will also be available to view on our website.


If your application if refused

If the application is refused, you can contact your case officer to discuss possible amendments to your proposal. If you do not want to make any changes or do not agree with the decision, you can make an appeal

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