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How applications are assessed

Who assesses a planning application and how?

No matter what a planning application is for, it goes through the same basic approval procedure. However, different types of application are determined against different policies and by different people - the 'who' and 'how' of planning:

Application for Change of Use of land or buildings

  • Who: The planning authority (a district council or unitary authority)
  • How: Applications are assessed against the policies in the Local Plan and other material considerations. The content of these documents needs to be compatible with Government planning policy.

Application for new road or expansion of an existing road

  • Who: The highway authority (county council, unitary authority or metropolitan borough) if it's a local road; the secretary of state for transport if it's a trunk road or motorway scheme.
  • How (major road): Applications for motorway and trunk road schemes are assessed against planning policies at the regional and local level. But the processes for deciding on the proposal is governed by the Highways Act 1980.
  • How (local road): Local road schemes fall under the land use planning system. Therefore, applications are assessed against the policies in the Local Plan and other material considerations. The content of these documents needs to be compatible with the Government's planning policies.

Application for a new quarry, or an extension to an existing quarry

  • Who: The minerals planning authority, which is the county council or unitary authority.
  • How: The main policy document is the minerals development framework. It needs to be compatible with the Government's mineral planning statements. The Local Plan will also be relevant.

Planning application concerning the management of waste

  • Who: The waste planning authority (the county council or unitary authority), in most cases. Some applications will be decided by the local planning authority (a district council or unitary authority).
  • How: The waste planning authority produces a waste development framework and proposals will be tested against the policies in this and other material considerations. The Local Plan will also be relevant.