4. How is our decision made?
Once we've received a planning application we will publicise the proposal so that people have the chance to express their views. This includes things like site notices and letters to neighbours and parish councils.
The formal consultation period will normally last for 21 days. Anyone may comment on a planning application during this period. Written comments will be taken into account when we make a decision on the application, so long as they are relevant to the proposal and 'material' to the planning application.
We will also consult other organisations such as the Environment Agency, Natural England, and Historic England in order that other important considerations and concerns are taken into account.
Many issues can be 'material considerations', but in broad terms these should relate to the use and development of land. As a general principle, the planning system works in the public interest and matters that affect solely private interests are not usually material considerations in planning decisions. However, each application is considered on its merits.
Planning officers usually decide smaller developments under delegated decision-taking powers. Larger and more controversial developments are decided by our planning committee, the Regulatory Board. Further information about the Board, agenda papers and minutes can be found on the above link.
Register to speak at a Planning Meeting
The Regulatory Board meets at the Civic Centre about once a month, usually on a Wednesday at 7pm. If you are the applicant or agent or have made a written representation on a proposal, you have the right to speak at the Regulatory Board.
You'll need to make sure you register with us if you want to speak. You need to do this no later than midday on the working day before the meeting. For example, for a meeting on a Wednesday evening you must register to speak by midday on the Tuesday.
You can register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, by phoning 01474 337302, or by sending a letter to:
Committee & Electoral Services, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU
You can find further information in the Regulatory Board Your Right to Speak Guidance Notes.
What happens next?
We usually have up to eight weeks to make a decision on minor applications, which include most householder cases, and up to 13 weeks for major development, such as large housing or business sites. Generally, once planning permission is granted, development must be started within three years. If work has not started by then, the applicant will probably need to reapply.
The National Planning Policy Framework places emphasis on the need for local planning authorities to approach decision-taking in a positive way to support the delivery of sustainable development. We work with applicants to secure developments that improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of our area.
The planning system is plan-led and any planning application must be determined in line with the development plan (Local and neighbourhood plans) unless other material considerations indicate otherwise.
We can consider whether otherwise unacceptable development could be made acceptable through the use of conditions or a planning obligation attached to a planning decision.