What Planning is?

Service Overview

The planning process is used to make decisions about future development and the use of land in our towns, cities and countryside. It decides where development should or should not happen.

Planning also balances competing for demands to make sure that land is used and developed in the long-term public interest. It regulates the use of land by granting or refusing planning permission. These decisions are made concerning the council's Development Plan for the area.

The key parts of the planning process:

Development Plans

The development plan sets out the council's policies and proposals for the use of land in the area. It guides development to the most appropriate locations, whilst ensuring that the quality of the built and natural environment is protected. The plan also sets out how any new improved facilities, such as roads, schools and parks will be provided.

Under the new Planning Act, the Council is required to produce a Local Development Plan.

Development Management

This is the term used for describing whether to grant or refuse planning permission. Planning permission is needed for many forms of development, ranging from installing a satellite dish to building a new housing estate. The planning service deals with around 1000 applications a year. You can learn more about the process of making a planning application, how to apply and how to view and comment on an application.


If something is built without planning permission, or if conditions attached to planning permission are not followed, the council can use enforcement powers to regularise the situation. Enforcement is important in ensuring that everyone stays within planning law and the conditions of their planning permission. Learn more about  Enforcement.

In association with the above, the planning service also has many specialists who are concerned with Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings, Archaeology, and Tree Works.

Planning Blog

Keep up to date with the latest news from our service and for interesting facts about the history of the development of our area on our blog.


PAS offers a free, impartial and confidential planning advice service, provided by specialist volunteers, all of whom are chartered planners.  You can visit the PAS website to access advice.

PAS helps individuals and community groups to get involved in the planning system in an impartial, open and inclusive way.

PAS Planning Helpline: 0300 323 7602.

Last updated: Thursday, December 16, 2021 5:11 PM