Planning Applications

About Planning Committee

Planning Committee meetings are usually held on the first Wednesday of every month at the Council offices, The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely.  Planning Committee is a public meeting.

The Planning Committee agenda is published at least three working days before the meeting and you can also see the working file during that period.  Details of meeting dates and agendas, where available, can be found on this website.  A copy of the agenda is also available at main reception and public libraries.

Planning Committee usually deals with those planning applications not already approved by officers in accordace with their delegated powers, plus some other items, e.g. enforcement action.

  District Councillors on the Planning Committee must consider each planning application on its merits, taking account of current legislation and planning policies.  You may wish to check with the case officer to see whether the application in which you are interested is to be considered by the Planning Committee.

View Planning Committee Councillor Membership

Written Representations

If you have made a written representation about a planning application that is going to Committee, your written comments will be summarised within the agenda papers and considered by the Committee.  As the meetings are open to the public you may attend the meeting just to see what happens. The Council also operates a public speaking process.

Relevant Ward Councillors are consulted on all planning applications within their Ward and are allowed to make comments on them.  Parish/Town Councils and relevant National/Statutory Bodies are also consulted on planning applications and their comments are considered. 

Relevant/Irrelevant Issues

The relevant issues will vary with the nature of the proposal and site, but may include the following:

  • Structure and Local Plan policies
  • Government planning guidance
  • Planning law and previous decisions
  • Highway safety and traffic
  • Noise, disturbance and smells
  • Residential amenity
  • Design appearance and layout
  • Impact on trees, listed buildings and conservation areas.

Irrelevant issues will vary from case to case but the following may be considered irrelevant:

  • Matters covered by other laws
  • Boundary or area disputes
  • The developers morals or motives
  • Suspected future development
  • Loss of view over other people’s land
  • Effect on value of property
  • Personal matters

Speaking at Planning Committee

It is possible for members of the public to speak at Planning Committee.  For more information about how to arrange this, please view our Speaking at Planning Committee information, which will give you details about what you need to do to register.

You can also download our leaflet using the link below, which explains about speaking at Planning Committee.

Making a Planning Application

Do I need permission? (Householder/Domestic)

If you are considering making alteration or improvements to your home, you can check to see if planning permission is required, by using the Planning Portal's Do I need permission webpage, here you will find an 'Interactive House', 'Interactive Terrace' and Mini Guides to common projects.

Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission. If you live in a house (but not a flatted property), you can make certain types of minor changes to your home without needing to apply for planning permission. These rights are called "Permitted Development Rights" (PD Rights).

In certain circumstances your property may have its ‘PD Rights’ removed.  This could be by any of the following:

  • A Condition when permission was originally granted for your dwelling;
  • An Article 4 Direction (these are made by the Council when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a Direction);
  • The property is a Listed Building;
  • The property is within a Conservation Area;

If you are in doubt about any restriction on your house, you should contact the Planning Department for clarification.  If there is a restrictive Covenant on your house/estate, this would be separate issue from any planning aspects.  You should seek your own legal advice on such Covenants.

N.B. It is your responsibility for seeking or not seeking planning permission. If it is required, planning permission should be granted before any work begins. Whether or not you require planning permission, you may still require Building Control approval. Please see our Building Control pages for more information

Do I need permission? (Commercial)

If you own a commercial unit and are considering making any alterations or improvements to your property, you should check with the Local Planning Authority prior to undertaking any works.

The Process

Once your application has been received and validated, it will be assigned to a Planning Officer who will deal with your application. You or your agent/architect (if you have employed one) should then receive a letter advising you of the timescales for a decision and details of the officer dealing with your application.

N.B. Please be aware, if you have provided us with agent/architect details ALL correspondence will be made with them.

Timetable

The LPA strives to make a decision on all standard applications within 8 weeks, or 13 weeks in the case of major applications. Consultations normally take up to 28 days from the date the application was registered. You can find out key dates relating to your application by:

SUBMISSION

Electronic Submission

You can submit a planning application to the LPA online through the Planning Portal. Everything required for submission is available through their website; you will need to upload any plans and/or supporting documents. the Planning Portal allows you to:

  • Complete an application on line;
  • Calculate and pay the application fee;
  • Purchase location plans;
  • Attach any necessary plans and information.
Manual Submission

You can download and print the necessary application forms and guidance from the application form page of this website. You will need to submit 2 copies of ALL paperwork (4 copies for a major application), including forms, plans and any supporting information.

REQUIREMENTS

When an application is submitted, the Development Services Support Team will register it. They will check to ensure that all the necessary information has been submitted to allow the application to be validated and assigned to a Planning Officer.

A validation checklist should accompany all applications. It is essential that applicants use this to ensure they submit all of the required information.

For every applicaion, you will need to submit:

  • A completed application form;
  • A block plan of the site at a scale of 1:100 or 1:200'
  • A location plan of the site at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 with the site outlined in red and any adjoining land under the same ownership outlined in blue, this plan must show a scale and north indicator;
  • Existing and proposed plans to a recognisable scale.

Where additional information/plans are required for specific types of applications, these will be listed on the specific checklist for that application type. Please read the checklist and guidance notes carefully to avoid delays in validating your application.

N.B. Officers are unable to chekc your application for you. If you are unable to complete the application yourself, you should employ an agent/architect to do so on your behalf.

Ordnance Survey Maps

The LPA is not able to supply OS maps to accompany planning applications. Maps must be from a licensed provider and can be purchased online through the Planning Portal. Maps can also be purchased from the following stores:

  • Blackwells, 20 Trinity Street, Cambridge (T: 01223463214)
  • Cambridge Copy Studio Ltd, 3 Clifton Road, Cambridge (T: 01223 211554)
  • Mail Boxes Etc Cambridge, 23 King Street, Cambridge (T: 01223 361601)
Design, Access and Heritage Statements

Where a Design and Access or Heritage Statement is required, you can find the necessary forms and guidance from the following pages:

The Council has produced templates for both that should be used to produce acceptable statements.

Planning Applications - Householder

Do I need Planning Permission (Domestic/Householder)?

There are a number of issues to consider before an answer can be given.

Some minor alterations and extensions, particularly to houses, can often be carried out without the need for planning permission. If you live in a house (but not a flatted property), you can make certain types of minor changes to your home without needing to apply for planning permission. These rights are called "Permitted Development Rights" (PD Rights).

In certain circumstances your property may have its ‘PD Rights’ removed.  This could be by any of the following:

  • A Condition when permission was originally granted for your dwelling
  • An Article 4 Direction (these are made by the Council when the character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened. They are most common in conservation areas. You will probably know if your property is affected by such a Direction).
  • The property is a Listed Building
  • The property is within a Conservation Area

The Planning Portal’s 'Do I need Permission?' is a useful webpage, here you will find an 'Interactive House', 'Interactive Terrace' and Mini Guides to common projects.

If you are in doubt about any restriction on your house, you should contact the Planning Department for clarification.  If there is a restrictive Covenant on your house/estate, this would be separate issue from any planning aspects.  You should seek your own legal advice on such Covenants.

Pre-Application Advice

When your development project is one that cannot be carried out under PD rights, our Development Management Team actively encourages pre-application discussions, as this is often helpful in ensuring that your application is dealt with as smoothly as possible when formally submitted. It should also enable any potential planning issues to be identified so that you can address them in your application.  A charge is made for this advice, payable in advance.  Please visit our Pre Application pages for further details.

Even if a planning application is not required, but you would like confirmation that this is the case, you can apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Development. This does need a fee, but it may be helpful if you subsequently wish to sell your house, and the buyer needs assurances that any works to the dwelling will not be subject to enforcement action.

Important Notes:

It is your responsibility for seeking, or not seeking, planning permission. If it is required, planning permission should be granted before any work begins.

Whether you require planning permission or not, you may still require Building Regulations approval. Go to our Building Control pages to find out more.

If you require further information please contact us via our Customer Services Team. Details of our opening times can be found on our contact page.

Planning Applications - The Process

Once your application has been received and validated, it will be assigned to a planning officer who will deal with your application.  If you have an agent acting on your behalf, any correspondence about your application will be with them direct.

Who Makes the Decision on a Planning Application?

Decisions can be delegated, that is, taken by senior professionally qualified officers within Development Services, or by the Planning Committee comprising 13 District Councillors (which normally meets on the first Wednesday of each month).  Currently the Council determines approximately 80% of all applications using delegated powers.

Decision Timescale

The Council strives to make a decision within 8 weeks or 13 weeks for major applications. Consultations normally take up to 28 days from the registration of your application. You may find it useful to contact your case officer about 4 weeks into your application to check progress. Alternatively you can find out the key dates relating to your application by:

  • Visiting our Public Access website to view your application online.
  • Email the Council to request an update from the Case Officer, or check with your agent if you one have acting on your behalf.
  • Telephone Development Services Customer Support on 01353-665555
  •  Visit the Council offices at The Grange, Nutholt Lane, Ely, Cambs, CB7 4PL during the following hours:
    • 0845 - 1700 Mon-Thurs
    • 0845 - 1630 Fri

What Happens Once a Planning Application has been Approved?

A formal decision notice will be sent to you or your agent, or you if you are not using an agent within a few days of the decision being made. This notice will include the date of the decision and any conditions relating to the consent. You should check the conditions of your consent carefully, as there are often further details (such as samples) of materials that need to be submitted to the Council and agreed in writing before development can lawfully commence.

If conditions have been applied you may need to provide further information to the Council. There is a fee for submitting such information - £28 for householder applications (eg. an extension) and £97 for all other applications (eg. a new house). This fee applies each time information is submitted; you may therefore wish to provide all the information needed in one go, to avoid having to pay the fee more than once.

Failure to comply with conditions can result in formal action against you and may also invalidate your planning permission.

What Happens if a Planning Application is Refused?

A formal decision notice will be sent to you or your agent within a few days of the decision being made. This notice will include the reason(s) for your application being refused.

Applicant’s have a right of appeal (Go to appeal section of this site), however, there is no right of appeal for third parties such as neighbours.

You are recommended to contact the case officer to discuss whether or not revised proposals may be acceptable prior to considering an appeal.

What Happens if a Planning Permission is not Taken Up?

Planning permissions are valid for a specified time from the date of the decision, depending on the type of application and/or conditions that may apply. If an application is not commenced before the expiry date, then the planning permission lapses any further development on the site would need to be the subject of a new application.

Planning Applications Online

Visitors to the Council's website can now view planning applications online using the "Public Access" Internet Service. This service allows you to:

  • view details about planning & tree work applications being considered by the Council,
  • monitor progress of applications,
  • submit comments (See our Submitting Comments page)
  • Make an objection
  • View Screening & Scoping opinion requests (for information only)

The information is constantly updated and includes a weekly list facility of live, and decided, applications. Hopefully, Public Access is user friendly, but we have produced a guide to help you through the steps:

Public Access User Guide

Please note that any information provided by individuals submitting planning applications and/or providing comments on planning applications, will be published on the Councils website.

Go to the Public Access online service

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

Plans, drawings and materials submitted to the Council are protected by Copyright (Section 47, 1988 Act). You may only use material which is downloaded and/or printed, for consultation purposes, to compare current application with previous schemes, or to check whether development has been completed in accordance with approved plans. Further copies must not be made without prior permission of the Copyright Owner.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION - Please note the following:

  • In order to use the facilities provided by Public Access you will need to use Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 5 or newer if you wish to use the map element of the site. Other browsers are supported for non-map based usage.
  • Public access to planning applications is available online between 7am and 12 midnight daily.
  • This online service continues to be developed, and at present is showing documents received after 1 April 2009. If you wish to see the full case file, please contact the Council's offices to arrange an appointment.
  • Limited constraint information is available, but there may be information not displayed, so you are advised to contact Development Services for more details.
  • Historical application information is incomplete and must not be used as an alternative to carrying out a formal Land Charge Search.
  • Details of previous applications currently dates back to 1991. No responsibility will be taken for any errors/omissions in the planning history.
  • Please note decision notices are only available in PDF format from 2005 onwards.

Please take a look at our user guide to help you make the best use of Public Access.

Under normal circumstances the plans and documents associated with new planning applications will be able to be viewed within 5 working days of receipt of the application. If none are displayed at the time you look, you may wish to try a few days later or if you do not have access to a computer at home, you are able to use the public computers at the Council Offices during normal office hours.  Alternatively, an appointment can be made to view the working file by contacting the Support Team on 01353 665555 or via email bcplcopies@eastcambs.gov.uk and give 48 hours notice of which file you wish to view, including the planning reference number.

Every effort is made to ensure the accuracy of property data. However, if you find a problem relating to a property address, please email our ICT support staff with the relevant details and they will look into the matter for you.

Planning Guidance Notes

Pre-Application Discussion Process

It is advisable to enter into preliminary discussions with the Local Planning Authority prior to submitting any planning applicaion. East Cambridgeshire District Council introduced a formal pre-application advice service in 2010 - the application form and fees can be found below:

Please note that new fees have been introduced from 1st April 2014.

The purpose of pre-application advice is to guide applicants through the issues and policies relevant to their scheme. Officers will also advise on how issues should be approached and give an indication of whether a scheme is likely to be successful. Applicants should be aware that officers cannot always foresee every issue that may arise during the course of any planning applicaion.

N.B. The Pre-application service is not intended to deal with Permitted Development (PD) enquiries. If you require conformation of PD rights you should apply for a Certificate of Lawful Development. You can complete Form 15 from the application form page or alternatively you can apply on line via the Planning Portal. For more information please contact the Duty Planning Officer.