When is planning permission required?
As you may have noticed, planning law is very complicated. Most forms of development or changes of use require planning permission but there are exceptions. Guidelines can be found on the Planning Portal or on the Authority’s pre-application advice page, which should hopefully guide you through these exceptions.
Q. Who can make a planning application?
A. Anyone can make a planning application, but if you don’t own the land or it is rented out to a farmer then you must serve notice on any owner or farmer concerned. Questions relating to this issue are included in the application form.
Q. What application form do I use?
Q. How much does it cost?
A. The Government sets a sliding rate of fees which can be found on our current rates page. Please keep checking this page as the rates do change annually.
Q. Can I discuss my proposal before I submit a formal planning application?
A. To ensure that we understand what it is you want to do and that you fully understand our reply, we offer a statutory pre-application advice service, and this requires a fee to be paid. We also offer a free Planning Surgery for initial enquiries prior to the pre-application process. This is held every Thursday at the National Park Headquarters at Llanion Park, Pembroke Dock and time slots are limited to 30 minutes.
Q. What happens to my application once I have made it?
A. The application is checked to ensure that we have all the information we need. It is then registered and copies are made and sent out to the Town or Community Council and all the appropriate statutory consultees. The application is also publicised in a number of ways so that your neighbours and others can see what you are proposing.
A case officer is assigned to the application and they will visit the site, view the proposal against the policies of the Development Plan, assess the comments received and determine the application either under the Authority’s delegation system or report the matter to the Development Management Committee.
Q. When does the committee meet?
A. The committee meets every six weeks at Authority’s offices in Llanion Park. A full list of Committee dates is available on our website.
Q. Who sits on the committee?
A. There are 18 members of the committee, 12 are appointed by Pembrokeshire County Council and six by the First Minister. Have a look at our Committee section of the website to find out more about how they work.
Q. Why is my application delegated to officers?
A. The Government is anxious that applications are dealt with as speedily as possible and encourages Local Planning Authorities to delegate the more straightforward applications so that they are not held up. You can read more about this in the delegation scheme document.
Q. How long does all this take?
A. The Government is looking for the majority of ordinary applications to be dealt with within eight weeks. It is our target to deal with 75% of them in this time, but inevitably more complex applications sometimes take a little longer. You will be informed if the Authority needs more time.
Q. Can I speak at the committee meetings?
A. If your application is going to the Development Management Committee then you can speak in support of your proposal, providing that you fill in and submit the necessary forms. However, remember that objectors to your proposal may also exercise their right to speak at the meeting. If you’re still unsure then have a read of the speaking and forms protocol.
Q. What if I don’t like the decision?
A. You can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate who will consider the case again.
Q. How do I find out about other people’s applications?
A. All applications are listed on this website. A site notice will have been erected advising of the proposal and the period within which you can comment. Otherwise certain types of application are advertised in the local press.
Q. Can I comment on other people’s applications?
A. Of course, and the Authority welcomes comments in writing that refer to the planning merits (or otherwise) of the scheme. Any comments are, however, put on the file and are available for anyone to see and may be put on the website. If we put them on the website your details will be hidden/redacted to protect your identity.
Q. Can I speak at committee about someone else’s application?
A. If the application is scheduled to go to committee you can complete the form and attend the meeting to speak. If the application has generated a lot of local interest you might be asked to liaise with others to avoid unnecessary repetition.
Q. What if I think someone is doing something without permission?
A. Contact the office with all the details that you are aware of and ask whether planning permission is needed and if it is, has it been granted. If planning permission is required and has not been sought, a “complaint” file will be opened up. Your identity will not be divulged to the operator or developer but in certain cases you might be asked to keep a record of activity or give evidence should the matter come to court.
Q. Can I complain about the service (as opposed to the decision) I receive?
A. Of course you can. You can do this by following the complaints procedure but please try and sort the matter out with the officer you are dealing with first. A simple misunderstanding may be easier to sort out informally rather than going through the formal process.