Validating and deciding on applications
We recommend seeking pre-application advice before submitting a planning application to save unnecessary delays
Upon receipt of your application, the planning merits of your proposal will be pre-assessed at the same time as checking the technical accuracy and completeness of the application. Typically the site will be visited at this stage.
Please be aware that there may be an interval of up to 3 weeks following the receipt of your application for pre-assessment to take place. This period of time will be much reduced if you have obtained and followed advice given by us at pre-application stage.
This new approach of seeking pre-application advice provides advice early if a proposal cannot be supported. It gives the opportunity for amendment at an earlier stage, prior to publicising the application, and avoids delays caused by having to re-publicise as well as reducing the possibility of an eventual refusal.
When we receive your application, we will check to make sure we have all the information we need to make a decision on the application. We will acknowledge your application when it is valid and provide details of any fees paid. The acknowledgement correspondence will identify the case officer who will deal with the application and advise you of the target date for deciding it.
All applications are displayed on Public Access so that progress can be monitored electronically.
Plans are available to view in paper format at either:
- Adur applications:
Adur Civic Centre,
- Worthing applications:
44 Richmond Road,
What if your application is not technically accurate?
The planning merits of your proposal will be pre-assessed at the same time as checking the technical accuracy and completeness of the application. Typically the site will be visited at this stage we will contact you usually by letter or email requesting the missing information, amendments or further information required.
Please return this information within 21 days of the request.
We may also seek specialist comments from other departments within the Council and external bodies on matters such as highway access and safety, effects on the environment and flood risk. This is part of the decision making process.
All applications are publicised on our website so that progress can be monitored by the public, applicants and agents electronically. Paper copies are also available from:
- Adur Civic Centre,
- Portland House,
44 Richmond Road,
Some applications may also be advertised in the local press. Comments are open to public inspection and are available to view on the website. They are exempt from the Data Protection Act, however, we will endeavour not to include personal telephone numbers, email addresses or signatures on the website.
The case officer will take many issues into account when considering an application:
- Local and national planning policies,
- Views of other council services like Environmental Health,
- Views of county council services like Highways,
- Views of external bodies like The Environment Agency,
- Comments received from local people - (objecting to an application will not automatically mean that it will be refused).
The case officer will then come to a balanced view.
Decisions on most planning applications are made by the Council’s planning officers under delegated powers.
However, if the proposal is major or very controversial it will usually be referred to the Planning Committee for a decision. If the application is to be determined by the Planning Committee and you have made representations you will receive written notification of the date, time and venue for the meeting. You will also be given the opportunity to speak at the meeting.
The Council's Scheme of Delegation also enables local Members to request, not more than 28 days after the application is validated, that an application is brought before the Planning Committee if there are valid planning reasons for doing so. You can find your local councillors on the website.
Larger, more complex or controversial applications may be decided by the Planning Committee made up by Councillors. Councillors will receive a report which includes details of representations which have been made and the issues raised, together with the officer’s recommendation. There will also be a presentation of the application by an officer, usually with plans and photos of the site.
After the application becomes valid we aim to issue a decision for householder, advert, tree preservation order (TPO), change of use and other small scale applications within 8 weeks, and 13 weeks in the case of a major application. But this can sometimes be affected by available resources and number of applications received as well as whether the application has to be decided at a Planning Committee.
The Councils aim to make the best decision in each case although this might not always be the quickest.
Once a decision has been made on an application we send out the Decision Notice to the applicant or agent on the day the decision is made. The Notice will set out the reasons for approval or refusal of the application and, if permission has been granted, any conditions with which you have to comply.
The Decision Notice will also be made available on Public Access. However we no longer send out letters informing objectors of the decision.
There are no rights of appeal for third parties (objectors) who are unhappy with the planning decision. We will however explain the reason for the decision and how your comments were taken into account.
If you feel that your application has been unreasonably refused there are two courses of action open to you:
- Amend and re-submit your application within 12 months of the decision without paying a further fee (you can only have one further attempt for no additional fee), or,
- Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate within 12 weeks for a householder application or six months for other application types from the date of the decision, following the guidance detailed in the decision notice.
Non material amendments (very minor) can be made to your planning permission without the need to make another application. The changes have to be small and must not change your permission in any significant way.
You should complete the Non Material Amendments Form. This should be submitted with the revised drawings (with the changes highlighted). If you wish to make more significant changes or to amend or remove a condition, you will have to make a new application.
Adur & Worthing Councils,
44 Richmond Road,