The Planning Process
planning road map The Master Plan for Crystal Palace Park has been sent to Bromley Council, the relevant planning authority, for Outline Planning permission. But, what is the planning process, what happens next and when can work begin? Here is an introduction... probably best illustrated by the diagram.

The planning system

The planning system plays an important role in helping protect the environment in our towns and cities and in the countryside.

In England and Wales, a 'plan-led system' outlines what can be built and where.

'Communities and Local Government' sets out national planning policy, but the main responsibilty rests with local planning authorities.

Planning permission and building regulations

Most new buildings or major changes to existing buildings or to the local environment need consent - known as planning permission.

Community involvement

The government is keen that citizens should take an active part in decisions affecting them and their communities.

Personal involvement in planning requires access to information and a willingness to contribute an opinion, either as an individual or in a group.

There are four areas the public can get involved in local planning matters:

  • Planning applications
    • Making your views known
    • There will be a limited amount of time in which to send comments to the local planning office. It is very important to meet any deadline or your submission may not be taken into account. It is possible to attend committee meetings dealing with planning applications. In many cases members of the public can speak briefly to ensure that the committee is aware of their views. However, only elected members of the council can vote on the application decision itself
  • Appeals
    • Commenting on a planning appeal
    • Planning applications are made to the local planning authority - usually the district or borough council. Appeals may be made for a number of reasons, but most are made because the LPA has refused planning permission
  • Local and regional plans
    • Community involvement in planning is one of the key aspects of the government's commitment to reforming the planning system. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act of 2004 introduced a new two-tiered plan system in England operating at regional level (Regional Spatial Strategies) and at local level (Local Development Frameworks). The law requires that both local and regional planning bodies prepare a statement of community involvement, which set out their policy on involving the community in preparing regional spatial strategies, local development documents and consulting on planning applications.
  • Breaches of planning control
    • Regional Spatial Strategies (RSS)
    • A Regional Spatial Strategy is a document that outlines how a strategy for region should look in 15 to 20 years time and possibly longer.
    • Public participation
    • Your Regional Planning Body (RPB) has a statutory duty to prepare and publish a statement of public participation setting out how it is going to involve all those with an interest throughout the Regional Spatial Strategy revision process

The comments above have been selected from the UK Government's online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales - link to THE PLANNING PORTAL (click on logo below-opens in separate window). Use that site to learn, in much more detail, about planning and building regulations, applying for planning permission, finding out about developments near you, appealling against a decision and researching government policy.

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14 March 2008 Last Updated 16/3/08