Planning permission is generally required before starting any development.
We deal with planning applications that relate to minerals, waste or Somerset County Council developments such as schools, libraries, social care developments and new roads.
Your local planning authority (district council) should be able to advise you of other types of developments including extensions, residential and business developments. We also monitor conditions imposed on our planning consents and investigate complaints about alleged breaches of conditions or unauthorised activities, as do the district councils in Somerset for the developments they act as the planning authority for.
Under planning law development is defined as:
- The carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land.
The exception are those developments that fall under Permitted Development Rights listed in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.
When we consider any planning application, we follow a procedure that is established by statute. This allows us to consult with other county councils, district councils, government departments and other statutory authorities.
Planning applications are advertised by posting a notice at the proposed development site and in some cases advertising in the local press. Owners and occupiers of properties neighbouring proposed development sites are also informed of proposals by letter.
Decisions on any application submitted to us are taken by elected members who sit on the Regulation Committee or by the Corporate Director under delegated authority.
Anyone can submit an application for planning permission for a waste or mineral development, however, applications for a county council development can only be submitted by applicants or agents working on behalf of the County Council.
Applicants and agents are advised to refer to the Environment Agency’s Local Flood Risk Standing Advice for Somerset before making a planning application.
Applications for a waste or County Council development must be made on the National Planning Application Forms (1APP) which are available online at the National Planning Portal’s website.
As mineral applications are not part of the National Planning Application Forms, applications for these developments should be made by either using our own online forms or by downloading the forms from the Apply for planning permission for a minerals development page.
Planning fees are set by Government and vary according to the type and size of development proposed.
Planning Control - Code of Planning Practice
The former Protocol for Conduct in Planning Control adopted in 2004 has been updated, and was approved by Somerset County Council on 12 November 2008.
The document sets out our code of planning practice to provide a clear statement of the expectation of conduct, and procedures to be followed, so that decisions are made and can be seen to have been made in a proper manner.
As well as providing guidance, the Code is intended to strengthen the trust between us (as decision maker) and those who are affected by planning decisions. It covers both the pre-application process as well as the actual determination of applications.
The new document takes into account the revised Code of Conduct, other Codes and Protocols (for example the Planning Control Pre-Application Advice Protocol) and guidance such as the Association of Council Secretaries and Solicitors Model Members Planning Code of Conduct. As a result it reflects an up-to-date position on how we should administer the Planning function.