The questions we get asked most frequently about the planning application process are:

 Q. Do I need planning permission?

If you are looking to make changes to your home, you should fill out a householder development questionnaire. We will then be able to advise you if planning permission is required.  Alternatively, information on planning permission can be found on our website.

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Q. Is my property listed / in a conservation area / Green belt / Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?

Please contact Planning on 01225 394041 who will be happy to advise you. You can also look up if your property is listed on our new Listed Buildings map.  Alternatively, you can email

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 Q. Can I view / have copies of paper plans?

All applications back to 2005 and their associated documents (including plans) are available to view on our online database of applications for you to print off at home, or you can visit one of our branch libraries who can print copies for a small charge.

If you wish to view applications submitted to the council prior to 2005, please email your request to and we will either upload the application to our website and send you the link, if available electronically, or you may have to come into the Bath Records Office at the Guildhall to view the paper files.  We will let you know within 5 working days what we can do for you.

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Q. Can I speak to a case officer regarding a current application?

Yes. If you have received a neighbour notification letter then the case officer and their telephone number will be listed at the bottom of the letter. 

If you have not received a neighbour notification letter, please contact Planning on 01225 394041 who will be able to advise you who the case officer is and pass you through to them if they are in the office.

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Q. I am about to submit an application - can you check for me that I've included the necessary information? 

We are unable to check your application prior to you submitting it to the Council. Once submitted, our registration team will ensure that all the correct plans and documents have been enclosed, to the correct scale and with the appropriate fee. If there are any problems with your application, our registration team will contact you directly and give you the opportunity to correct any mistakes or omissions.

We also offer a pre-application service, find out more about the service on our website.

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Q. Can you give me any planning advice before I submit my application? 

Yes, we offer a pre-application service, find out more on our pre-application advice web page.

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Q. How do I make a planning application?

You can submit a planning application online through the Planning Portal (external link).  A selection of downloadable forms can also be found on our website. Alternatively, you can call us on 01225 394041 and we will send you the correct applications forms. 

We encourage developers/applicants to seek pre-application advice to identify any potential issues prior to formal submission and check our ‘Standard details required for applications’ web page. 

Please note - information provided on the application form and accompanying drawings and documents will be made available on the internet.

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Q. Which application form do I need?

If you are using the Planning Portal (external link) then this will automatically choose the correct application form as part of the process. The Planning Portal website provides the facility to securely submit and pay for an application online. Alternatively, you can submit an application in the post by selecting the relevant downloadable forms from a list of application types.

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Q. Is my planning application going to committee?

If an application is going to committee we will:

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Q. Are there or have there ever been, any planning applications for this property?

Please contact Planning on 01225 394041 who will be happy to advise you.  Alternatively, you can email  You can also search for planning applications on our website.

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Q. How much will my planning application cost? 

Guidance on the cost of all planning applications can be found on our Fees web page.

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Q. How long does it take to make a decision on a planning application? 

Planning Services aims to make a decision on most applications within 8 weeks of receiving a complete and valid application. Large or complex applications may take longer.

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Q. What happens to a planning application?

 Every planning application we receive will follow the same process: 

  1. Application validated by our registration team to ensure correct plans, documents and fees enclosed
  2. Registration then confirmed in writing to applicant
  3. Application considered by either the case officer or the planning committee and decision made
  4. Work commences within 3 years or applicant appeals against decision

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Q. How can I comment upon a planning application? 

Comments on current planning applications are welcomed and can be sent in writing to the appropriate case officer or by email. Alternatively, you can submit comments for a specific application via our online database of applications. Any supporting or objection comment relating to an application should be based on its planning merits and must not contain language that is offensive, abusive or malicious. In all cases please quote the application reference number.  Please note a decision could be issued any time after the 21 days consultation period.

The Council cannot permit or reject an application simply because many people support or oppose it. The Council will instead look to see if the proposal is consistent with the development plan for the area.

Please Note: Comments received will be published on the Council’s website until a decision has been made.  As part of the planning process we collect and publish personal information, please see our corporate privacy notice:  Please note that your name will appear on the Council's Public Access website.  However, the Council endeavours to remove personal contact details such as email address and/or phone number prior to uploading to the web.  Under the provisions of the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, any representations received may be read and copied.

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Q. Why has my application been referred to committee?

In certain cases an application may be referred to the planning committee for decision rather than determined by the case officer. This is normally done if: 

  • The proposal is contrary to the Council’s adopted planning policies
  • If the Parish or Town Council or Ward Member request it

Applicants and registered objectors will be informed in writing if the application is to be referred to committee. This notification will also include details of the venue and time of the meeting. The following people can request to speak at the committee: 

  • Parish and Town Council representative (3 minutes max per proposal)
  • Objectors (3 minutes max per proposal)
  • The applicant, agent and supporters (3 minutes max per proposal) 

To register to speak at a committee, please contact our Democratic Services Team

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Q. How do I appeal against a planning decision?

If you think that the Council’s decision is unreasonable you can appeal to the Secretary of State via the Planning Inspectorate.  Appeals must be made within 6 months of the decision (8 weeks in the case of advertisement applications). 

The Planning Inspectorate

Temple Quay House

2 The Square

Temple Quay



Appeals can take several months to decide and it can often be quicker to discuss with your case officer whether changes to your original proposal would make it more acceptable.

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Q. What other planning services will I be charged for?

The authority is unable to cover the costs of certain services without making the appropriate charge to the customer.  These charges will be reviewed annually.  Check our Charges web page.

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Q. What is the difference between planning permission and building regulation approval?

Planning permission is normally primarily concerned with matters of site layout, external design and the effect that the development will have on the general environment and neighbouring properties. Planning also deal with listed buildings, conservation areas and tree preservation orders.

Building Regulations are concerned with the actual construction process for both internal and external alterations, which involves regular site inspections whilst the works are in progress. This includes checking the structural stability, fire precautions and means of escape, weather resistance, energy conservation, sound insulation, access and facilities for disabled people etc.

Some, though not all types of works may require both approvals, and some may need one or the other. Both sections work independent of each other.

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Q. Can you tell me who owns land, a boundary or fence?

Unfortunately, we do not have this information. You may wish to try checking your deeds or tenancy agreement. If these are not clear or don't cover the land you need information on, there are several places you can go to for further help:

  • the Land Registry to see who owns land
  • a surveyor for Ownership Disputes
  • your solicitor
  • the Citizens Advice Bureau

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Q. What is the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and will I have to pay it?

The Community Infrastructure Levy is a new planning charge, introduced by the Planning Act 2008. It was implemented across Bath & North East Somerset on 6th April 2015 and will help deliver infrastructure to support the development of the area. Development may be liable for a charge under the Community Infrastructure Levy if your proposal creates floorspace through a new building or conversion/change of use. Further information can be found on our CIL Guide for Applicants and Developers web page.

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