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East Riding of Yorkshire Council

Town and parish councils and planning applications

This guidance sets out the role of town and parish councils in the development management process. It considers procedures for good communication with town and parish councils on planning applications.

Role and status of town and parish councils within the planning process

The role of town and parish councils in the planning system is enshrined in legislation, with any parish council being able to request to be consulted on planning applications in your area.  The East Riding of Yorkshire Council assumes that all parish and town councils will wish to be consulted and therefore we do not require you to make a formal request.  We will consult you on: 

  • any relevant planning application; and
  • any significant alteration to that application accepted by the authority.

A 'relevant planning application' means an application which relates to land in the parish and is an application for either planning permission or approval of a matter reserved under an outline planning permission.  We will also consult on applications for Listed Building Consent, Advertisement Consent and applications under the new Permission in Principle/Technical Approval process.   However please note that we will not consult parish councils on applications to discharge conditions attached to a planning application, or applications for the Prior Approval of the Council to specified works.  This is because the principle of development has already been established and the Council is only considering technical matters.

In the case of a planning application on, or close to, a parish council boundary we will notify the neighbouring parish council(s).  We will also notify adjoining parish councils when a “major” application could have implications over a wider area. 

How the planning authority will notify the town or parish council of a planning application  

We will notify you direct when an application is validated.  We will also re-notify you if amended plans are received that require reconsultation.

Responses should be provided within 21 days of the notification to the parish council of the application, or within 14 days in respect of any alteration to that application 

The legislation requires that we must not determine the application unless: 

  • you have notified us that no representations are to be made;
  • we have received your representation; or
  • the 21/14 day period has expired. If you have concerns that you will not be able to respond within the specified time periods  (for example because the next Parish Council meeting is after this date) you should contact the case officer, as it may be possible to agree a later date.  

How the local planning authority will consider comments and objections from town and parish councils

The local planning authority must take into account the representations received from the parish council. However, that does not mean that we will necessarily decide an application as the parish council have indicated they feel it should be decided. This is for several reasons: 

  • we can only take into account planning matters. The comments of parish councils are sometimes not on planning issues (see guidance below on material planning considerations);

  • we may receive professional advice from technical bodies responsible for a particular matter, which may differ from the views of the parish council (for example on drainage or highway safety matters).

  • we have to determine applications in accordance with planning policy at a national and local level, even if the parish council disagree with this'

  • we have to take into account the representations of others apart from the parish council, especially the observations of the consultees, both the statutory consultees and other officers of the council as well as neighbours of the developments, the applicant, etc.

Whilst the representations of the parish councils are important and their views are appreciated, their comments must be considered in the context of the receipt of other observations and against the provisions of development plan policies and material planning considerations. 

The local planning authority has produced separate guidance on commenting on the planning application process.

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Responding to consultations

From July 2015, all parish and town councils will be registered on Consultee Access. Further guidance on Consultee Access can be found on the Consultee Access guidance page.

Training sessions have been offered and delivered across the East Riding to prepare town and parish councils for this way of working and copies of the training presentation and FAQs have been circulated and can be seen below.

Parish councils will be able to express their views via this system, keep track of all consultations and prioritise responses based on target deadlines for each individual application.

In order for parish councils' representations to be fully considered, the local planning authority has produced guidance which assists the Parish Council to clearly illustrate their observations.

As a town or parish council, you may wish to reply in the following way(s):

  • Indicate any observations you wish to make upon the application

  • Recommend that the application should be approved and, if so, why

  • Recommend that, if approved, conditions should be imposed and state what the conditions are

  • Recommend that the application should be refused giving reasons why

  • Should you feel strongly about the application you must request that, if the planning officer is recommending a different decision, it should be referred to the appropriate Committee/Sub-Committee

  • If you have no particular comments to make, you should reply via Consultee Access with "no observations" in order that the consultation is moved from your outstanding consultations list

The National Planning Policy Framework advises that the purpose of planning is to help achieve sustainable development and places a presumption in favour of such development. It emphasises the need for this to be a collective exercise, including local residents and their communities as part of the decision making process.

Planning law requires that applications for planning permission must be determined in accordance with the development plan, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. The National Planning Policy Framework is a material consideration in planning decisions; however there are a wide range of material planning considerations.

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Commenting on tree applications 

As with all other applications, any Tree application will also feature on Public Access and Consultee Access and if a Town or Parish Council is consulted on the application they will be able to respond via the Consultee Comment button in Consultee Access.

Time to respond and extensions of time

The date specified in the notification email will indicate how long you have to make a response and when you log into Consultee Access you will see the expiry date and a clock counting down the days until expiry. Your Consultee In Tray can be ordered how you like but by default it will list the most urgent applications (those with the closest expiry date) at the top.

You can request extensions of time for consultation responses in the usual manner but this request needs to be logged in our database so that the expiry date changes in your Consultee In Tray. As long as you respond before a decision is made on the application it will give the tree officer time to consider your views.

How Town and Parish Councils receive confirmation that their comments have been submitted

Through Consultee Access, once you submit your comments you will receive instant confirmation that they have been submitted and you can verify this by visiting the Public Access comments page for the specific application where you will find your comments immediately. If you chose to track a specific application you will be automatically notified once a decision is made on the application.

Responding to the various tree applications

As a town or parish council, you may wish to reply in the following way(s) on Tree applications:

  • Tree Works Application: In the case of a tree works application for trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order, you can recommend that the application be approved or the application refused, specifying your reasons

  • Section 211 Notification: In the case of a Section 211 Notification for trees protected by a Conservation Area you can object to the notice or request that the Council considers making a Tree Preservation Order, along with any other comments you wish to make. Please note that we cannot refuse consent for a Section 211 Notification nor can we grant consent subject to conditions (such as a condition requiring the planting of a replacement tree). This is because a Section 211 Notification is not and should not be treated as an application for consent under a Tree Preservation Order

  • No observations: If you have no particular comments to make, you should reply via Consultee Access with "no observations" in order that the consultation is moved from your outstanding consultations list

How the local planning authority will consider tree applications

Decisions on the majority of tree works applications/notifications are determined under the Council’s delegated powers procedure, without reference to a committee and your views will be taken into consideration by the tree officer.

Any Consultee comments that you submit via Consultee Access are published instantly on the Council’s website as
part of the Public Access system. Your comments may also be used in discussions with the applicant if it seems likely that your concerns can be addressed by amendments to the proposals. 

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After the decision has been made

If a parish council has commented on an application (any type), you will be notified by email of the local planning authority’s decision when the decision is issued.  At this time we also publish the officer's report (or if a Committee decision, the Committee Report and decision record) in public access, and anyone can view this to  understand how a particular decision has been arrived at.  

Only the applicant has a right of appeal against a decision.  In the case of “fast track” cases, which include all householder development, there is no opportunity for the parish council (or the local planning authority to comment further.  The Planning Inspectorate will determine the appeal on the basis of the information in the application file (including any objections or comments).  If the appeal process does allow further comments to be submitted we will notify you if you commented on the original application.  Note that your original comments will have been forwarded for consideration, so you need not comment further unless you wish to do so.  If the appeal is to be determined by way of a hearing or an inquiry we will notify you of the date and location.  These sessions are public, and the parish council may wish to attend, and at the discretion of the Inspector speak.

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In assessing the need for enforcement action, it should be recognised that it is not an offence to carry out development without first obtaining any planning permission required for it. Whilst it is clearly unsatisfactory for anyone to carry out development without first obtaining the required planning permission, a Planning Enforcement Notice should not normally be issued solely to "regularise" development which is acceptable on its planning merits, but for which permission has not been sought.

In cases where the local planning authority considers it is likely that unconditional planning permission would be granted for development which has already taken place, the correct approach is to suggest to the person responsible for the development that they should at once submit a retrospective planning application (together with the appropriate application fee). 

View a  full list of planning fees for all types of proposal including changes of use.

It may also be appropriate to consider whether any other public authority (e.g. the highway or environmental health authority) is better able to take remedial action.

The enforcement process and unauthorised development guidance page provides further information in this area.


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Further details on viewing and commenting on planning applications

You can view and comment on all applications using Public Access and, as a Consultee, specifically Consultee Access.

Enter Consultee Access by logging in to Public Access using the link below:

  View planning applications on Public Access

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Public Access guidance

For the full benefits of Public Access and how to make the most of the system, use the link below which offers further guidance:

Learn how to use Public Access

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Consultee Access guidance

Consultee Access allows regular Consultees and Statutory Consultees the ability to keep track of all of their consultations (current and previous) in one location. It also allows the Consultee to track comments made by other Consultees and facilitates instant submission of comments.

Further guidance on Consultee Access can be found on the Consultee Access guidance page.

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Being notified automatically of planning application activity

You can register on Public Access (most Town and Parish Council clerks already are in order to use Consultee Access) and set up automatic notifications to inform you daily of any planning activity within a chosen geographic area or you can track a specific application of interest from cradle to grave

Further guidance on how to do this is available below:

Tracking applications and saving geographic area searches to enable automatic notifications of planning activity (pdf 2,000kb opens in new window)

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Electronic planning applications: June - November 2015 town and parish council training presentations and FAQs

The files below are printable versions of the recent training delivered at the various venues around the East Riding. The presentation has been split into two manageable file sizes and the questions and answers raised at the sessions are also available below:

Town and parish council presentation on electronic working with planning applications part 1 (pdf 935kb opens in new window)

Town and parish council presentation on electronic working with planning applications part 2 (pdf 1mb opens in new window)

Town and parish council electronic working questions and answers (pdf 1mb opens in new window)

13 step Town and Parish Clerk guidance on how to respond to planning consultations via Consultee Access (pdf 1mb opens in new window)

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Guidance revised 7/8/17.