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All planning applications are governed by legislation and are managed by a series of regulations and procedures. As part of the planning process, the planning service receives a range of documents from applicants or agents such as drawings and from contributors offering their views on applications.
These contributions or representations can be from a number of sources including statutory bodies and non-statutory bodies that we have consulted, from neighbours or from members of the public.
How Planning Services treat these documents, and the information contained in them, is also governed by legislation and there are two areas that cover this. Firstly, there is the General Data Protection Act (GDPR) that aims to protect individuals from having their personal details made public. Secondly, there is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which allows the public to have clear information about how information is dealt with and to get access to information that they need.
An important part of the FOIA is the Environmental Information Regulations (EIR). These regulations are aimed at ensuring that decisions about the environment are made fairly and publicly, with information about these decisions freely available. The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) define 'environment' in very broad terms, which means that generally information relating to planning applications is governed by them. This covers applications for larger residential developments or a household extension and everything in between.
The need to see information given to Planning Services as part of a planning application is controlled by balancing the requirements of planning legislation with FOIA and EIR regulations, and the GDPR. This document aims to explain this process, and what your rights are in relation to this information.