How we decide on planning applications

A decision will either be made under delegated authority or by the planning committee.

Over 90% of applications are dealt with under delegated authority and the remainder is determined by the planning committee.

Delegated authority

Once the 21 day consultation period is over it is likely that delegated powers will be used to make a decision on the application. This involves the case officer visiting the site, considering the consultation responses and all other planning issues, and then making a recommendation.

The Planning Development Manager and Principal Planners have delegated authority to determine applications and will consider the following before making a decision:

  • details of the application

  • details of the case officer's site visit

  • all consultation responses received

  • the advice and case officer's recommendation.

The Principal Planning Officers and periodically the Planning Development Manager will consider the officer's recommendation and make a decision.

In cases where there are objections, or the recommendation is for refusal, we will ask the local councillors to consider the recommendation before a decision is made.  If the councillors disagree with the recommendation on planning grounds, the application will go to the next available planning committee meeting.

The case officer's report will be on the case file once a decision has been made.

You can view the committee report by selecting the relevant committee date.

Planning Committee decisions

A planning application will be presented to the planning committee where:

  • there have been 10 letters/emails or more contrary to the officers' recommendation in relation to all householder and other applications

  • there have been 20 letters/emails or more contrary to the officers' recommendation in relation to all major and minor applications

  • large scale applications have been submitted by Guildford Borough Council, for example redevelopment of an existing site or provision of new housing. Small scale and minor schemes will be dealt with under delegated powers

  • a councillor or council employee has made the application, or where the applicant is related to a councillor or council employee

  • a Director asks the committee to decide the application

  • a councillor asks the committee to decide the application for identified planning reasons.

An agenda is prepared before the planning committee containing the report and recommendation for each application being presented. This will be available to the public five working days before the meeting. Councillors receive a copy of the agenda. The case file and plans are also available to them.

Public speaking scheme

There will be an opportunity to speak at the planning committee where there have been 10 letters/emails or more contrary to the officers' recommendation in relation to all householder and other applications or where there have been 20 letters/emails or more contrary to the officers' recommendation in relation to all major and minor applications.  If you have submitted comments or representations on the application, we will notify you that the application has been referred to committee and invite you to speak at the committee.

A maximum of four people can speak about the application at the committee meeting, two supporting it and two objecting to it. Each person can speak for up to three minutes. As there can be no more than four speakers, the scheme is operated on a 'first come, first served' basis.

Decision notice

Once the decision has been made, a decision notice will be issued to the applicant or their agent.

The decision notice will be sent to the contact name given on the application form. Where both applicant and agent details are filled out, the notice will always be sent to the agent.