Shafts of sunlight over the Langdale Pikes copyright Val Corbett

For town and parish councils

Guide for town and parish councils and parish meetings on planning applications

What happens before people apply?

We often provide people with advice. For more significant schemes we encourage people to engage with communities to shape their proposals.

What happens when we receive an application?

We check it. If it is valid we have a national set timetable to take a decision – eight weeks in most cases.

When do we ask for formal views?

We ask for your formal views (town and parish councils and parish meetings) on applications.

What are the closing dates?

It is normally from 28 days of asking you for your formal views. If you need more time please ask and we will see what we can do, although this is not always possible.

Formal decisions

You are responsible for providing us with your formal views as a town or parish council or parish meeting, if you wish to do so.

It is good practice to:

  • discuss applications at your formal council meetings and minute your decision – you can call special meetings if you need to.
  • establish a planning committee. This needs to be properly constituted and meetings advertised, conducted and minuted appropriately.
  • set up formal delegation arrangements with your clerk.

What about individual views?

The individual views of councillors, whether collated by your clerk or not, do not amount to the formal views of your town or parish council or parish meeting. If you send us these we will consider them only as the personal views of the individuals and not as the formal view.

How are planning decisions made?

Taking a planning decision is a matter of judgement. We, as the Local Planning Authority, must make our decisions in accordance with adopted planning policy - in our case the Local Plan – taking account of material planning considerations. Think of the policy as a guide to our decision that requires us to take account of relevant matters. We can only take a decision contrary to policy if we have very good reasons to do so, based on evidence.

Useful areas to take into account

We recommend that you consider policy and take into account material planning considerations. These include things like:

  • the National Planning Policy Framework and National planning guidance
  • information in your community plan
  • amenity appearance and character of the area
  • amenity of neighbouring residents - overlooking, loss of light or dominance
  • layout, design, density, materials, landscaping, access, parking and servicing
  • heritage - Conservation Area, Listed Buildings, Ancient Monuments
  • biodiversity – designations, habitats and species
  • need for affordable housing

Past decisions do not dictate what is decided now. Precedent only really applies when there is a genuine risk of repeat circumstances.

Avoid taking account of property values, protection of a private view, background or character and motives of the applicant, land ownership, private covenants and agreements, private neighbour disputes and aspects covered by other legislation.

If you identify planning considerations that both count against and favour the proposal you need to weigh these up and take your decision.

Next step - send us your formal views

We recommend you make a good clear response of either:

Support (plus reasons)
Neutral (such as no objections or no comment)
Object (plus reasons)

It helps us if you quote our reference number and set out your planning reasons. Please send the formal views of your town or parish council or parish meeting to

How do we make a decision?

We take our decision by assessing each application, taking into account the views we receive. We prepare a written report. The case planner who assesses the application makes a recommendation. However he or she does not take our decision.

The majority of decisions are taken under powers delegated to the Head of Development Management.

A small number of significant and contentious applications are taken by our Development Control Committee in line with our Scheme of Delegation (PDF).

What is the Development Control Committee?

Our Development Control Committee meets each month at our headquarters in Kendal. These are open public meetings and advertised here on this website. People can view the agenda and papers online from five working days beforehand.

Should an application in your council area be reported to committee and your council would like an opportunity to speak, please let us know by registering this with your formal views.

We email clerks a weekly list of planning decisions taken. We also provide a copy of the report if we take a different decisions to you.

Breach of planning control

If you think there is a breach of planning control we can investigate if you let us know. If there is a breach, our planners will seek to resolve it or take action if necessary.

Useful links

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