2. Information on the Planning Process

The purpose of the planning system is to pursue sustainable development. Pursuing sustainable development involves seeking positive improvements in the quality of the built, natural and historic environment and making efficient use of available resources. Planning control is the process by which the development of land and buildings is managed and directed to achieve this ambition.

Cannock Chase Council is a Local Planning Authority that is responsible for deciding whether a development, anything from an extension on a house to a new shopping centre, should go ahead within its area.

Further guidance upon how the planning system works in England has been published by the Government and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/plain-english-guide-to-the-planning-system

Registration and validation

When we receive an application, we register it and give it a number. We will quote that number when we contact you. Please also use this number when contacting the Planning Authority.

The Council will check that the application includes all of the information required by the National Planning Validation Requirements. If there is anything missing, the Council will ask the applicant or their agent to provide it. The application process stops until we have received the missing items.

Please be advised, the Council would strongly recommend reviewing the new local validation checklist to ensure any likely required information is provided at the outset of the application process.

Whilst the Council cannot invalidate an application if it is missing information required by the local validation checklist at this stage, it is likely this information will be sought during the life of the application and could result in delays in receiving a determination.

Planning Application Fees

Planning application fees are set nationally by the fees regulations. A useful way of calculating the fee for a planning application is the Planning Portal Fee Calculator.

Application fees can be paid either by Cheque made payable to Cannock Chase District Council, Credit (surcharge applies) or Debit Card, BACS and the planning portal.


Once we have everything we need, we write to any property sharing a boundary with the application site. We often post a site notice too.

We consult our councillors and parish council’s (as applicable) on every application. For some applications we get advice from experts like Staffordshire County Council Highways or Historic England. We have to advertise other applications in the local press.  

You can find the documents and plans for any recent application and comments from people on current applications in our online planning document viewer.

Site Visit

The case officer visits the site as soon as possible to check that the plans are understandable and consider the effects of the proposal.

If something needs changing, we may ask the applicant or agent for amended information. If the changes are significant, we will consult the relevant people again.


When the consultations and negotiations have finished, the case officer writes a report about the proposal. In the report, the officer:addresses any comments people might have made;

  • checks the proposal against our policies which are contained within the Cannock Chase Local Plan
  • finds the most important points for and against the proposal (the material considerations");
  • decides how important each point is (its "weight"); and
  • recommends approval or refusal, depending whether the proposals are in accordance with the Local Plan or whether material considerations indicate a different approach should be taken.

    Policy on accepting amendments to planning applications

    The Council will exercise its discretion whether to request or accept amendments to a planning application under consideration.  Upon receipt of an application, we expect it to be:

  • supported by relevant information and
  • in a condition to be fully assessed and determined as submitted.

    On that basis our normal position is not to seek or accept amendments after validation.  We encourage applicants to engage in our pre-application service which would assist in the submission of a full application.



The Council takes planning decisions in one of two ways. For simpler applications, the Development Control Manager checks the report and signs off the decision.

Alternatively the Planning Committee usually looks at larger and more complex applications. Planning Committee usually meets every three weeks on a Wednesday. Five working days before the meeting, we publish the agenda, which includes all of the case officer’s report. The Council is committed to extending public involvement in the planning process. Members of the public are invited to speak at the planning meetings during consideration of an application. However, they must have registered by 12 noon on the Friday before Planning Committee.

When an application is considered by Planning Committee, a brief description of the development is provided by the Development Control Manager during the meeting to supplement the Planning Officer’s report prepared for the Planning Committee. Amendments and updates since the report was written may be reported verbally during the meeting.  It is then up to the elected Councillors to debate the application and ultimately vote to determine the outcome of the application.

Whether it is a senior officer or the councillors who decide an application, we issue most decisions within:

  • eight weeks for domestic extensions;
  • eight weeks for minor applications; and
  • 13 weeks for major applications

We issue the decision as soon as possible after we make it.

Decision: approval

The decision notice lists any conditions we have had to apply to make the proposal acceptable. Some conditions ask for more details on an aspect of the proposal, while others specify the use of the development. Applicants can reduce the number of conditions by providing comprehensive information with their application.

We know that it can be tempting to order materials or hire builders as soon as it seems likely that we will grant permission. However, it is best to wait until you receive the permission itself; things may change at the last minute, and planning conditions (attached to a planning permission) or legal agreements can prevent work from starting straight away. For example: you may need to submit details of the materials for the proposed building or extension before works can commence.

Decision: planning conditions

A formal application is required to discharge planning conditions. A fee is payable per written request to discharge planning conditions and not per condition. Fees can be found on the Planning Portal Fee Calculator. No fee is required for the discharge of conditions attached to applications for Listed Building Consent or Advertisement Consent. The Government requires authorities to deal with all requests for discharge of conditions within 8 weeks.

Decision: refusal

When we refuse an application we explain why on the refusal notice. The report accompanying the decision goes into more detail. If you feel that you can change the proposal to make it acceptable, you can use the pre-application process to submit amended plans for comment. If you submit a new application within a year of the decision date, your second application is usually free.

Appeals: applicants

The applicant can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if we refuse their application, or impose a condition they think unjustified. When we are notified of an appeal, we forward all documents, plans and comments to the Planning Inspectorate.

We will usually write to invite further comments and provide more information at that stage. However, the Inspectorate does not accept extra comments on most appeals for domestic extensions. More information in relation to Planning Appeals can be found here.

Appeals: neighbours

Only the applicant can appeal against a planning decision. As a neighbour, you cannot appeal if we approve something you do not like. However, you may be able to exercise your rights under other laws, such as the Party Wall Act. We recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

If you think that we made a mistake in the way we handled the application, you can use our complaints procedure to let us know. We cannot change the decision after we have made it, however. The only way to change a planning decision is to seek a judicial review (JR). Strict time limits apply, and again, you will need to seek independent legal advice.

Amendments to a scheme after a decision

You can apply for a non-material amendment to an existing planning permission. Section 96A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (amended by Planning Act 2008) covers this. You may need to make a change after the planning decision because:

  • Building Regulations require a change to the proposals
  • unplanned issues arise when construction or operations start.

Local Planning Authorities may allow small changes as 'non-material amendments'. The benefits are:

  • the applicant avoids the time and costs of making a new planning application
  • the Local Planning Authority can make the best use of its resources.

There will be no consultations, publicity or notifications because a non-material amendment is not an application for planning permission.

Non-material amendments must:

  • be within the scope of the original planning permission
  • not result in a materially different scheme that has a differing impact.

When a non-material amendment is accepted, it means that:

  • enforcement action will not be taken against the breach of planning control
  • there is an accurate record of the development as completed.

There is no statutory definition for 'non-material' changes.  It depends on the context and is determined by the Local Planning Authority. If the scheme is not considered to be non - material then a Section 73 application or a new full application may be required. 


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