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New validation process coming into force

by on June 20, 2013

As you may know the legislation around validation of planning applications is changing on Tuesday 25 June. This only affects applications made to English authorities.

This is part of the Government’s commitment to streamline planning application requirements.

The NPPF states at paragraph 193:

“Local planning authorities should publish a list of their information requirements for applications, which should be proportionate to the nature and scale of development proposals and reviewed on a frequent basis. Local planning authorities should only request supporting information that is relevant, necessary and material to the application in question.”

This change in legislation lets applicants challenge LPAs on their local-level requirements.

The consultation on ‘improving the validation stage’ states:

 “50.  In reinstating this right of appeal, we want to make clear that, as before, appealing against non-determination should be the option of last resort, pursued after other negotiation options have been exhausted. As the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear, we encourage pre application engagement and front loading of the process which should minimise the risk of disagreements about information requirements emerging. If a point of concern is raised by the local authority regarding the information necessary to validate an application, we expect both parties to seek to address that concern through negotiation in the first instance.”

North Somerset Council was kind enough to share with us the process and flow chart it’s planning to use to implement the new validation rules.

The council has agreed to let me publish it on this blog in the hope that it is useful to other LPAs: North_Somerset_validation_flow_chart

18 Comments
  1. Architect Ian Treleaven Fitzherbert BArch(Hons) PPSPEng. permalink

    Please annotate your blog items to show whether – as with this one – they apply to ENGLAND only.

  2. Perhaps a requirement by Local planning authorities within their list of their information requirements for applications should be drawings prepared to a much higher standard than present and not drawn on a piece of graph paper.

    They should also reject drawings that are copies of extensions from other applications, with the title box amended by hand. Simple to police both points as the application team just need a brief and if in doubt consult their line manager.

    • M Leighton permalink

      Hear hear to this Bob.
      Our Parish council fraustrates over drawings that are drawn to scale but carry a instruction ‘do not scale this drawing’ !!!! .The L.A. say they are powerless to do anything in this matter, but they just ignore it. Surely that cannot be good practice?
      A scale bar would be such a help when downloading A4 ‘s., but again the same response from the L.A.
      Wouldn’t it be nice if similar elevations on different sheets were confined to the same scale ,to facilitate overlays ect,It would also be nice if the title blocks carried a brief description of its content & not just the generic title of the set!..
      My council has been attempting to get change re the above for a year now.

  3. It is interesting that NS require a notice to explain why an applicant/agent is not submitting something that would usually be required on the local list of validation requirements. I would hope that LPA’s will firstly update their validation requirements perhaps for different application types and secondly take a proactive view when validating applications so that where it is obvious that a particular item is not relevant that they do not issue a invalid letter and then await a notice to justify non submission of that document. This after all supposed to streamline the planning process!

  4. GRPA permalink

    Excuse my ignorance but…

    Is this Article 10(A) notice available to download? Is there national wording agreed if not? Or is this a North Somerset local initiative? And is every council going to have their own local way of doing things with their own local forms to download?

    Maybe I should do some research, but excuse my sinking feeling in the meantime…

  5. Claire Woods permalink

    Hi, I would be interested to know if LPA’s are going to process their ‘Non-validation’ applications as a valid application or an invalid application. Explanatory notes on the new regs state ‘This Order amends article 29 to provide that the local planning authority are required to determin a non-validated application within the time periods set out.’ So does this mean that we should be treating non-validation applications as valid applications?

    Would appreciate other views on this.

  6. Angry Surveyor permalink

    How many LPA’s have updated their local lists (with the required consultation) in the last two years. If not, following the 31st July, is there no local list and does this mean no list at all (The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) (Amendment No. 3) Order 2012)

  7. ADS permalink

    How about setting a national template for section106 agreements , All LPS have something different and even when using their own template they charge to have it checked by solicitors. Added to which there is no choice of solicitors and extortionate rates . Why can there own legal departments not check it given they drafted the templates ?

  8. So a blog message on 20 June tells us that the legislation is changing on 25 June. Three working days is hardly sufficient for us to work out our procedures, amend our public information on web pages, etc. Could someone ask the government to give us more notice of these changes?

    • Hi Steve,
      the changes follow a formal consultation that took place in 2012.
      Governments response and the impact assessment was published before Xmas.
      My post was simply to remind people and make you all aware of the work N Somerset have done.

      • The fact that the Planning Portal itself has not prepared its guidance and forms in advance is symptomatic of the fact that the government does not give administrators enough time to set up these procedures.

      • GRPA permalink

        But surely if LPAs insist on having Local Lists, then guidance and forms to these should be locally drawn up? The Planning Portal should only get involved in nationally applicable forms and guidance. If councils can’t be trusted with administering Local conditions, then shouldn’t they just stick with the National ones? 🙂

        I suspect that this LPA isn’t going to get much sympathy anywhere outside their own department.

    • GRPA permalink

      So I foresee a couple of non-determination appeals going in very soon against at least one council 🙂
      Was there supposed to be public consultations on local lists between councils and ‘customers’ as well?

  9. I deal with at least 8 local authorities on a regular basis; what is the most irriatting factor is they all have their own acceptable standards and requirements; for example there is one that insists on dimensions from the extension to the boundary, which I have challenged and lost – will this new legistation allow me to challenge it again? but then I guess I will lose again, so how does this new process suppose to help? I would like to see NATIONAL standards!
    I also agree with Angry Surveyor, the local list requirements are full of problems to all local authorities either information requested but not needed, over complicated or missing – they simply do not know how to use the portal!!

  10. Bob Britnell permalink

    As a planning manager at Canterbury in 2010 I revised our “local requirements” from 42 pages down to 10 categories varying from half a dozen lines for the minor stuff to two pages for the most major proposals, consults with local agents received zero response so I guess I got it right. Just before I left validation was transferred from admin staff to planning officers, (not popular with POs), but the aim was to get a qualified assessment rather than an admin officer box-ticking.

    I can’t see the legislation change making much difference, in 40 years I only knew 1 application for non-determination because of a refusal to validate and register and most authorities will still insist on getting the information they consider necessary; appeals will only be quicker if the requested information is season specific, say a bat survey!

    As to disseminating changes as an ex-lpa, now private planner I know where to look, but I’ve just lunched with two architects who’ve just written D&A statements they do not now need, too many changes, too quickly and nobody telling the private sector.

    • GRPA permalink

      Kudos to you Bob for approaching Local Lists in the correct manner! I’ve never worked to Canterbury, but yours doesn’t sound like an LPA that attracts the ‘stories’.

      But I’ve had occasions when Councils have been totally unreasonable in their requirements and because there was no ‘real life’ way of disputing them I’ve meekly given in and wasted time in producing extraneous documents that I am sure nobody looked at a second after validation. I never once appealed for non-determination because it was more important to get a decision within the proscribed time for my client than to head off down a shaky appeals route that I had no real hope of winning.

      This measure, however badly implemented, means at least that there is a counterbalance to the minority (?) of councils that unnecessarily make life difficult and jobs over-expensive.

  11. Steven Brown permalink

    I have searched endlessly to the answer to my following question – what if the LPA simply hasnt prepared a local list?

    I currently have an application whereby validators have insisted my application remain invalid despite my application complying with all national requirements.

    Their reason for the invalid status lies with a request to provide details of levels even though I had provided site sections (without reference to datum points) ensuring that the officers in my opinion were provided with enough information to determine the application.

    It is my understaning that such a request is a requirement only within the local list of requirements which as I stated earlier and was confirmed during correspondence with the head of the LPA, the LPA concerned simply hasn’t undertaken one.

    Surely I am correct in my undertsanding that given the compliance and the apparent lack of grounds to request such information at the validation stages, my application should have been deemed valid from day one with a request for further information made by the appointed planning officer during the determination process should they feel that it is necessary?

    • Bob Britnell permalink

      Surely that’s why the Government have inserted a right of appeal against non-validation? In practise a LPA can say they want almost anything, whether it is in a local requirements list or not, the Government says they have to be reasonable and many of them must be, but if validation is a box ticking exercise done by the office junior or an admin officer an application simply may not get proper assessment. The applicant knows the site and can make a reasonable guess as to what is needed, the validating officer in the Council probably doesn’t!

      Some years ago I fought an appeal for an lpa arguing with the Inspectorate that an appeal should not be validated as it failed to provide all the local requirements; they accepted the appeal despite my arguments, but it was dismissed on planning grounds anyway.

      Bob

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