Planning Applications - a guide to publicity and the planning process

Planning Applications - a guide to publicity and the planning process

What is this guide about?

The planning applications approved by the Council help to shape the future of the area. To make sure local residents are involved in this future, the Council publicises all planning applications when we get them.  People need to be aware of a proposed development in order to have the opportunity to express their views and influence the outcome.

Depending on the type of development proposed, publicity can include placing advertisements in The Journal, displaying site notices, and sending out letters to neighbours.  In addition, details of all applications are published on the Council's website.

This guide explains how the Council publicises planning applications, and the procedure for telling neighbours and owners of land nearby to it, so that they can comment on the proposals.  The guide also tells you about the planning process, explaining how we make a decision on an application. 


Are details of applications available on the Council's website?

Details of all applications are on our website, and include:

  • the address or location of the proposed development
  • a description of the proposed development
  • the date by which comments must be made
  • how comments can be made.

Search for and view applications.


It is possible to view documents for the application, such as forms, plans, reports and comments submitted by the public and consultees.

There are also advanced features that allow you to search and follow applications once you have registered a user account.  It is possible to search for applications according to a variety of methods such as address or postcode, application reference number, or applicant name. Weekly lists of applications received and decided are also available.


How are neighbours told about an application?

All planning applications are publicised, either by displaying a site notice or notifying neighbours by letter.  Adjoining neighbours are those whose properties have a common boundary with the application site.

We usually publicise planning applications by notifying individual owners or occupiers of neighbouring land by letter.  However, we may display site notices either instead of or as well as neighbour notification when:

  • the ownership of adjoining land is unknown or uncertain
  • there are not many immediate neighbours to the site
  • the adjoining land or premises are vacant
  • small scale developments are proposed on land adjoining a large block of flats or in commercial or industrial areas with large numbers of properties on the boundary, and the extent of neighbour notification would be disproportionate to the scale of the development
  • other local circumstances indicate that a site notice would be more effective

In addition to notifying adjoining neighbours, for all applications other than householder applications, the Council generally sends letters to properties that are opposite the application site, including those separated by a road or footpath.

For householder applications, properties opposite the application site are notified only where an application proposes an alteration, extension or new building to that side of the dwelling which the properties face (for example, the properties opposite the front of an application site will be consulted if the application proposes a front or side extension, but not for a rear extension).

When considering whether a property is 'opposite' an application site, a line is drawn from either side of the application site boundary to the land opposite and the properties that fall within those lines are notified.

Examples of neighbour notification for householder applications can be found here.   (pdf, 160kb) (This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format. )

Further neighbour notification may be carried out for applications which are likely to result in more interest, including proposals:

  • that may affect nearby properties by causing noise, smell, vibration, dust or other nuisance
  • that are likely to make a significant change to the character of an area, for example large structures
  • on a large scale likely to attract additional crowds or traffic


Are some applications given additional publicity?

Major development proposals are also publicised by placing an advertisement in the Statutory Notices section of The Journal and by displaying a site notice.  Major development here means:

  • a housing development of 10 or more dwellings or housing development on a site of 0.5 hectares or more
  • other development creating 1000 square metres or more floorspace, or other development on a site of 1 hectare or more
  • mineral working or waste development

We also place an advertisement in The Journal and display a site notice for the following:

  • applications which have an environmental statement
  • applications which do not accord with the Development Plan
  • applications which would affect a public right of way
  • development affecting a listed building
  • development affecting a conservation area
  • applications for listed building consent
  • applications for conservation area consent

If an application is of particular significance or generates a lot of local interest, we may organise drop-in sessions in the local area so that you can discuss the proposals face to face with the applicants and Council officers.


Can I involve my Ward Councillors?

You can contact Ward Councillors about planning applications in their ward.  To find out who your Ward Councillors are, see the Councillors page.

Ward Committees have a key role in representing the views of their communities.  Applications significant to the local area or those that generate a lot of interest may be discussed at Ward Committees.  The agendas can be viewed on our website.

Are there other ways of finding out about planning applications in my area?

If you register on our website you can choose to be notified automatically by email when planning applications are received within an area of your choice.

I've been told about an application - what should I do next?

Consider the site and description of the proposed development. You can look at the application online here. You can also view the application in person at the City Library and Community Hub in Newcastle (click to check opening times), where a member of staff will be available to go through the application with you. 

If you would like to discuss the application in detail you should phone the case officer, whose details are given on the notification letter or site notice.

What if I haven't been notified?

If we haven't told you about an application , you can still make your views known.  If you want to comment, regardless of whether or not we wrote to you about the application, please do so.

How can I comment on an application?

We welcome your comments on all planning applications. Any comments you wish to make must be in writing otherwise they cannot be considered.

You can make comments online here.  To do so you will first need to register your details on the website.  This is simple and should take no longer than a couple of minutes.

You can also make comments in writing to Development Management, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH.  Please quote the application reference which is given on the letter, site notice or press advertisement.

Anonymous comments will not be taken into account, so please state your name, address and postcode.  Your comments cannot be kept confidential.  Any comments you make will be available to view on our website. Signatures, email addresses and telephone numbers will be removed.  Your postal address however will not be removed because this is information which may be relevant to the comments you have made.  You can view our Privacy Policy here.

The Council can only take into account issues which are relevant to Planning, and can only refuse applications where there are sound planning reasons to do so.  Local opposition or support for a proposal is not in itself a ground for refusing or granting planning permission.  Further guidance about relevant issues is provided below.

The Council gives local residents 21 days to comment on an application in writing.  Comments about the application must be received by the deadline stated in the letter, site notice or press advertisement.  Once the deadline has passed, we can make a decision on the application.  We take all comments received before an application is decided into account.  If you don't meet the deadline it could mean your comments can't be considered because a decision has already been made.

What happens to my comments?

Comments go to the case officer for consideration.  Where appropriate, the case officer may ask the applicant to change their proposals to address issues raised.  Your comments, along with Council and government policies and guidance, will be taken fully into account before any decision is made.

What happens if an application is changed before a decision is made?

We sometimes negotiate changes to improve proposals following an initial assessment of an application, and/or in response to comments or objections made.  If an application is changed before a decision is made we usually re-notify neighbours when the changes are significant and would adversely affect a neighbour.

A period of 14 days is usually allowed for further comment to be made.  Neighbours will not be re-notified of relatively minor changes.

If you would like to be re-notified as a matter of course when an application is changed, you can register on our website and choose to track the application and you will automatically receive an email if any changes are made.

How can I check the progress on an application?

If you register on our website you can choose to track an application and receive regular email updates about how it is progressing.

What issues are relevant to the planning decision?

The Council can only take Planning issues into account when it makes a decision on an application.  These will vary depending on the proposal and the site circumstances, but may include:

The following are matters which the Council cannot take into account:

  • Private property matters such as boundary and access disputes, rights to light, restrictive covenants, capacity of private drains, damage to property during construction
  • Effects on property value
  • Trade competition
  • Loss of view
  • Building Regulations matters such as structural safety and fire prevention and matters covered by other laws such as alcohol or gaming licences
  • The applicant's personal conduct, history or motives


Who decides applications?

The final decision on an application is made by either the Planning Committee which is made up of elected Councillors, or experienced planning officers.  These are qualified professionals who advise the Planning Committee and implement the planning policies.

More than 90% of applications are decided by planning officers under what are known as delegated powers.  This means that the Planning Committee has given the authority to planning officers to make decisions on applications.  Applications that are decided by Planning Committee are usually those for significant development or have generated a lot of local interest.

There are some circumstances when planning officers will discuss with the Planning Committee to decide if a planning application should be determined under delegated powers or by Committee.  For example, if a Councillor, applicant or other person with a significant interest has requested in writing with reasons that the matter be determined by Committee, or if there are a lot of comments from the public.

Can I attend and speak at Planning Committee?

At present all Planning Committee meetings are being held virtually online. The links to live Planning Committees are found on our webcasts page.
Guidance on how you make a request to address the Planning Committee can be found here.

How can I find out about the decision?

You will not normally receive an automatic notification about the decision on the application.  The decision notice will be available on our website once an application has been decided.

If I don't agree with the Council's decision can I appeal?

As the law stands there is no right of appeal for objectors.

Is independent planning advice available to help me?

Planning Aid is a service that provides free, independent and professional advice on planning matters to communities and individuals who cannot afford to pay professional fees to employ a planning consultant.  If you feel that you need assistance making your views known about an application, Planning Aid may be able to help.  For more information visit the Royal Town Planning Institute planning advice webpage or phone: 0330 123 9244.

How can I contact you?

Phone: 0191 2787878 and ask for 'Planning'      
Post: Development Management, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH


Is this page useful?
Is this page useful?