The Planning Process

The first hurdle is validation. It can take about a week for officers to determine whether the application is technically proficient and has the right supporting documentation.

If valid, it will be placed on the planning register. You can search for the application via East Staffordshire Borough Council's Online Planning Explorer using a variety of search criteria. Recent applications are shown here.

The application will be forwarded to neighbours and a variety of consultees including the local parish or town council and county highways. The council's countryside officers or building conservation officers may be consulted. If required, other organisations such as the Environment Agency, or the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust may also be consulted. Neighbours and consultees have four weeks to register an objection.

The vast majority of applications are dealt with by an individual officer. The officer will make a site visit, consider the consultee representations and prepare a delegated report for the head of planning who will sign and issue the decision.

Most full applications, including householder applications are dealt with within eight weeks from receipt of a valid application. Agricultural Notices or GPDO's will be dealt with in four weeks, major applications in twelve.

In exceptional circumstances, a development control officer may wish to delay determination - say pending receipt of further information.

Major and more complex applications will be dealt with by committee. Applications being dealt with by an individual officer may also be referred to committee, either by the case officer or a ward councillor. This may happen in response to representations made by one or more consultees.

Editorial Comment

Planning within East Staffordshire

Like elsewhere in the country, the planning system has been revised. The key document in the Local Development Framework, (LDF) is the East Staffordshire Borough Council Local Plan, adopted in October 2015. Seventeen parishes have either adopted their own neighbourhood plans or are preparing them and a variety of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD's) on design and housing etc. are available.

Most applications will be determined on the basis of policies in the adopted local plan and emerging neighbourhood plans.

The National Planning Policy Framework and Planning Practice Guidance may also be taken into consideration.


The introduction of pre-application enquiry fees have made development control officer's less accessible than in the past. However, providing the pre-application fees remain comparatively modest they are unlikely to be a significant deterrent. For many straightforward developments, a pre-application enquiry simply adds costs and delays to the overall process. However in some cases the policy issues may be finely balanced and a pre-application enquiry can help to secure a positive outcome.

Officers are generally proactive and if problems do arise, during consultation, for example, then officers will invariably discuss the implications with you.

East Staffs Planning

Planning decisions in East Staffordshire are informed by policy at several levels:

The strategic vision for East Staffordshire is set out in the 2012-2031 Local Plan.

A variety of guidance notes and supplementary planning documents (SPD's) are also available. These include:

  • SPD on Design
  • SPD on Housing
  • SPD on re-use of farm buildings
  • SPD's on Bargates & Burton
  • Protected Trees
  • Conservation Areas
  • Validation guidance
  • Listed buildings
  • 106 agreement templates

Pre-application Advice

East Stafford Borough Council have introduced charges for providing pre-application advice. For example, the fee for householder developments, agricultural developments and prior notifications is £55.00. The fee for a new dwelling or residential change of use is £150.00.

Certain householder developments may not require planning approval. The fee for a 'Do I need planning permission?' enquiry is 25.00 .

The council no longer provides access to a duty officer. If you wish to see a planning officer, you will need to make an appointment and a fee may be charged.

For further information on fees, visit Pre-app Advice Fees.