What happens next

We aim to make decisions within:

  • 8 weeks for household applications and small commercial applications
  • 13 weeks for very large scale developments

To help us meet these targets, we have adopted some guidelines for our decision making process.

Our decision guidelines

We encourage you to apply for pre application advice and to follow the guidance that is given. If you do this and minor amendments then need to be negotiated after the application has been accepted these will also be accepted.

If pre application advice was not obtained or followed it is unlikely that we will negotiate any changes and the application will be decided based on the information you originally submitted.

In the case of applications for matters reserved by condition we will only allow one attempt at amending the application before issuing our decision.

If a retrospective planning application is refused we will take formal action immediately after the decision is issued.

What happens after you submit your application

We check that your application is valid. If you fail to include all the relevant information with your application it will be invalid and we’ll need to write to ask you for the missing information. This will cause a delay. 

Once your application is valid and accepted it will be made public to allow people to view it and make comments. You can track the status of your application via our online system.

There is a consultation period (usually 21 days) during which we’ll display a site notice on streets that might be affected by the development and we also publish a list of planning applications in the West Sussex Gazette and on our weekly lists page.

We may seek the views of a range of public bodies. We may also ask our other departments for advice or information to help us make a decision.

We are unable to make a decision until the consultation period has expired.

How we make a decision

Most decisions are made by senior officers (known as delegated powers). However, some decisions need to be made by our Planning Committee. 

When making a decision about planning permission we will consider:

  • the details of the application
  • details of the planning officer’s site visit
  • all consultation responses received
  • the advice and planning officer’s recommendation
  • comments from the public

Types of decisions made by our senior officers

Decisions under delegated powers are made by our Group Head of Planning Services or Team Leaders and include:

  • householder applications to alter or enlarge a single house, including works within the boundary/garden of house
  • change of use (no operational development)
  • adverts
  • listed building extensions / alterations
  • listed building demolition
  • application for relevant demolition of an unlisted building within a conservation area
  • lawful development certificates
  • prior approvals
  • permissions in principle and technical detail consent

Types of decisions made by our Planning Committee

Large, complex or controversial applications may need to be decided by our Planning Committee.

Applications that will be presented to the Planning Committee are:

  • any major or minor application for planning permission which has received a comment within the consultation period from a parish council, town council or formal parish meeting and which is in conflict with the recommendation of officers
  • any major or minor application which would create a new access or exit via the A27, A29, A284 and A259 roads (this is irrespective of any comments made by a parish council)
  • any householder application where the ward member has submitted a written request to the Chairman and/or Vice Chairman of the Planning Committee before the end of the statutory consultation period

A major development is:

  • 10+ dwellings / over half a hectare / building(s) exceeds 1000m²
  • office / light industrial - 1000+ m² / 1+ hectare
  • general industrial - 1000+ m² / 1+ hectare
  • retail - 1000+ m²/ 1+ hectare
  • gypsy/traveller site - 10+ pitches
  • site area exceeds 1 hectare

A minor development is:

  • 1-9 dwellings (unless floorspace exceeds 1000m²) or under half a hectare
  • office / light industrial - up to 999 m²/ under 1 hectare
  • general industrial - up to 999 m²/ under 1 Hectare
  • retail - up to 999 m²/ under 1 hectare
  • gypsy/traveller site - 0-9 pitches

More detail on which applications can be decided by each can be found in our constitution.

What happens once a decision has been made

A decision notice will be issued showing whether permission has been granted or refused. The applicant/agent and anyone who commented on the application will be advised of the outcome. The decision is also published online.

You’ll need to refer to your decision notice for any conditions relating to your planning permission.

Planning Committee meetings

Find out about upcoming and previous Planning Committee meetings.