Apply for planning permission

Planning application process

1. Apply for permission

Make an application for planning permission.

2. Validation

Your application is checked to ensure it contains all the necessary plans, information and the correct fee. We will aks for any missing information before we start to process the application. It will be published and you can view your application on the planning register.

3. Consultation

Consultations are often sent to other council departments or outside bodies such as Environment Agency and Parish Councils. Consultees have 21 days in which to reply. You can view the consulation on the planning register.

4. Asking the neighbours

We will tell neighbours about new applications by letter. You can read the guidance note to find out more.

If we can't identify the neighbour we will put up a site notice, for example an open field. We put up site notices or advertise in the local paper if we think the application will be of local concern. This might include large scale developments, changes to listed buildings and conversation areas, or work affecting public rights of way.

 You can find out more in the comment on a planning application.

5. Planning Officer Review

If we need more information the Planning Officer may contact you or your agent. Officers will continue to visit sites from public vantage points where it is safe to do so.

Officers will use their professional experience to judge whether they can fully and properly consider all aspects of the planning application, including whether it is likely to impact on neighbours or be controversial in any other way. 

If the Planning Officer identifies problems which can be fixed they will discuss these changes with you. There may be more consultation on these changes. 

All comments, national planning guidance, our Development Plan and planning considerations for the area will then be taken into account.

The Planning Officer will then write a report recommending if conditional planning permission should be granted or refused.

6. Application Considered

The Planning Officer's report will be considered by either the Development Management Committee or an officer with the authority to make a decision. Most applications do not need to go to Development Management Committee, if they do members of the public can attend these meetings and ask to speak.

We can approve applications if:

  • they accord with planning policy
  • the application has not been "called in" by a Welwyn Hatfield Councillor within the parish notification expiry date (find this on the weekly list)
  • the decision would not conflict with any objection received from a Borough Councillor, adjoining Local Authority or a Major Objection from a Town/Parish Council
  • it does not need to go to the Development Management Committee
  • it is not a major application where Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council is the applicant and/or has interest in the land/property covered by the application.

We will refuse applications if they conflict with planning policies and cause harm, provided that:

  • the decision would not conflict with views received from a Borough Councillor within the parish notification expiry date (find this on the weekly list)
  • it does not need to go to the Development Management Committee.

Your application will be either:

  • Acceptable as submitted - we will approve the application as it is
  • Unacceptable as submitted but only minor amendments are required which do not materially alter the proposal - we will ask you to make minor amendments (as long as further consultation is not required with neighbours or consultees) and the amendments are submitted in time
  • Unacceptable as submitted but minor amendments are required to respond to issues identified - we will use our discretion on whether such amendments/further information can be submitted and if more consultation is needed
  • Unacceptable as submitted (contrary to policy or further consultation is required ) - we will refuse the application 

If we have any doubts then we will seek an extension of time with the applicant/agent and delay making a decision until further notice.  This will also allow comments to be received beyond the standard consultation period. 

View Planning Officer's reports on the planning register.

7. The Decision

If permission is granted:

  • it can be subject to planning conditions
  • these may need a legal agreement.

Sometimes these conditions or agreements may need approval from the council or you have may have to make another application.

If changes are needed to the scheme once planning permission is granted then they could be dealt with as:

(a) a non-material change

(b) by a further planning application.

If permission is refused:

  • we will tell you why the application is refused
  • there will be more information in the Planning Officer's report
  • you may be able to change your proposals to overcome the problems and make a new application.

Before making a new application you should get pre-application advice.


If your application is refused you may be able to make an appeal if:

  • the planning conditions are not acceptable
  • we fail to reach a decision within the target date for the application

You can also appeal if Welwyn Garden City Estate Management Consent is refused.