Guide to making a planning application

Planning permission deals with development of property or land (including changes to their use) and the effect it may have on neighbouring properties and the general environment. Planning permission is separate from building regulations and you may need both. 

Step 1: Find out if you need planning permission

Smaller building works often don’t require planning permission, as long as you meet certain requirements. However the requirements can be complicated and it’s your responsibility to check with us, as your local planning authority, if you need planning permission before you start any development.

Step 2: Pre-application advice (free for householders)

This could help you plan ahead, find any potential problems and help you work through your plans and ideas for your development. 

Step 3: Making a planning application

The quickest and simplest way to make a planning application is online using the Planning Portal

You can also apply by completing and returning the appropriate paper forms. However, you will need to supply additional paper copies of each document required.

Step 4: What happens to your planning application

We will acknowledge receipt of your application and let you know if we need any more information before we can progress further.

You will be given a planning application number to refer to on any dealings with us.

Once you have registered your application it will be:

  • Published online.
  • Neighbours will be notified by means of Site Notices displayed near the property.
  • Where required by legislation, the application will be publicised in local press.

In some instances other organisations such as the Environment Agency and Thames Water, will be informed. This is so comments can be made – either in support or objection – before the deadline.

Progressing your application

You will be told how your application will be progressed:

  • Delegated powers: most applications are decided by the Strategic Director (Development) under powers delegated by the Council
  • Or by committee: the Planning Sub committees generally deal with the larger or more complicated applications where they are decided by Councillors with advice from the planning officers. These meetings take place monthly.

You can speak about your application at these committee meetings if you wish. Objectors and other interested parties may also be allowed to speak at these meetings.

Step 5: Planning application decisions

Once a decision has been made it will appear on the council website. But before starting any work you should wait until you receive the decision notice as conditions or other restrictions may apply.

If the planning application is granted:

Once planning permission has been granted you can start work on the project. Any work must usually be started within three years of the permission being given.

Sometimes permission is only given as long as you meet certain ‘conditions’ set out in the decision notice.

You may also need building regulations approval in certain circumstances. For more information can please visit the following building control web page. 

Your application may be granted subject to conditions. These conditions will be shown on the decision notice and must be met and where necessary signed off by planning officers.

If you feel that any of the conditions are unjustified you may appeal against the conditions – see below.

If the planning application is refused:

You will be sent an explanation of why the application has been turned down. If you feel that the refusal is unjustified you can appeal against the decision.

West Oxfordshire District Council
Elmfield
New Yatt Road
Witney
OX28 1PB