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Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans for our places and open spaces

Where to get advice on a planning application

planning

If you can't find what you need in these pages you can try one of the following options:

  • You can use the Planning Portal website this is a national website providing advice and guidance. It is also the website that is used for submitting a planning application. The Planning Portal is aimed at everyone, from central government and local authorities to planning professionals and interested lay people.
  • For more detailed advice on larger schemes, you can use the Planning One Stop Shop service.

 

The One Stop Shop Service

The One Stop Shop is designed to give you a single point of contact within the Council whenever you are considering any development work within the Borough. Asking the One Stop Shop for its opinion and advice before submitting a formal planning application will save time and money, as any potential problems will be highlighted before you submit your application. If all the problems can be ironed out before submitting an application, then your application will meet fewer objections and could be approved without too many hiccups.

Submitting an enquiry to the One Stop Shop is free, and there is no limit to the number of times you can use the service.

 

What type of development can the One Stop Shop help with?

The One Stop Shop is designed to assist in determining unusual or potentially controversial developments. This may be as simple as a new house, or as complex as a new shopping centre.

You do not need to use the One Stop Shop for a domestic extension, conservatory, porch, replacement windows or other minor works. If you are in any doubt contact Development Services.

General planning enquiries that are not discussed at the One Stop Shop (such as domestic extensions) will be dealt with by the planning department by telephone, email or in writing.

 

How is the One Stop Shop different from just telephoning the planning department?

It saves time and numerous telephone calls to other departments. The planning department does not make development control decisions alone but has to rely on other departments for their expertise and would therefore be necessary for an applicant to call numerous departments. However the One Stop Shop gives you a single point of contact.

 

What information is needed?

A One Stop Shop response is only as good as the information you supply us, therefore we need good submissions from you. The more information you can give, the more reliable your response will be. All enquiries are confidential.

It depends on what you are proposing as to the type and amount of information we would need, but the list below is a basic checklist.

  • A good map, showing land in your ownership outlined in blue, the part of the land you are proposing to develop, a north point and scale, two street names, and the location of any buildings and significant trees within and around your site. This map would ideally be to the scale of 1:1250
  • A second map showing what the site would look like after development
  • A thorough description of your proposal
  • Contact details, name, address and telephone number
  • Photographs of the site as it is
  • Sketch drawings of your proposal

Depending on the type of development, other information that could assist the Council may include

  • A business case
  • Access details
  • Parking arrangements
  • Landscape features

 

What happens to my enquiry?

The enquiry is distributed to relevant council departments such as Highways, Planning, Landscape and also to some of our external partners including Cleveland Police and Tees Valley Wildlife Trust. These bodies then meet every Thursday to discuss the enquiries and highlight any concerns, objections or comments. Their comments are recorded and sent back to you by letter, telephone, e-mail or fax within ten days.

It may be necessary to contact you for some more information before a response may be given. If this is the case your enquiry will be handled by the case officer and may take a little longer. The sooner you can give us the information, the faster we can get a response to you.

 

So when do I have to do this?

In order to make the next One Stop Shop meeting, we need to have your complete enquiries in by 12 noon on the Wednesday of the preceding week so that it may be circulated to the attendees well in advance of the meeting.

 

What information is given back?

The response will be simple; either there were no fundamental concerns raised in which case you can submit a formal planning application, or a brief summary of issues that would need to be addressed in order to prevent a formal objection from a Council department or a partner.

Where objections or comments are given, these are designed to be helpful and not confrontational. They are the same types of comments that would be given if the enquiry were a formal application and may result in your proposal needing altering, or in some cases abandoned.

The feedback you get is not formal planning permission, but merely an informal officer opinion. The outcome of a formal planning application may not necessarily be the same as the One Stop Shop feedback because new issues may be raised that were not considered before.

Examples of new issues may include:

  • objections from Northumbrian Water where a house extension would block their access to a sewer; or
  • where significant opposition from neighbours leads to refusal; or
  • where a protected species such as bats is discovered in the barn that was being converted into a house

You do not have to take the One Stop Shop comments into account if you decide to submit a planning application, but if you do not you are likely to get objections which may delay your application or even lead to its refusal. However, in most cases the information is valid and a formal planning application will run smoothly through the process where the advice is followed.