Wealden District Council
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer.
Parts of our website may display incorrectly or not work at all. Please consider downloading an up to date browser such as Chrome or Firefox.

How You Can Be Involved In The Planning Process

We encourage public involvement in the planning application process and you can be involved through:

  • Commenting on planning applications during the consultation period
  • Making your views known to your Town/Parish Council
  • Contacting your local Wealden District Councillor
  • Registering to speak for applications determined by Planning Committee
  • Viewing Planning Committee Meetings on-line

The stages that a planning application will go through, between Wealden District Council receiving it and making a decision, are explained below.

All applications are published online through our planning register where you can view key dates, plans and information associated with the application. 

1 – Validation

Once received, our technical support team checks the application to make sure everything that is required is submitted. If we have everything we need, the application is registered as valid. If not, we will tell the agent or applicant what is missing so that they can send it to us.

An applicant often uses an agent when submitting an application. If this is the case, all communication will be sent to the agent. 

If an application is missing information and this is not provided in a timely manner the application is returned. 

Once an application is valid the application is passed to a planning officer.

2 – Consultation

Anyone that will be affected by your application must be notified and given the chance to comment. This includes members of the public and internal and external consultees known as statutory bodies

The planning officer will display a site notice as close to the site as possible.

We may also advertise the application if required by legislation in. Anyone can comment.

21 days are usually allowed for comments to be received from the day we publicise the application or send out a consultation. View more information about keeping up to date with applications

Consultation expiry dates for each application is published on our planning register.

3 – Determination

The planning officer will consider factors such as policy, location, neighbour impact, consultee comments, design and wider impact.

This process takes between 8 and 13 weeks, depending on the application type where applications determined under delegated powers for minor developments (including householder applications) are generally determined within eight weeks of validation. Applications for major schemes are generally determined within 13 weeks of validation.

During the determination process, various discussions and negotiations will be taking place. The planning officer will then write a report recommending approval or refusal of the application.

4. Planning Committee 

A majority of planning applications, approximately 90%, are dealt with by Council officers under delegated powers. The other 10% are determined by Planning Committee

If an application is going to be determined by the Planning Committee, the applicant or their agent will be notified in line with the Scheme of Delegation which is set out in the Councils Constitution Part 7, Management Structure and Scheme of Delegation of the Constitution, Section G1.

Those who have written either in support or objection of an application that is going to be determined by Committee will receive written confirmation of the Committee date and officer recommendation to establish whether you wish to speak on the application at Committee.

There are two planning Committees: Planning Committee (North) and Planning Committee (South). They each meet once a month.

5. Decision

The final decision can be made in two ways, either:

  • by a planning officer; or
  • by our Planning Committee, made up of elected Councillors

Once a decision is reached, it is sent to the agent or applicant and published online. 

6. Decision Time Limits

There are different time limits for each type of planning application:

  • Minor applications (including household) – 8 weeks
  • Major developments – 13 weeks
  • Applications involving environmental impact assessments – 16 weeks
  • Non-material amendment – 28 days
  • Applications to approve details reserved by condition – 8 weeks
  • Certificates of lawfulness for proposed or existing development – 8 weeks

If we miss the time limit to determine, the applicant has the right to submit a planning appeal.

We use a number of different methods to publicise applications. You can be alerted to a planning application in your area from:

From 1st November 2020 we changed how we notify on planning applications, for more details see the Update on how we notify on Planning Applications page.

You can provide your comments on an application that is currently open for consultation.

Most planning applications have a period in which you can make comments.  You may comment on an application until the latest of these dates:

  • The expiry of the site notice
  • The expiry of the advert (where relevant)

The expiry date will be displayed on the main details page of the planning application on our Planning Applications Online System.

Submitting Comments

When submitting a comment we ask that you quote the planning application number in your correspondence and include your name and full postal address.  If you do not include your name and address your comments will be classed as anonymous and may not taken into consideration by the planning officer.

To submit comments:

  • Click on the ‘Comment on this application’ button on the details page of the planning application.  The button will be shown only during the consultation period during which comments can be made.
  • Email your comments to planning@wealden.gov.uk

Important notes about commenting on a planning application

  • Comments received will be made available for public inspection through our website. This means that the Council cannot treat any comments made on a planning application as confidential. In the case of a Planning Appeal your comments will also be passed to the Planning Inspectorate. Every effort will be made to remove personal details such as telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures prior to the information being published online, although wherever possible please do not include these details. Please Note: your name and address will be published on the internet until a decision is made on the application (whether by The Council or The Planning Inspectorate).
  • Late comments will be taken into consideration by the case officer. Where applicable and for those applications determined at Committee late comments may not be considered if they are received too close to the date of Committee.
  • All comments received on an application will be considered prior to a decision being made. We do not respond to individuals who have submitted comments due to the volume of correspondence received.  We also do not enter into correspondence received after a decision has been made.
  • Some applications including Prior Notifications there is little or no public consultation required by the Council either to local residents or Town/Parish Councils.

When making a comment you will need to give detailed reasons about why you support or oppose a proposal and be aware of what we can and can’t take into consideration.

It is worth remembering that it is not the number of responses that may affect a planning decision, but the planning issues raised. 

What planning issues we consider:

  • Local and national planning policies. 
  • Government circulars, orders and statutory instruments.
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions).
  • Design, visual appearance and materials.
  • Overshadowing, loss of outlook (but not loss of view).
  • Noise and disturbance from use.
  • Smells.
  • Light pollution. 
  • Highway safety issues.
  • Traffic generation.
  • Vehicular access.
  • Adequacy of parking. 
  • Impact / loss of trees / hedgerows. 
  • Landscaping.
  • Nature conservation and effect on protected species.
  • Intrusion into the open countryside.
  • Risk of flooding.
  • Effect of listed buildings and conservation areas.
  • Archaeology.
  • Hazardous materials and ground contamination.

What planning issues we cannot consider:

  • Loss of view including over other land
  • Rights to light.
  • Loss of property value.
  • Breach of restrictive covenant.
  • The level of profit a developer might make.
  • Personal circumstances of the applicant (in most cases).
  • Objections based on race, religion or sexual orientation of the applicant. 
  • Moral objections e,g, to uses such as betting offices
  • Matters controlled under building regulations or other non-planning laws, e.g. structural stability, drainage, fire precautions, environmental protection etc.
  • Private issues between neighbours e.g. land/boundary disputes, loss of ability to maintain property, damage to property, private rights of way, covenants etc.
  • Problems arising from the construction period of any works, e.g. noise, dust, construction vehicles etc.
  • Retrospective nature of approval sought i.e. if development is already built or started without permission. It is still necessary to look only at the planning merits.

Offensive, racist, discriminatory, threatening and other statements that are not appropriate will not be published.

  • Offensive statements lower a person’s reputation personally within their trade, profession or business.
  • Racist statements are those that are offensive or discriminate against individuals on racial grounds, including their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. Gypsies and other minorities are racial groups.
  • Statements that discriminate on grounds of religion, sexuality or disability will also not be published.
  • Comments that include such statements will be rejected and returned back to you but can be resubmitted in a more acceptable form.

The Council is bound by the Equality Act 2010 which applies to those providing services and public functions and prohibits direct and indirect discrimination and harassment all of which these types of remarks might amount to.

The council reserve the right not to publish comments. 

To make sure you do not miss any information that is added to a planning application you are interested in, you can subscribe for email alerts. The Council use the website and social media to communicate any amendments (if made) to planning applications and you can also be alerted to when the decision of the application has been published. Registration for updates is free, though an active e-mail account is required. For more information on how to keep up to date with planning applications see our page dedicated to this.

There are two Planning Committees, North and South. Each of these two Committees generally meet every four weeks. 

The dates of forthcoming meetings can be found on the Council’s timetable of meetings.

The agenda for the forthcoming/current meeting is available five working days before the meeting with minutes of previous meetings made available online:

Both North and South Committees meet on a Thursday at 10.00am in the Civic Community Hall, Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham. 

Due to the Government restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, certain changes have been made to the arrangements for the Planning Committee meetings. For more information please view our page regarding Covid-19. It is possible to still register to speak on planning applications that come to Committee, however our speaking rules have been amended during this pandemic. Further information on the current public speaking arrangements can be found on the pages for Planning Committee South or Planning Committee North. The Council operates a scheme of public speaking at these Committee meetings prior to consideration of any application being reported on the agendas, where up to 2 people for, and 2 people against an application may address the meetings for up to 2 minutes each (3 minutes for major applications).

We are required to assess each planning application on its own merits, taking into account national and local Planning Policy as well as other material considerations.

Applications are allocated to a planning case officer, who is the point of contact for making enquiries about the application. The case officer is responsible for carrying out a site visit, assessing the merits of the proposal in terms of planning policy and the comments received as a result of the consultation process.

The majority of planning applications, approximately 90%, are dealt with by Council officers under delegated powers, If it is considered inappropriate for the application to be dealt with under delegated powers, the application will be reported to members of the appropriate Planning Committee in line with the Scheme of Delegation – Section 7.1,

The applicant has the right of appeal to the Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions in the following circumstances:

  • if a decision has not been reached within 8/13 weeks of the application being received by the Council
  • upon receipt of a decision notice either for refusal or approval (where the applicant is aggrieved by any condition imposed)

Third parties, for example local residents do not have a right of appeal against any decision made.

Two teams of Planning Officers cover the North and South areas of the District.

North Team covering Buxted, Crowborough, Danehill, Fletching, Forest Row, Framfield, Frant, Hadlow Down, Hartfield, Isfield, Little Horstead, Maresfield, Mayfield, Rotherfield, Uckfield, Wadhurst, Withyham.

Team Leader: Stephanie Wood

Assistant Team Leader: Rob Bewick

South Team covering Alciston*, Arlington, Berwick*, Chalvington and Ripe, Chiddingly, East Hoathly, Hailsham, Heathfield and Waldron, Hellingly, Herstmonceux, Hooe, Horam, Laughton, Long Man*, Ninfield, Polegate*, Selmeston*, Warbleton, Wartling, Westham, Willingdon and Jevington*.

Team Leader: Caitlin Boddy

Assistant Team Leader: Vacant

The Major Applications Team covers all areas in the North and South except those that fall within the responsibility of the South Downs National Park.

Team Leader: Claire Turner

Assistant Team Leader: Matthew Taylor

The South Downs National Park* are the responsible Local Planning Authority fully responsible for applications in Alfriston, Cuckmere Valley, East Dean and Friston with partial responsibility for Alciston, Berwick, Long Man, Polegate, Selmeston, Willingdon and Jevington.

To contact the team or for general enquiries email planning@wealden.gov.uk. If you are contacting us about a specific application please provide the application reference number and the case officers name if known including your contact details. Cases officers will be available by email and this is the preferred method of contact.

You can visit our twitter feed @WDC_Planning for service updates, news and information from planning.