This page is to help both applicants and agents when submitting and tracking planning applications. Scroll through the page or jump to the relevant section using the heading links in the menu. Viewing planning data Go to www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans to view planning data. Here you will find links to planning application data, how to guides (for assistance with planning processes), appeals, enforcement, enquiries, planning forms, Planning Committee, planning policy and check planning constraints on the map. For all other planning information, including heritage and conservation, please go to the Planning home page. Viewing your applications To view your applications click on the button on the page labelled View and comment on planning applications. Type in your application number and to view all the required details. For the application plans, documents and correspondence click on the ‘Documents’ tab and then the link ‘View Associated Documents’. Please refer to the ‘Contents List’ in the list of documents on more recent applications, for more details about what is available. For general public representations please click on the tab labelled ‘Comments’. All applications can be tracked and checked online including, viewing correspondence (published online within 24 hours on working days Monday - Friday) plans and decision notices / Officer reports etc are published on the day of receipt and issue. Submitting applications All forms and guidance are available on www.bedford.gov.uk/planningforms including how you can submit the applications to us, the fees list and payment methods. If you want to confirm planning permission is not required, please submit a lawful development certificate. Please refer to the validation requirements before applying - each form has its own set of requirements, so please scroll down the page. If the correct documents / plans are not submitted initially this will delay your planning application, which we will check on receipt. If any further information is needed, we will invalidate the application and write to you requesting the details that are required within an allocated time frame. If the outstanding information is not received the application will be returned and fees refunded, so you would need to reapply. Please refer to all the details in the letter and respond as instructed, including how to submit any new plans / documents requested. Bedford Borough Council cannot use application details from previous applications or compile the application and documents for you, this must all be submitted to us on each application you wish to submit. Local planning authorities (LPAs) do not provide a submission service. If you require advice on the scheme or its feasibility prior to submitting an application, please refer to the PREAPP section on this page. For information about personal data and redaction of sensitive data please see the relevant section below. How to guides Please see our how to guides page for details on permitted development, establishing use of land and property, how to discharge conditions and other useful planning information. It also explains how to use the website and find documentation online. Applicants – who to contact about applications and submission You may want to appoint a professional (agent) to act on your behalf for planning applications and advice if, for example: you are not familiar with the planning process your project is complex or controversial your project involves particular design or conservation expertise An agent can be anyone that you wish to appoint, for example a builder, architect, planning consultant, loft company or someone familiar with the planning process. If you choose to use an agent for your application then: all correspondence and enquiries will go through them they will receive the decision notice we will not discuss a case with an applicant where there is an agent We will assume your agent has advised you about the risks that may arise if you do not follow our advice. Your agent should also be able to advise you about the foreseeable issues associated with your proposal. If you have any problems with your application, please contact your agent and not the Planning Department. Consultation period and Officer contact All contact by Officers will be made with the agent only. The only time they will contact an applicant is if no agent is being used to submit an application. Once your application is valid and being processed, your agent will probably not hear from the Officer before the consultation period expires (found online in the ‘Important dates’ tab in our online system). This date is triggered by letters, site notice and advert (all where relevant), the dates for these will also show online. The Officer may visit the site and post a site notice (contact will only be made about this if they feel it is necessary). Once the overall consultation period has expired (usually four weeks - please check online) they will start assessing the application and any responses received which are published on the public access planning website on receipt (either in the documents or comments tabs). If the Officer requires more information at this point they will contact your agent. They will not provide updates as all the details are online. If the application is going to the Planning Committee, the details will be online and the agent will be notified just over a week before the meeting. If the application has been ‘called in’ by a Councillor to be heard by the Committee, these details will also be online. If the application is determined by the Officer as ‘delegated’ it will go though a checking process before the decision is issued. The expiry date of the application can be extended so the original determination date is not always the date we issue the decision by. There is more information about the scheme of delegation, committee, making amendments and extensions of time etc on this page - see menu for more details. You can find all the dates, comments and details referred to above online on www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans (via the 'view and comment on planning applications' button). If you are an applicant please contact your agent with any further queries about your application. Personal data Details about personal data can be found at www.bedford.gov.uk/planningpersonaldata but please see below for more information: If you have included any personal data within a planning application it will be published online. If you do not wish this to be shown you will need to provide a replacement document with the personal data removed, by the method you submitted the application. Personal data supplied on the application form is automatically removed and any medical information supplied to apply for a disability exemption, will not be published online if clearly marked. Any future correspondence you send us in connection with this application will also be published online. This includes any email addresses the correspondence is copied to (business telephone numbers and email addresses are not classed as personal data). You therefore may wish to send blind copies by using the BCC email facility or as a letter attachment that does not include any personal information. Documents marked as confidential will be published online if they form part of the planning application, for example viability statements, business statistics etc, or they cannot be considered during the determination of the application. If you want the documents to be considered, please remove the sensitive data and resubmit. This applies to all planning applications and lawful development certificates for an existing use or development (LDCs). An exception to this is any information submitted that relates to protected birds or badger setts, which will not be published online (if clearly marked). PREAPP / planning enquiry documentation and submission All pre-application submissions made after 1 March 2022 will remain unavailable to view online. Pre-application enquiries can, however, be released to view as part of a FOI request so confidentiality cannot be guaranteed (although any personal data contained within the application form will not be disclosed). Please consider this when submitting a pre-application enquiry. Any information that you do not want revealed should not be submitted as we cannot guarantee it will remain confidential. To submit a planning enquiry or PREAPP with the relevant fee or view the self-serve documentation we have available, go to www.bedford.gov.uk/planningenquiries. Please read the fees, rules and exemptions sheet in step 4. Bedford Borough Council Planning Scheme of Delegation The Government expects at least 70% of standard planning applications to be determined with 8 weeks and at least 60% of major planning applications to be determined within 13 weeks to determine, although extensions of time can be agreed. Not all planning applications need to go to Planning Committee, those that don’t are referred to as ‘delegated’ decisions. Read the Scheme of Delegation (PDF) for more information. Planning Committee The Planning Committee is held every month, usually on a Monday at Borough Hall from 6.30pm. To register to speak at Planning Committee please email Righttospeak@bedford.gov.uk before 4.45pm on the Friday before the committee date. To view a Planning Committee report you will need the date of the meeting. A letter will be sent to the applicant or agent (if used) to notify them an application is going to Committee. We do not re-advise if the application is deferred. You can also find the date an application is going to committee via the public access planning portal. Type in the planning application number or site address and click ‘search’. Click on the heading ‘Important dates’. Look in the Actual Committee Date box to see the Planning Committee date (if relevant). To view any Planning Committee agendas, minutes and committee information for Bedford Borough Council or for the Joint Planning Committee between Bedford Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council, please go to www.bedford.gov.uk/planningcommittee. Extensions of time It may be necessary to agree an extension of time to determine a planning application. Examples can include: If a committee date falls outside the determination date of an application. If a legal agreement is required. If the case officer agrees to allow amended plans following negotiations. To extend the time of an application both the applicant/agent and the case officer must agree a new date and confirmation must be sent by email or letter to the case officer. How to negotiate amendments to undetermined planning applications Please see our advice on negotiating amendments (PDF) to find out the details required. Key points are summarised below: Planning applications typically fall into one of the following categories: Category 1 - Scheme acceptable as submitted – Approval without negotiation Category 2 - Scheme unacceptable as submitted – Refusal without negotiation. Category 3 - Scheme unacceptable as submitted but needs only minor amendments which would not require re-consultation - Approval following negotiation. Category 4 - Scheme is unacceptable as submitted but needs minor amendments or further information to meet the objections or concerns of a consultee and no other third parties need to be re-consulted - Approval following negotiation. Category 5 - Whether the application has been subject to pre-application advice. If there has been no pre application advice, and the issues raised could reasonably have been identified before submission we will normally proceed to Refusal without Negotiation Important note on extension requests Officers will ask for suitable extensions of time when they are prepared to request amendments from you and, if those extensions are refused, then the applications will be determined on the basis of the original submission without further discussion. The time frame would usually be one month from the date of receipt of amended plans as follows: 2 weeks re-consultation period. 1 week to check and write the report. 1 week for manager to check and for the decision to be issued. How to submit amendments on applications For amendments to a current (undetermined) application: please supply in paper or electronically by the planning portal using the portal number you were given at submission of the application to upload the new documents. Please do not create new applications as these will be returned. The portal can assist with any queries via its website. For amendments or resubmission of a determined application and discharging conditions: to re-submit or amend a determined application, please create a new application online or submit in paper using the relevant application type. We cannot accept a portal reference for an application that has had a decision. Determined applications – queries with decisions, how to vary/amend and how to submit discharge of conditions A planning application decision cannot be changed once determined by the LPA. Legally it stands as issued. All decision notices are available online at www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans. The Officer's report fully explains how the decision was made and what was taken into account. If you do not agree with a decision or conditions attached, you should appeal via the Planning Inspectorate as detailed in the decision notice. You could also submit a variation to the original application. If you feel due process has not been followed in the determination, you can make a corporate complaint at www.bedford.gov.uk/beheard. If you simply disagree with the decision reached you will need to lodge an appeal via the Planning Inspectorate. All forms and methods of submission etc are available at www.bedford.gov.uk/planningforms. To vary a determined planning permission For very minor changes, for example moving window or door or similar, submit a ‘Non Material Amendment’ application For all other variations submit a S73 application, ‘Application for Removal or Variation of a condition’ (If the changes are very substantial this may require a new planning application). S73 is not the application type to discharge conditions please see point 2. below. If the change or the development is retrospective you will need to complete a S73A application using the ‘Application for Planning Permission’ form. Alternatively you may wish to reapply for permission. To discharge conditions. If conditions were stipulated on a planning permission that required a further application to be submitted and approved by us, please refer to the form for ‘Application for approval of details reserved by condition’ (For advice See ‘How to Guide’ 12). For any planning advice please see details on www.bedford.gov.uk/planningenquiries. To vary / discharge a S106 agreement, see www.bedford.gov.uk/s106agreements. To confirm planning permission is not required, for development which has yet to take place please submit a lawful development certificate (proposed works/use). If works/use have already started or completed you would need to submit a lawful development certificate (existing works / use) or a retrospective planning application. Extending permissions We cannot extend the time in which people may commence development. If the permission states that development must complete by a certain time (usually three years from the date of the permission) the permission expires if development has not started. The LPA has no power to issue an extension to that expiry date and a fresh planning application must be made for the entire development. Commencement of a development after the expiry date would be a breach of planning control and enforcement action could be taken against the breach. If a permission issued for a particular use has a condition which specifically states that the permission is a temporary one, ie that the use must cease by a certain date, the Council can only consider extending that end date if a ‘variation of condition’ application is submitted before the end date specified in the relevant condition on the permission. A use which continues after the end date specified on the permission would be a breach of planning control and enforcement action could be taken against the breach. Planning Officer availability Officers can only be involved in discussions on their current, un-determined caseloads. If your enquiry is something an Officer needs to assist with, it will be forwarded to them for a response. If an Officer is on leave your query may have to wait until their return as applications are not dealt with by alternative Officers during periods of absence. If you are an applicant who is using an agent, please contact your agent with any queries as all correspondence will be with them. Please refer to this page for details about how to amend, where to find applications and their dates and correspondence etc. online, so you can check this prior to contacting the department by email. All the documentation and details for planning applications, appeals and enforcement and How to Guides to assist, are available on www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans. Request to remove an agent from an application In order to remove the current agent details from a planning application we require written permission from them. This is because the LPA must only correspond with the contact shown in the application. If there is to be a different point of contact, this needs to be confirmed by all the affected parties otherwise we could have unauthorised parties withdrawing, amending or otherwise dealing with an application in a way that wasn't intended. This may reflect, for example, disputes with agents over fees or issues about copyright, although it is not the LPA's function to resolve these sorts of matters. CIL matters The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a levy that local authorities can choose to charge on most new built development in their area in order to raise funding to carry out infrastructure projects. The CIL charging schedule was brought into effect in Bedford Borough in 2014. It applies to new residential development and also convenience based supermarkets, superstores and retail warehouses (net retailing space over 280sqm). Minerals and waste applications Applications for minerals extraction or development and waste facilities for Bedford Borough Council are determined by a shared service team based at Central Bedfordshire Council. The principals and processes for determination are as adopted by Bedford Borough Council in the sections above. Find out more about applying. We do have some former County Council applications on our website at www.bedford.gov.uk/searchplans but enquiries for these types of applications can be directed to MWapplications@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk. If you use email@example.com we will forward these on.