Development Management

What is planning

To many people, planning basically means the control of development through the planning system. However, it is much more than a process of control which is governed by a set of rules. It is about the delivery of sustainable, higher quality development such homes, jobs and services along with roads and schools whilst protecting and enhancing the best of our urban and rural environment with the wider community benefit in mind. The system seeks to guide appropriate development to the right place and prevent development which is not acceptable. We also work closely with those proposing developments and other stakeholders such as members of the public.

Our Development Management team are responsible for considering planning applications, taking enforcement action where breaches of control have occurred, administering the appeals process and providing information and advice about the planning system in general.

However, not every development requires planning permission, this is because certain developments could be implemented through permitted development.

Note: The Government have and are continuing to make a number of changes to permitted development rights with a number of changes introduced in April 2015, including new rules to allow more flexibility for retail units, office and agricultural buildings to be converted to residential use without planning permission and increased limits for householder extensions. There are also new processes for dealing with proposals through the prior approval process.

Vacant Building Credit

Where a vacant building is brought back into any lawful use, or is to be demolished to be replaced by a new building, the developer will only be offered a financial credit (equivalent to the existing gross floorspace of the relevant vacant building(s)) which will be offset against the affordable housing contribution for the development, where the building(s) has been completely (100%) vacant for a period of 6 months before any application is submitted to the Council. The building cannot be made vacant (e.g. terminating leases of existing tenants) for the sole purpose of redevelopment. 'Abandonment' in this context, follows the interpretation in general planning law, and, depends on factors such as the condition of the building(s), length of non-use, whether there has been an intervening use and evidence of the owner's intentions.

Applicants will need to provide the gross external floor area (GEA) of any vacant building that they wish to claim vacant building credit on, and, the proposed building. The GEAs must be signed off by a RICS Chartered Surveyor or RIBA member architect.

Viability Appraisals

For applications with any residential element and which are not Policy compliant, applicants will be required to submit an open book viability appraisal which the Council will publish on its website. The Council may include a clause in any S106 agreement requiring the viability to be reviewed within a defined time frame.

Please note: that as of 1 January 2020 we increased our pre-application fees. A copy of the new fees schedule along with the current fees can be viewed in the document below:-

Please note: that Regulations to introduce the 20% increase in planning fees were made on 20 December 2017, which means we will be able to start applying the fee increase from 17 January 2018. These Regulations will also introduce the following fees:-

  • A new fee of £402 per 0.1 hectares for Permission in Principle applications;
  • The ability for us to charge for applications for planning permission following the removal of permitted development rights through Article 4 Directions or by condition;
  • A fee of £96 for prior approval applications (non-householder) to permitted development rights that were introduced in April 2015 and April 2017.

A full copy of the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 can be downloaded from the link below:-

Contact us

If you have any questions about planning you can contact our duty planning officer between 9am and 1pm Monday to Friday at our main offices or by email

General Planning Enquiries
01438 242159

Development Management
Planning and Regulation
Stevenage Borough Council
Daneshill House
01438 242838