The stages of a planning application


The purpose of the planning system is to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. This is achieved by requiring proposed development (with the exception of ‘permitted development’) to have planning permission before any work commences. Applications that accord with relevant national and local planning policy will be granted unless there are material considerations which indicate otherwise.

Stages explained

Application is received

The planning application will be received, to be dealt with by development management service at Milton Keynes Council. Milton Keynes Councils' preferred method of receiving applications is electronically via the Planning Portal.

Application goes through the validation process

The validation process is where documents submitted as part of the planning application are checked to ensure they provide sufficient information, are accurate and scaled correctly and are accompanied by the correct fee. The Council requires supporting documents detailed in the Planning Application Validation Requirements (PAVR) which will be used in the validation of all applications. If the application is deemed valid you will be informed and it will be assigned to a case officer. If invalid, you will be contacted and additional information requested in order to make the application valid. It is important to submit a valid application to avoid unnecessary delays in the process.

The Planning Portal contains further information for the minimising delays at validation.

Consultations are sent out internally and externally

When an application is received it is important for Milton Keynes Council planning service to consult any other relevant departments that may be able to provide the planner with professional advice. This includes departments such as Highways who will assess changes to parking, or our Countryside Officer who will ensure no protected species will be affected by the application going ahead. It may also be necessary to consult with external authorities such as Anglian Water or English Heritage. Authorities who are consulted will have access to the plans and drawings and may also choose to visit the site to make an assessment. They will then have 21 days to pass their comments on the application to the Planning Officer, who will take them into consideration when making their recommendation. Local Town or Parish Councils and ward councillors are also informed and given opportunity to comment. The consultations undertaken for any application will depend upon the nature and scale of the development proposed and not all consultations will be required for all applications.

Neighbours are notified

When an application is valid, letters will be sent to neighbouring residential properties. These consultations direct neighbours to where they can view the plans / drawings and how to comment on the application – this is done through our Public Access website. These comments will be taken into consideration by the Planning Officer and will be summarised in the final report with the recommendation for either approval or refusal. It is important to note that any comments which are made on a planning application will be publicly available and may be published online. The neighbouring properties notified in relation to any particular application will vary according to the situation of the site and its surroundings. However, it should be noted that you are welcome to comment on any application irrespective of whether you have received a formal notification or not.

Case officer site visits and site notices

Some applications may require a visit by a case officer and for a site notice to be displayed. The case officer may contact the applicant or agent to arrange a site visit as it may be necessary to access the rear of the property to inspect the site and its relationship with neighbouring properties. Site notices are similar to neighbour letters, informing the public of a proposal and where to view and comment on the plans – the site notices will be displayed as close to the property as possible.

A recommendation is made by the officer

Once the consultation period expires, the case officer will consider the representations received, both from consultees and interested third parties and review the details of the case. Should any amendments be considered necessary, these will be sought at this stage. Following this, the case officer will decide whether the application will be recommended for approval or refusal. This decision is based upon relevant local and national planning policy, legislation, consultation responses and any other considerations material to the case. The recommendation will be made in the form of a written report which is publicly available. 

Recommendation is approved and the decision is issued

When the officer has finished the report and has made a recommendation, the report will be handed to their manager. If in agreement with the recommendation the decision will be issued to the applicant/agent.

After the decision has been issued

If the development is given permission, the decision notice may contain conditions that need the applicant to submit further details before commencing works on site and/or comply with certain requirements. This may include samples of materials or full details of proposed levels of a site. Once the applicant has had all these details agreed through a discharge of conditions application works can start on site.  Applications can be made online through the Planning Portal website.

Objectors have no right to appeal against the councils decision to grant planning permission. If the applicant is refused planning permission they may appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. See our Planning Appeals page for more information.

Non material amendments

After you have received planning permission for works, it may be necessary to make small amendments to the permission, for example changing the position of a door or window. If these are very minor changes, you can apply for a non-material amendment to the planning permission using the appropriate forms and submitting the required plans. Further details of what you need to submit can be found on the Planning application forms, checklists and fees page.

The provision for non-material amendments only relates to planning permission. There is no equivalent scheme in place for changes to listed building consent. For these, the works must be carried out strictly in accordance with the approved scheme or a new application submitted.

Local planning authorities have 28 days from the receipt of a valid application to issue a decision, or longer if that has been agreed in writing.

Planning enquiries contact information

Civic, 1 Saxon Gate East, Milton Keynes MK9 3EJ