West Berkshire Council

Planning Decisions

How decisions are made, and how to find planning notices

The Planning Portal provides detailed information on how planning decisions are made.

A planning application can be determined (decided) in one of two ways: Decision under Delegated Authority or Decision by Planning Committee. We've explained these both below, as well as how to find a decision notice and what happens after a decision has been made.

Decision under Delegated Authority

The first way a planning application can be determined is under 'delegated powers', where the Head of Development and Planning is authorised to make and issue the decision which speeds up the process. This route is usually taken for minor or household applications.

In practice, an allocated planning officer will deal with the application and, after making a site visit to the location of the proposed development, they will consider:

  • whether the proposal complies with the relevant national, strategic and local planning policies
  • the effect of the proposal on the character of the area and any neighbouring developments
  • comments from members of the public (known as representations) received
  • responses from statutory consultees (council and external specialists who must be consulted about planning matters) and other interested parties, including Parish and Town Councils who are notified of all planning applications within their boundaries

Decision by Planning Committee

The second way a planning application can be determined is by committee. Planning committees in West Berkshire are split into Eastern and Western areas, each having an Area Planning Committee. Planning decisions made at an Area Planning Committee are usually related to major developments, council-owned land, or applications that have provoked petitions or letters of objection from the public or other interested parties. 

West Berkshire Council's pdf icon constitution [632kb] contains full details of the reasons a decision might be referred to a planning committee for a decision. More information is available in our doc icon guide to decisions and delegated powers [31kb].

You can pdf icon speak at a committee [15kb] yourself, or contact your local councillor to speak on your behalf. Your councillor may also be able to offer help or advice regarding a planning application.

You might also find it useful to consult our guidance on supporting or objecting to a planning application.

The decision

The outcome of the decision will be either:

  • approval (sometimes subject to conditions controlling such things as building materials)
  • refusal (with reasons for this)

After the decision has been made, we will send a decision notice to the applicant or their agent.

How to find a decision notice

You can use our Public Access system to find out about a planning decision for a development you are interested in. Search by entering the planning application reference number or the postcode, a single line of an address or a keyword. Select the 'Documents' tab then 'View associated Documents' to look for the decision notice once the decision has been made.

After the decision is made

If an application has been approved, any conditions on the decision notice will need to be complied with. Some of the conditions are 'pre-conditions' which require that some specified action must be undertaken, and/or relevant information needs to be submitted by completing the appropriate application, before work starts on the site (including site preparation, excavation and any demolition needed), or by the time or stage of development specified in the condition.

Where the condition specifies that details must be agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority, this must be dealt with as a formal application. The application would either be an 'Approval of Details Reserved by Condition' or 'Removal or Variation of Condition (S73)'.

Please ensure these types of conditions have been satisfied and that, where specified in the conditions, you have received formal written approval from us prior to the work beginning or by the specified stage of development.

If you're not happy with the decision

You have the right to appeal if you're unhappy with our decision on your planning application. This might be because you feel it's been refused unfairly or because you disagree with conditions that have been imposed.

Who To Contact