Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society

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Guide to the Planning Process

Planning applications for Wheathampstead are considered by St Albans City and District Council.

Any application is first checked by the Council to make sure that all the relevant information has been included. Once all the necessary information has been supplied, the Council registers the application, and a statutory 8-week period begins during which the application will be considered and a decision will normally be made.

1. Consulting with the public

When the application is registered:
  • a copy of the application form (and any plans submitted with the application) are available for members of the public to view on request;
  • they can also be viewed on the Council website: http://www.stalbans.gov.uk/living/planning/search-plans.php
  • the Council notifies the occupiers of neighbouring properties by letter that they have received an application;
and in some cases:
  • the Council may also erect a notice at the site;
  • they may issue a press notice or may consult other organisations such as Parish Councils. (This happens only rarely, e.g. with applications that involve changes to listed buildings or conservation areas.)
Anyone is then free to write to the Council stating their views about the application.


The Council should notify the public and other organisations in the above ways within five days of having received the application.
The Council then allows 21 days in which any comments must be received.

Role of WDPS

WDPS closely monitors all applications in the Wheathampstead area so that it can begin campaigning against any that we believe are contrary to our aim of preserving and promoting the village.

Members of WDPS are welcome to ask WDPS for support in any opposition they wish to mount against a local application. (WDPS cannot guarantee that it will provide support: our criterion is that any application we campaign against must be contrary to the aim of preserving and promoting the village.)

Our experience is that the Council tends to take more notice of objections raised by organisations such as WDPS – who represent a wide population – rather than of those raised by private individuals.

2. Making the decision

Once the Council has received any responses – from WDPS, neighbouring occupiers or other interested parties – the decision whether or not to allow the application is usually taken by the Planning Officer.  In some cases, however, the decision is taken by Councillors themselves in the form of one of the Development Control Sub-Committees. (There are three of these Sub-Committees, representing the north, central and south areas of St Albans City and District.)

Councillors take the decision instead of the Planning Officer if:
  • the application relates to a major development of strategic significance
  • the application has been made by the Council itself, or
  • the application has been “called-in” by one of the Councillors, i.e. a Councillor has asked for the application to be specifically discussed at a hearing.
Anyone may ask their local Councillor to call-in an application, although it should be borne in mind that the Councillor will be required to provide a good reason for doing so.

Meetings of the Sub-Committees at which applications are discussed are open to the public. One member of the public is allowed to speak for and against the planning application. If you wish to do so, you need to register with the Council on the morning of the planning application hearing.


A decision should normally be reached within the statutory 8-week period.
If a Councillor is to call-in an application, this must be done within 21 days from the date when the application was registered.

Role of WDPS

WDPS seeks to work with Councillors where appropriate to call-in applications that it believes should be publicly debated. Members of the WDPS Committee attend the relevant Sub-Committee meetings if pertinent applications in the Wheathampstead area are being discussed.

3. Announcing the decision

The Council formally advises the applicant of the decision in writing. They normally also inform any other people who have written to them expressing views about the application.
If an application is refused, the applicant has a right to appeal. Alternatively, applicants often to seek to make some amendments to the plan and then re-apply.  The process thus begins over again.


Decisions reached at Development Control Sub-Committees become public knowledge there and then. The Council informs the applicant in writing within five days of the decision having been taken.

Role of WDPS

WDPS carefully follows appeals against decisions that we have supported. We also monitor re-submissions and treat them on their own merits.


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Wheathampstead and District Preservation Society
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