The Planning Process

There are a number of key players in the planning process:

  • Central Government through the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has overall responsibility for the planning system and publishes national policy guidance notes and advice on the planning system. Appeals against local authority planning decisions are lodged with the Planning Inspectorate acting on behalf of the DCLG.
  • Government Office for the South West (GOSW) works with regional partners and local people to help deliver the Government's central aims in the region.
  • South West Regional Assembly (SWRA) is a partnership of councillors from all local authorities in the South West together with representatives from the commercial sector and other interested bodies. Its role is to promote the economic, social and environmental interests in the region. It is responsible for the preparation of the Regional Spatial Strategy which sets out regional spatial planning policies.
  • Devon County Council is the planning authority responsible for all minerals and waste development, and for its own development.  In addition, as Highway Authority, the County Council is consulted on all applications which affect the highway.  Prior to the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, the County Council, in partnership with the neighbouring Unitary Authorities and National Parks, were jointly responsible for preparing the Devon Structure Plan, and have a statutory role in the preparation of the Regional Spatial Strategy.
  • District, City and Borough Councils, as Planning Authorities, are responsible for granting planning permission for residential, commercial and other development.  They also prepare District wide Local Plans, now to be replaced by Development Plan Documents.
  • Whilst the majority of Devon is administered by two tiers of local government, Plymouth and Torbay are Unitary Authorities who carry out all the functions identified for District and County Councils.
  • For planning purposes, Dartmoor National Park and Exmoor National Park are administered separately.  The Development Plan and Development Management powers normally exercised by District and County Councils are exercised by the National Park Authorities.

For further information on the functions carried out by the District and Unitary Councils, please follow the links below:

Back to Planning Homepage