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Apply for Planning Permission

We provide a pre application planning service, this service is designed to provide professional advice to people who wish to carry out development in West Somerset (excluding Exmoor National Park).   Spending time and effort in preparing your scheme is more likely to result in an acceptable, good quality development and will also help us process your application quickly.

We strongly recommend that you seek the services of a professional; we do hold a list of Accredited Agents.  If you are applying for planning permission and you are not using an architect or planning consultant then please follow the advice on these pages to ensure that your application is made correctly.

Step 1: Select how you wish to apply

There are two ways that you can make your application:

  • Online - the green option that saves you money. The Planning Portal guides you through each step of the application process and your application is submitted directly to West Somerset Council, there is no printing or posting required.
  • On paper - (application forms) four copies of all forms and plans are required for paper-based applications. 

Considering the application

Once an application has been submitted, the case officer will be identified and, where an application is submitted by an agent, all notification, discussion, and correspondence will take place with them.  The acknowledgement letter will name the case officer who will be your first point of contact for any queries regarding the application. 

The site of the proposal will be visited and the scheme assessed by the case officer usually within 10 working days of the application being registered.  The visit is usually without appointment, but where access to the building or site needs to be by arrangement (eg. in the case of locked points of access), the agent or applicant will be contacted and an appointment arranged.


All applications will be advertised by the display of a site notice posted on or near the application site and in a publicly visible location, in a weekly list of applications which is printed in the local newspaper, and, where appropriate, individual neighbours will also be notified by letter.  Some applications will also be advertised in the local newspaper. A period of 21 days will be allowed for comments to be received from the date of publication of the application.

Planning Consultations

Anyone can comment on a planning application.  However, for the representation to be “material” and be able to influence any decision, it must be based on legitimate planning reasons.  We will not take into account objections that are not specific or not based upon proper planning considerations.  Further advice on this matter may be obtained from a separate Guidance Note that explains what constitute material planning considerations.

All comments must be made in writing, should be signed and dated, and should clearly state the grounds on which the representation is made.  Anonymous representations will not be considered.  Pre-printed forms or letters of representation will be accepted for consideration if they are individually signed and dated.

The Council will accept e-mails as letters of representation provided that the sender provides their full name and postal address.

Representations can be submitted in the form of petitions and will be considered provided that:

  • Each page of the petition is headed with the aim of the petition
  • The name and address of those signing are provided and are readable
  • The grounds of representation are material and are clearly stated
  • The name and address of the petition coordinator is included

All properly made comments and representations will be considered and taken into account before any decision on an application is made, and also in the context of Development Plan policies and other material considerations. 

The Decision

The Local Planning Authority aims to determine applications as quickly as possible taking account of statutory consultation time limit constraints.  For major applications the target is 65% of applications to be determined within 13 weeks, for minor decisions the target is 70% within 8 weeks, and for all other applications the target is 85% of decisions in 8 weeks.