FAQs

How can I find out if a road is adopted?

Surrey County Council will be able to help you. Alternatively you can have a look on their interactive map.

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I would like to discuss ideas to extend my home - is this possible?

We provide a pre-application service, further details are available here.

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How do I find out if I need planning permission for my proposal?

Certain forms of development can be carried out without the need to make an application. These are called permitted developments.

If you wish to receive a formal decision as to whether or not your proposed development is permitted, you will need to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for a Proposed use or development. There is a fee for this service.

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Can you recommend a planning consultant?

The Council cannot recommend a consultant. The Royal Town Planning Institute can provide details of approved planning consultants.

General planning advice about the planning process is also available from Planning Aid. Planning Aid is a free, voluntary service aimed at groups who cannot afford to pay for private consultants.

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Are neighbours consulted on planning applications?

Yes, all properties with an adjoining boundary are consulted for views on applications. A period of 21 days is allowed for reply. Late replies can be taken into account, provided they are received before a decision is made.

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When's my planning application going to be determined?

The Council endeavours to determine 80% of planning applications within eight weeks of their registration.

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How do I make my views known on a planning application?

You can either write to the Head of Planning Services, email us or submit your comments online.

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How can I view details of planning applications?

If you wish to see details of an application, including plans, these will usually be available to view and print online approximately three working days from the date the application was made valid by the Council. The Council also prepares a weekly list of new applications.

If you prefer, you can visit the Civic Offices between 9am and 4.45pm, Mondays to Fridays (Bank Holidays excluded) to view them at one of our public terminals. A member of our Customer Services Team will be available to assist you.

We are no longer be able to provide paper copies of forms, letters and plans.

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Telecoms

How do I find out if there is a planning application to site a telecoms mast near my house?

If your property adjoins the site of a proposed mast you will be automatically notified about the planning application. The Council also prepares a weekly list of new applications. New planning applications are advertised in local papers (The Woking News and Mail and Surrey Advertiser) on a weekly basis. The Council also maintains a register of all telecoms applications which it has received and registered.

Will I be automatically consulted on any planning applications to site a telecoms mast near my house?

No - unless your property directly adjoins the application site (see above). Not receiving a 'Neighbour Notification' letter does not preclude anyone from making representations about a mast proposal to the Council.

Why wasn't I/my neighbour consulted about the telecoms application?

Because the property does not directly adjoin the application site.

Was the local school consulted on the proposals?

Operators are obliged to consult local schools about mast proposals. It is advised that you contact the Planning Service for details (please state the reference number of the planning application as this will help us to reply to your enquiry faster).

How can I make representations about a planning application which proposes to erect a telecoms mast near my house?

Representations can be made by letter through the post, or online using the Public Access for Planning system, within 21 days from registration of the application.

What types of matters would be considered as valid objections to a planning application for a mast?

Representations need to consider how the siting and design of the equipment will make an impact on their particular visual amenity, or on the character or appearance of the local area. Matters such as claims that the siting of equipment will incur health risks cannot be taken into account by the Council in determining the application.

Who will determine the application?

The Council has delegated the power to determine minor planning applications to the Head of Planning Services. It will not usually be considered by the Planning Committee unless the Ward Councillor requests that it is considered by the committee, or there are a significant number of representations which differ from the officer recommendation.

Can I speak in objection at the committee?

Objectors can only speak at committee if the application is being considered formally by the Planning Committee (see above) and at least ten letters of objection have been received prior to publishing the agenda.

Why is the mast needed?

Under the terms of their government licence, the mobile phone operators have a duty to provide a network covering 80% of the population by 2007. Five UK operators also have licences to provide Third Generation (3G) services, that will allow high quality internet access from cell phones. The increasing number of users and quality of service will require further masts to be provided where the demand is highest, such as in urban areas.

Why can't the antennae be sited on an existing mast in the Borough?

The Council encourages mast sharing where possible. However, it is not always technically feasible to do so, as the existing mast may not be in a suitable location for that particular network. Also, any additional antennae would have to be sited at a higher level than the existing equipment, if part of a separate network. This would make the overall height of the mast much more visually intrusive, which may be unacceptable.

Why can't the mast be screened by trees?

Radio broadcasts between base stations need to follow a clear line of sight to provide a clear signal for them to operate efficiently and this will be affected if obscured by trees.

Why can't the mast be sited away from the residential area?

Masts need to be located where the demand for services is greatest, which will inevitably mean more masts located within urban areas where more people live, rather than areas where few people live, such as in the countryside.

Are masts a health hazard?

The Stewart Report concluded that "The balance of evidence indicates that there is no general risk to the health of people living near to base stations, on the basis that exposures are expected to be small fractions of the guidelines. However, there can be indirect adverse effects on their well-being in some cases."

The National Planning Policy Framework (Section 5 Supporting high quality communications infrastructure) sets out the Government's view on public health and telecommunications masts. Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds. They should not determine health safeguards if the proposal meets International Commission guidelines for public exposure.