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Submit a planning application

We are committed to engagement and consultation on planning applications in line with legal requirements. Our Statement of Community Involvement and flowchart shows the planning application process and opportunities for the public and councillors to comment on planning applications during the statutory period of consultation. We also encourage agents and developers to engage in pre-application discussion with the public before applications are submitted to us.

We want to ensure that major planning applications are dealt with in an efficient and effective way. For some major applications, we encourage the use of Planning Performance Agreements to ensure the best outcomes for everyone. The agreement sets out how the developer and the council will approach the application process, the resources to be allocated and the timescales.

Additional new requirements for planning applications in the Christchurch area

On March 16, 2022, Natural England (NE) provided advice to BCP about phosphates in the River Avon Special Area of Conservation. After discussions and sharing technical information, it was concluded that phosphates harm the River Avon SAC. This means that the Council must now handle planning applications differently. When considering a planning application, the local planning authority performs an Appropriate Assessment (AA) as required by the Habitats Regulations. The Council will only approve new homes if the applicant shows they have suitable measures to address the phosphate issue.

On October 25, 2023, the Cabinet decided to change the validation requirements for planning applications in the Christchurch area. Applicants must now show upfront that they have measures in place to deal with phosphates, increasing the chance of their proposal meeting the Appropriate Assessment requirements. While the Local Planning Authority (LPA) can't reject an application for lacking this information based on the current Validation Checklist, it's important to note that applications for more housing are unlikely to be approved without meeting the AA requirements.

Applicants can choose to implement direct measures or buy credits to offset their impact. This change applies to applications for more housing or tourism units in the area. It also affects applications submitted as Reserved Matters and under S73, which grant new permissions. Planning permissions that haven't met all the conditions yet will also be affected, including applications for Discharge of Conditions related to new housing units. Replacement dwellings with no increase in the number of dwellings won't be affected.

For applications currently under consideration, applicants and agents will be contacted soon and required to provide phosphate mitigation measures.

Before you apply

Please consider using our pre-application advice service. It helps to include everything that we require with your application. If you don’t, we will need to contact you to request missing items which will delay your application. Further details are set out in our validation checklists.

From April 2022 we are bringing into effect a new policy on accepting amendments to planning applications. We also now require photographs for certain types of applications as explained in our site visit process note.

Submit your application, plans and supporting documents

You can start an online application on the Planning Portal or you can download a paper form on the Planning Portal.

You need to submit the plans, supporting documents and pay the fee at the same time as you submit your form. Any plans submitted online or by email need to be in PDF format.

If making a paper application you need to send two copies of the paper form, plans and supporting documents and post to the BCP Council office for the area that the application site is located in. We need to scan your documents when we get them. Please don't have them bound or put them in plastic covers.


The Planning Portal have a guide to the fees for planning applications, and a planning application fee calculator.

If you use the Planning Portal to submit your application, you must pay your fee to them when you make your application. You can pay them with a credit or debit card when you apply online or over the phone by contacting the Planning Portal directly. It is also possible to pay by cheque or bank transfer. Please note that your application will not be released to us until after any application fee has been paid and the Planning Portal also include a service fee.

If you are submitting a paper application form you will need to pay us directly.

Developer contributions

Developments that create new floorspace may need to pay the community infrastructure levy.

If you seek planning permission for net additional homes you will need to make a contribution to ensure the impact of the development is mitigated.

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