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Accessing planning files


North Devon Council operates in an open and accountable manner. As part of this, the Planning and Development Service aims to ensure that any information on planning proposals and decisions is readily accessible to the public.

The Planning and Development Service provides notification and publicity on planning applications that include:
  • advertising in the press
  • statutory consultation
  • neighbour notification
  • maintenance of a planning register open to public inspection, containing details of planning applications, planning decisions, appeal decisions and enforcement notices
Please note that only part of the planning register is held electronically and therefore available through our planning pages.

We are currently in the process of conducting data capture of historic records registered before 1 January 1987. Should you require details of older applications which are only held on microfilm (applications prior to 1987 and back to 1947 in particular) a site history request will need to be submitted to the Planning department.

Fees and charges

For planning history searches we will not charge for:
  • allowing access to the planning register
  • allowing any person to examine relevant information (at a location and time agreed by us)
In all other instances, we reserve the right to charge a fee for complying with requests for information.

Available information

The planning register for applications received from 1 January 1987 is available for inspection at any time on our website, along with weekly lists of current applications registered and determined.

As well as accessing these files from a personal computer, customers can use the council’s internet facilities for free at any of its three Customer Service Centres.

Pre 1987 planning applications are currently held in paper or microfiche format only, depending on the age of the original application. These can only be viewed by prior arrangement following a request to identify applications for a specific site. A microfiche reader is available in the Civic Centre.

Copies of planning applications are also sent out to parish and town councils affected by those plans, and the public can access these, subject to the parish/town council’s own arrangements.

Current application files are available to view at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple, and in the majority of cases, it will be possible to access these on the same day as the request. However, some files may occasionally be out of the office because they are being used for site visits or meetings. It is recommended that you check file availability before visiting these offices.

Documents involved in the council’s decision-making process (for example, notice of meetings, agendas and reports) must be made available to the public at the Civic Centre five clear days ahead of the meeting. Copies of background documents to applications, considered by the Planning Manager to have an effect on a report, are also accessible.

Information that isn’t accessible

In some cases, the Planning and Development Service will not be able to make information available for customers to view. This could be because of the following reasons:
  • commercially confidential material is contained within it
  • there is confidential advice and responses from internal and/or external consultees
  • material is still in the course of completion
  • other material is restricted at the discretion of the Planning Manager or Deputy Planning Manager
  • enforcement files will not normally be made available for public inspection.

The Planning and Development Service will ensure that anyone wishing to view information that is not available to the public will be informed of this.

Copying planning files

Customers can get a copy of an extract of a planning application or a copy of a full document.

It will be necessary to sign a copyright form confirming that the information will only be for personal use in connection with the planning process.

The fee for copies of any document is dependent on the size of the document. If requested, the council will advise you of the precise price prior to making the copies.

Further information

The Planning and Development Service is committed to monitoring and improving its service. Therefore, if you have any further comments or feedback, please do get in contact.

Contact information

For planning enquiries, contact the Customer Service Centre:

Telephone: 01271 388288
For Typetalk: precede with 18001
Text: 07624 804042
Fax: 01271 388451

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Our office hours are Monday to Friday 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Appointment based planning surgeries are held at:
To make an appointment visit one of the offices or phone 01271 388288.