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Planning glossary

Below you will find a glossary of commonly used planning terms and further guidance on how these are used.

TermDefinitionFurther guidance
Advert control application for consent to display an advertisement(s) See our planning applications and fees page for more information.
Agent the person/company instructed to act on behalf of the applicant.  

if the applicant disagrees with the local planning authority’s decision they can challenge that by appealing to the planning inspectorate, who are independent from the local authority

See appealing your planning decision for more information.
Applicant The person submitting the planning scheme. Often the owner
of the property or an interested party seeking advice or approval
of a scheme.
Application Describes the collective information consisting of application form, plans, completed certificates, site and location plan. See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
AONB Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. A landscape designation that protects an area by restricting certain types of development. Parts of Wycombe are located within the Chilterns AONB (external website). See our FAQs on how this may affect you.
Article 4 directions Removes certain types of permitted development. See the apply for planning permission page for guidance.
Block plans

Aerial view of a map indicating proposed works.See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.

See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
CIL a tax on certain forms of development to contribute to local infrastructure See the Community
Infrastructure Levy page for more information
Conservation  Area An area designated for its historic value as identified in the conservation area appraisal See the Conservation Area page for more guidance.
Constraints A restriction of development due to it being located in a designated area See our FAQs for more information.
Countryside outside of the Green Belt Areas outside of the Green Belt that are not within an identified settlement within the settlement hierarchy See policy CP3 and DM42-DM45 of the emerging Local Plan
Designation An area that has a special status, such as Green Belt,
Conservation Area, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, or a 
Flood Risk area, within which a site/address may be located.
See the FAQs page for information on how to see if your land is designated.

The formal determination of an application, usually in the form of a decision notice. This may include conditions.

See getting your decision for information on this process.
Decision codes

The abbreviation of a decision made on an application.

See the Decision codes section on our planning applications and fees page for a full list of decision codes and what this means for you.

See other decision codes that we use below.

Development The carrying out of building or engineering work in, on, over or under land, or the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land See the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the legal definition of 'development'.  
Flood Risk area An area identified as being at risk of flooding. Flood risk can be either 'fluvial' (from watercourses/rivers), or 'surface water' (from rainwater) or 'ground water' (from the ground). Fluvial flooding is zoned from Zone 1 (low risk) to Zone 3 (high risk). Surface and ground water flood risk is graded as 'low', 'medium' or 'high'. See the Flood Map for Planning to see if an area is affected by flooding.
Flood Risk Assessment (FRA) This is a document that contains information about the risk of flooding and what steps have been considered to reduce the risk of flooding to a site and its surroundings. See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for guidance on how/when to do this
Geographic Information System (GIS)
A mapping system containing information on planning policies and constraints.
See the MyMaps section of MyWycombe to view our GIS.
Green Belt Green Belt is a designation that restricts certain types of development. Its aims and purposes are set out in the NPPF under protecting Green Belt Land. See the apply for planning permission page for guidance on permitted development in the 
Green Belt.
Householder application

Planning applications for development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse (not change of use)

Includes: extensions, conservatories, loft conversions, dormer windows, alterations, garages, car ports or outbuildings, swimming pools, walls, fences, domestic vehicular accesses including footway crossovers, porches and satellite dishes. 

Excludes: any work to flats, changing the number of dwellings (flat conversions, building a separate house in the garden), changes of use to part or all of the property to non-residential (including business) uses, or anything outside the garden of the property (including stables if in a separate paddock).

See planning applications and fees for more information.
Listed building A building, structure or wall that has historic value and interest
will be graded as either Listed, Grade I, Grade II or Grade II* to protect the fabric and historic value.
See the Listed Buildings page
for further information.
Local Plan The plan for future development in Wycombe which sets out planning policies (rules) for planning applications. Also identifies future areas for housing, employment and other uses. See the Wycombe development 
plan for the adopted local plan. See new local plan for the plan currently being worked on.
Local Planning Authority (LPA) The authority responsible for decisions on planning matters. See the Planning Portal for information on how to find your local planning authority.
Location plan Aerial view of a map showing where a development is proposed in the context of the surrounding area See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
Minor applications

Planning applications for:

  • 1 - 9 dwellings;
  • site area less than 0.5 hectares (residential uses);
  • 1000sqm or less / 1 hectare or less (other uses).
See planning applications and fees for more information.
Main Town Centre Uses Uses commonly found in a town centre, including:
  • retail (including warehouse clubs and factory outlet centres);
  • leisure and entertainment facilities (including cinemas, restaurants, drive-through restaurants, bars, pubs, night-clubs, casinos, health and fitness centres, indoor bowling centres, and bingo halls);
  • offices;
  • arts, culture, and tourism development (including theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, hotels, and conference facilities).
See the Delivery and Site Allocations Plan for the policies on how these uses are dealt with
Major applications

Planning applications for:

  • 10 or more dwellings;
  • site area of 0.5 hectares or more (residential uses);
  • site area of 1000 sqm or more / 1 hectare or more (other uses).
See planning applications and fees for more information.
Material considerations Matters that we must take into account when determining a planning application. These can include (but are not limited to)
overlooking, loss of privacy, loss of light or overshadowing.
See the Material considerations on the planning portal website for guidance.
Minor amendment Small changes to the originally permitted scheme i.e works that do not materially impact upon neighbouring properties. See amending your application for details on how to do this.
MyWycombe Found on Wycombe’s website. Shows your
councillor, bin collection, designated area (if in one), planning
applications, etc – a one stop shop.
See MyWycombe on our website.
National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) National planning policy and guidance produced by Central Government. View the NPPF online.
OS datum point a vertical datum used as a reference point for determining altitude (height above sea level)  
Ownership certificate

Forms part of the planning application form. There are four options: 
certificate A, B, C or D – check the form and opt for one
certificate only.

An ‘owner’ is anyone with a freehold interest, or leasehold interest the unexpired term of which is not less than 7 years. In the case of development consisting of the winning or working of minerals, a person entitled to an interest in a mineral in the land is also an owner.

An ‘agricultural tenant’ is a tenant of an agricultural holding, any part of which is comprised in the land to which the application relates.

See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for guidance.
Permitted development Allows certain development to be carried out
without express permission from the LPA.
See permitted development explained for further guidance.
Planning conditions Restrictions imposed with a planning permission, which are set out on the decision notice. These conditions in certain situations can be discharged. See getting your decision for more information.
Planning history A history check on a specific site, building or area. Planning
records date back to 1 July 1948. All planning applications are
recorded and stored at the Council offices and via the Council's
See the apply for planning permission page for details on how to do this.
Planning policy
These are either national or local policies, eg NPPF or Local Plan.
For national policy see NPPF. For local policy see the Wycombe Development Plan.
Planning Portal An external website providing planning guidance and where you can
submit an online online planning application
See the Planning Portal website.
Proposal Description of works proposed.  See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
Register Processing of planning application, checking correct and completed documents have been submitted.  See the what we do with your application for more information on this process.
Rural Areas One of the five 'community areas' in Wycombe see Figure 9 of the emerging Local Plan
Section 106 agreements Legal document setting out terms of implementation of a
development and/or schedule of fees upon completion. 
See the apply for planning permission page for more information on this process.
Scale bars Found on all plans indicating a recognised scale of 1:20, 1:50,
1:100, 1:200, 1:500, 1:1250 or 1:2500. The scale bar will show
distances in metres. 
See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
Scattered business site Small unallocated sites in use for employment. They provide small-scale local employment opportunities, suitable for start-up businesses. See Policy DM5 of the Delivery and Site Allocations Plan for information on how these are dealt with
Schemes Relates to the proposal(s) itself See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
Settlement hierarchy An assessment of settlements within the area to categorise their sustainability. Used to inform allocations of housing growth in the Local Plan. see the Settlement Hierarchy study and policy CP3 of the emerging Local Plan for more information
Site plan Aerial view of a map indicating proposed works.  See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for examples and best practice.
Use class Categories of various 'uses' for a building or land (eg shops, drinking establishments, hot food takeaways).  See the use classes order explained for further information.
Valid Planning application has been fully processed and proceeds
to a planning officer for determination. 
See the how to prepare a valid planning application page for more information on how to make a valid application.
Validation Planning application is at the final stages of being assessed
before becoming a valid application
See the what we do with your application for more information on this process.

Other decision codes

You may see the following codes below for applications before a final decision notice is issued. These are also used at Planning Committee.

For a list of decision codes used in planning applications, see our Planning applications and fees page.

Other decision codes
Code  What this stands forWhat this means 
DLDET Decline to Determine We have declined to determine your application.
DEFDEP Defer to follow Departure Procedures We are inclined to grant permission to the application, despite having a departure from the local development plan. These types of applications must follow Departure Procedures.
DEFDOB Defer for Departure and Obligation We are inclined to grant permission to the application, despite having a departure from the local development plan, subject to 
DEFOBL Defer for Planning Obligation We are deferring a formal determination on the planning application until planning obligations have been agreed.
VOID Void application We are unable to determine the planning application as it has been deemed void.
DISPOS Finally disposed of LPAs must keep a record of all 'live' applications, however an LPA can record an application as being 'finally disposed of' if has been formally determined, withdrawn, or the period for determination has expired (without an appeal from the applicant).
MTG Minded to grant We are inclined to grant planning permission.
MTR Minded to refuse We are inclined to refuse planning permission.
WDN Withdrawn The application has been withdrawn by the applicant.
CSS Called in by the Secretary of State The Secretary of State for Central Government has intervened with the determination process
NDAPP Non-Determination Appeal Received The applicant has appealed to the Planning Inspectorate for an Appeal of Non-Determination. This is an appeal where the Local Authority has been unable to determine the application within the statutory timeframe.
OPEN No recommendation If a planning application does not meet the requirements of section 70A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the LPA is not required to make a formal decision. If the determination period expires, and the applicant does not appeal to the Secretary of State, the application remains 'open'. To 'close' the application, it must be 'finally disposed of'.

Related pages