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Planning Processing Agreements

A planning processing agreement (PPA) is a project management tool and an agreed way of working for developers, the National Park and relevant stakeholders. It sets out the key stages involved in determining a planning application, identifying what information is required from all stakeholders involved, and setting timescales for the delivery of various stages of the process.

The advantages of using a processing agreement include:

  • Greater transparency in decision-making for everyone involved in the process
  • Greater predictability and certainty over the timing of key stages
  • Faster decision-making
  • Clearer lines of communication between authority and applicant
  • More effective and earlier engagement of key stakeholders such as consultees

What type of application is an agreement suitable for?

A PPA is most appropriate for major applications or for other significant proposals which have one or more complex planning issues that need careful and well planned consideration with the assistance of statutory consultees.

Detailed pre-application discussion and consultation is expected to take place on these larger developments and once the general principles and basic information requirements have been agreed, a PPA can be drafted to timetable further pre-application process and application handling. All parties, including external stakeholders will be involved in drafting the PPA and will agree to it if the timetable is feasible and information requirements are likely to be met.

Content of the PPA

The main purpose of the agreement is to provide clarity to all parties involved in the determination of the application of their responsibilities and to establish realistic timescales for processing the application.

As such, the processing agreement will cover the following:

  • Key contacts in the process
  • Pre-application stage
  • Information required to determine the application
  • Application processing timetable
  • Consultees and other stakeholders
  • Legal agreements and financial contributions (where required)
  • Issue of decision
  • Discharge of conditions

A PPA template which will be used as the basis for any agreement is available to view here (a Word document will download automatically).  It is not intended to be a lengthy document and will clearly set out the key stages in the process and realistic timescales for meeting these.

When can a processing agreement be set up?

Pre-application discussion between developers and the Planning Authority is always welcomed.  The appropriateness of using a processing agreement should be raised with us at any initial meeting to discuss your proposal.

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