The Harpenden Town Council Mission Statement - To promote the area as a place to live, a place to work, a place to invest and a place to visit
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Planning within Harpenden

Understanding the Planning Application Process

Did you know that Harpenden Town Council considers Harpenden planning applications? So that means when your neighbour submits a planning application or any other application in the town is submitted, the Town Council is given the opportunity to consider the application before passing on a recommendation (if applicable) to the Planning Authority at St Albans District Council.

St Albans District Council (SADC), as the Planning Authority, strives to determine all planning applications within an eight-week cycle. The cycle commences when a planning application is submitted to SADC. As part of the cycle, Harpenden Town Council is consulted on all applications within the Harpenden area. SADC also consult with the immediate neighbours of the applicant, with the consultation period lasting for a three week period.  

The Town Council's Planning Advisory Committees meet on a three weekly basis to consider Harpenden applications that fulfill a certain criteria within the consultation period. The following types of planning application are not automatically considered by the Town Council’s Planning Advisory Committees, unless by exception, requested by an interested external party or Town Councillor:

Single storey rear extensions                             
Porches and conservatories
Garage conversion into habitable space             
Repairs/restorations to Listed Buildings
Summerhouses and offices in gardens               
Advertising outside the Conservation Area 
Variations and Removal of conditions                  
Non Material amendments

Residents can contact Harpenden Town Council to view planning applications and to enquire if and when these are due to be considered by either of the Town Councils Planning Advisory A or B Committees. Residents are also encouraged to advise the Town Council of any concerns that they might have regarding planning proposals that they feel affect them and suggest that copies of letters sent to the planning department at St Albans District Council are also forwarded to Harpenden Town Council.  These can then be considered by the relevant planning Councillors when viewing the planning application.

Recommendations on applications that were considered are then sent to St Albans District Council for inclusion in the Officers report to the SADC Planning (Development Control) Committee North for determination. As with all Harpenden Town Council meetings, members of the public are welcome to attend and in the case of all Planning Advisory Committee meetings, both applicant and consultee may speak for three minutes for or against an application.

After the consultation period expires, the applications then return to SADC for determination. The determination of planning applications is primarily conducted via a system of delegation to Council Officers, which means that the Local Planning Authority Officers determine all non-contentious applications, which is approximately 90% of the planning applications received by the Planning Authority. The Planning (Development Control) Committee North determines the remaining 10% of applications in the Harpenden Area.

St Albans District Councillors, however, have the power to “call in” any application they consider needs further investigation, which is a process that ensures the application is determined by the Planning Committee and not determined by a Planning Officer.

Should a resident have concerns about an application and wishes it to be considered by the St Albans District Council’s Planning North Committee, they can discuss it with a Plans North District Councillor and request that the application is “called in” on their behalf.  The Planning North Committee meetings are held every three weeks at the St Albans District Council offices.  A Harpenden Town Council representative from the Planning Committee is in attendance.  Residents will not be informed when their application is due to be heard but copies of agendas can be found on the St Albans District Council website under the heading of committee meetings

Harpenden Town Council Development Control Service

Planning can seem a very daunting subject, however; the Town Council delivers, as an agent of SADC, a planning service from the Town Hall, Leyton Road to help residents understand plans and the planning process. Harpenden plans are available to view at the Town Hall Information Point, between the hours of 10.00am and 2.00pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Publications and Planning and Building control guidance leaflets are available. Reference copies of the District Plan, East of England Plan, Hertfordshire County Council Structure Plan and Planning Policy Statements and Guidance Notes may also be viewed at the Information Point.  

Copies of all agendas and minutes for Town Council Planning Advisory Committee meetings (excluding any confidential items) are available to the public and can be viewed at or obtained from the Town Hall. Final decisions of planning applications can be found on the planning pages of the St Albans District Council website 

Following consultation with key organisations in the Town, SADC and the community, in September 2003 the Town Council launched the Harpenden Local Planning Policy Guidance Document. The Local Planning Policy Guidance Document is a definitive statement of the Town Council's views on the sustainable development of Harpenden. This document is intended as a directive defining the Town Council's policy and is a guide for the Local Planning Authority, applicants, local professional bodies, property developers and the Appeal process. To request a copy of the Local Planning Policy Guidance Document, email

The Local Planning Policy Guidance Document will eventually be superseded by the Neighbourhood Plan.  More information on this can be found via the below link:

Copies of all agendas and minutes for Planning Committee meetings (excluding any confidential items) are available to the public. For final decisions of planning applications please visit the St. Albans District Council website.

Copies of the most recent agendas and minutes are available to download in the Council Meetings Section

Tree works in the District

Details of applications for tree works in the District including Harpenden can be viewed on the Applications and Decisions sheets which are detailed on the St Albans District Council website. Any comments or queries relating to the tree work applications should be directed to Tel: 01727 866100 Ext. 2363.  Click here for the latest applications

Last updated about 4 years ago