Skip to main content

Make a planning application

A national shortage of qualified planning staff has resulted in vacancies within our planning team. This has led to some unavoidable delays in our handling of planning applications. To address this, we have launched a fresh recruitment campaign. We appreciate your patience at this time. Our dedicated team are committed and working hard to ensure you receive your planning decision as quickly as possible.

If you already have an allocated planning officer, they will contact you / your agent directly as required, to progress your application. To find out more about the planning process and what to do please see: Customer Service staff are unable to offer any additional assistance at this stage.

Step 1: apply for planning advice and assistance with planning process

You can apply for planning written advice to discuss the scheme. This can potentially resolve any issues before submitting your application. Refer to fees and exemptions list for details of charges. The page also contains some self-service links and guidance in Step 2 and Step 3.

If you wish to obtain confirmation that something does not need planning permission please apply for a lawful development certificate as planning advice is only informal.

You may want to appoint a professional (agent) to act on your behalf for planning applications and advice if, for example:

  • you aren't familiar with the planning process
  • your project is complex or controversial
  • your project involves particular design or conservation expertise

An agent can be anyone that you wish to appoint, for example a builder, architect, planning consultant, loft company or someone familiar with the planning process. If you choose to use an agent for your application then:

  • all correspondence and enquiries will go through them
  • they will receive the decision notice
  • we will not discuss a case with an applicant where there is an agent

We will assume your agent has advised you about the risks that may arise if you do not follow our advice. Your agent should also be able to advise you about the foreseeable issues associated with your proposal. If you have any problems with your application, please contact your agent.

Step 2: check local constraints and site history

Carry out planning searches to help you prepare for your planning application. 

Search planning applications

Refer to the How to Guides for:

  • assistance with search
  • how to find planning constraints using map search
  • assistance with planning matters for applicants and agents (guide 6)

Step 3: check local policies

Please check the policies relevant to your proposed development on the planning policy, other planning policy documents and policies maps pages.

Planning policy and its purpose

Other planning policy documents 

Step 4: submit the application with associated plans or documents

Check the validation requirements before submission. There is one for each form.

You can submit your application in one of the following ways:


Use the Planning Portal website for the majority of application types. You can check which applications can be submitted.

The Applicant / Agent guide (PDF) explains how the planning portal operates fee collection. For any enquiries please contact them directly. You must pay the relevant fee quoted at submission to the planning portal. The application will not be released to local planning authorities until this happens. If applications already received need more funds or a payment, you can pay us directly via the methods in Step 5.

Go to prior notification forms for change of use and householder prior notifications not yet in the planning portal.

In paper

Print a planning application form.

Minerals and waste applications

Please refer to this page Minerals and waste policies and other information and this page to apply and find the forms.

CIL information

Download the full Community Infrastructure Levy guidance

Step 5: make the correct payment

To access Bedford Borough Council's full list of planning fees, see the planning application fee list (PDF).

Pay online when you submit the application via the planning portal.

For phone, or mailing a cheque, please quote one of the following

  • portal number
  • application number
  • application site address

Telephone 01234 718068

Cheque make payable to 'Bedford Borough Council' and send to: Planning, 4th Floor, Borough Hall, Cauldwell St, Bedford MK42 9AP.

Step 6: what happens next

Most applications can take between 8 and 13 weeks to determine, dependant on the type, although this is not always the case. The relevant time scales for each application are online once the application is validated.

The Planning Scheme of Delegation (PDF) explains:

  • when an application will go to Committee
  • when it will be agreed by the Planning Team as a Delegated Decision

The Planning Committee is held every month. This is usually on a Monday, except for Bank Holidays, at 6.30pm. This is at Borough Hall unless advised otherwise.

View the upcoming planning committee agenda, or review past agendas and minutes. You can also read The Right To Speak Scheme (PDF).

A significant number of applications may require some form of amendment to the proposal prior to a recommendation of approval being able to be made. View the planning department’s approved procedure for negotiating amendments (PDF).