The world of planning works in convoluted and sometimes confusing ways. One of the most common confusions is the amount of time people have to comment on a planning application.

Today is the deadline for comments on the Rocks Green supermarket application. Except it’s not. You still have many weeks in which to comment.

On a major application like this, Shropshire Council must consult for a statutory minimum of 21 days after advertising the application. It can then decide whether to approve or decline the proposal.

The government says that major applications should be decided in no more than 13 weeks. It is rarely possible to do this. In some cases, the developer does not provide sufficient information for the proposal to be judged. In others, the council will want to negotiate a host of details including technicalities of design and road access. To get around the 13 week deadline, councils sign planning performance agreements with the developer. These set out longer timescales for making a final decision.

Up to the point that decision is made, you can still comment. Big schemes like the Rocks Green supermarket are changing all the time. Often there are major changes and these can tip people who may have been against a scheme in favour, or vice versa.

Planning officers at Shropshire Council will only publish their report on the planning application a week before the decision is made. It is not unusual for people to make criticisms of the officers’ report or to write in support of it in the days before the planning meeting.

Member of the planning committee will take these comments into account, even though they have been submitted long after the original 21 day deadline.

We have a long way to go on the Rocks Green application. You still have time to comment or to add to your submitted comments. Whether you are in favour of the supermarket proposal or against it, I encourage you to make you views known.

You can comment online (14/05573/OUT). Or see my guide to commenting on planning applications.

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