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Nutrient Neutrality Advice

In March 2022 Natural England identified the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast Special Protection Area (SPA) as being in an unfavourable condition due to nutrient pollution, specifically nitrogen. The whole of the Darlington Borough is located within the identified catchment area of the Teesmouth and Cleveland Coast SPA, which is the whole River Tees.

Under the Habitats Regulations, those planning authorities falling within the catchment area must carefully consider the nutrients impacts of any projects, including new development proposals, on habitat sites and whether those impacts may have an adverse effect on the integrity of the site that requires mitigation.

See the latest advice on Nutrient Neutrality 

Validating your application

When we receive the application, we check to make sure it contains all the required details.

This process is called validation. Applications need to include:

  • a correctly filled in form with all the relevant questions answered
  • a correct fee
  • a site location marked with a site boundary
  • scale drawings showing the proposal

Some applications require additional items, such as:

  • photos of site
  • a design and access statement
  • site surveys

The requirements depend on the type of application and on the nature of the development.

What to include with your application

Remember to include all of the required documents when submitting your application. Incomplete applications are not progressed until you provide the missing items.


Make sure that all copies of each form [link] are fully completed and signed before submitting.

Plans and drawings

Plans and drawings need to illustrate the details of the proposed development. The nature of the plans and drawings may vary. The most common types are listed below:

Site location plan

Most applications require a site location plan. It needs to be an Ordnance Survey map (usually A4 size and 1:1250 or 1:2500 scale) with the boundary marked in red.

Site layout plan

You should include it to show the different elements within the site (such as buildings, walls, paths, trees, etc). The amount of details depends on the application.

The plan should be in metric scale (1:500), indicating the north. All measurements should be in metric.

Remember that the site layout plan is not the site location plan. The location plan shows the surroundings. The layout plan shows details within the boundaries. The two plans should complement one another.

Detailed plans and drawings

If appropriate, you should include floor plans and elevations. For alterations and extensions, it’s better to make separate drawings for the existing building and for the proposed alterations.

Example plans [pdf document].

In simple cases, it might not be necessary if the existing and proposed elements are separable.

External materials have to be described.

All dimensions have to be in a metric scale. Floor plans are at a scale of 1:100 or 1:50.

The drawings that you submit should not be too large. It is difficult to copy sheets larger than A3. We prefer smaller-sized sheets when possible.


Hand-drawn sketches can be useful for sizes and distances. Sketches are useful for positions of trees or advertisement signs. All measurements need to be in metric.


Please include pictures when you think they are helpful. Include digital photos on a CD.

Trees Protected by a Tree Preservation Order and/or within a Conservation  Area 

If you are applying for work to trees that are the subject to Tree Preservation Orders, or within a designated Conservation Area, which involve damage to structures,  we insist that a structural report to accompany the application is submitted by a qualified person, e.g. a structural engineer.

It is up to the applicant, to fully evidence their proposal and without a professional report, an application will be made invalid and not considered.

Where trees are thought be to Dead, Dying or Diseased, appropriate arboricultural advice should be sought from by a qualified arborist and their report submitted for the Council to consider. In the same way requests which lack any qualified evidence in support of the proposal for the work are unlikely to be supported.

Sketch Plan requirements for Tree Applications

Your plan needs to show the precise location of the tree(s) in relation to nearby property/roads/boundaries. It should, therefore:

  •  indicate the main features of the site where the tree(s) stand and its surroundings; in particular, you should:
    • mark and name surrounding roads
    • sketch in buildings, including adjoining properties
    •  add house numbers or names
  • mark the position of the tree(s) to which you want to carry out work and identify them by the number shown in the Tree Preservation Order where possible; if you use a different number, please make sure that this can be matched with your description of the tree(s)
  • if there are many trees on the site, make clear which tree(s) are included in this application by:
    • marking all trees on the plan, but only numbering those to which you want to carry out work
    • showing the approximate distance between the application tree(s) and buildings
    • adding other relevant features on the site (e.g. greenhouse, paths)

Design and access statement

The statement needs to provide details on design, access and sustainability. It applies to Major developments and Listed Building applications. Plus, it’s for developments in a conservation area with one or more dwelling houses. Or the provision of a building where the new floor space is 100m2 or more.

See our design and access statement page for more details.

Heritage statement

Supporting applications for Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent. For planning permission that impacts Scheduled Monuments or Listed Buildings and for developments in Conservation Areas.

Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)

The Government made regulations to control flood risk from new developments. New developments need a sustainable drainage system. The Council requires details of sustainable drainage in the planning applications and pre-application for major development.


Fees vary for different applications. Some types don’t require a fee. If you pay by cheque, you need to add a Fee Form completed and signed.

A consultation statement

Local list

To make the application valid, we need more information. It depends on the type and location of the area.

The rest of the information is listed below. This local list represents the upper limit for items that can accompany an application. Only a small number of these items is necessary.

Local validation checklist - comprehensive validation guidance & checklist

The following documents provide a detailed guide and information that can be requested along the planning application.

  • validation guidance [Currently being updated]
  • local validation checklist for planning applications [Currently being updated]

Applicants and agents should seek pre-application advice from the Council’s Development Control section.

Comprehensive checklist

This document is a list of items that could be requested by the planning authority and is currently being updated.

Validation checklist for planning applications [Currently being updated]

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