As the days passed by without any news from the planners our daily visits to the planning portal became more frequent. As we entered the final week of the usual decision period our architect contacted the planning department for news. The response was very encouraging and seemed to point to imminent granting of approval. Our spirits were certainly lifted by this news, but until it was approved we didn't want to get too excited. Sadly, our caution was appropriate as the issue of phosphate mitigation and SEPA approval of the application were raised.
Our initial reaction was surprise that SEPA had not been included on the consultees during the formal consultation period. Regardless, a consultation was now issued to SEPA with a positive response required before any approval could be considered.
This was not the news we wanted.
Our planning officer offered to "stop the clock" on our application to provide additionaal time. We gave this some consideration but our feeling was that we would rather keep the application live in order to keep things moving. We weren't sure that an application that was "stopped" would ever feature on the top of a todo list and given the volume of applications being considered...
Our next step was to try and find out what information was needed. This proved to be difficult until we found someone at SEPA who was able to explain what was needed.