What is taken into account when considering planning applications?

In considering planning applications, the Council first looks at the agreed Development Plan and then any other "material planning considerations".

Development Plan

The Development Plan sets out the Council's policies and proposals for the development and use of land. This includes the improvement of the physical environment for the next 10 years or so. If the application is in accordance with the Plan, then permission should be granted, unless material planning considerations dictate differently.

The Development Plan is updated periodically. Planning Services can give up-to-date advice and the Development Plan can be viewed online.

Who deals with comments on Planning Applications?

All comments for or against applications are dealt with by the planning case officer for that particular application. In the majority of cases, where applications are dealt with by the Planning & Environmental Protection Committee, the case officer will summarise your comments to the elected Councillors in their officer report.

You may give Committee Members copies of your views, but the Councillors must not comment on them, or enter into correspondence about them, before taking a decision. They must be completely impartial until the Committee debates the full details of the application.

What are "Material Planning Considerations"?

These vary from application to application, but generally include:
  • The adopted policies of the Development Plan (The Development Plan is made up of several different documents).
  • Relevant planning legislation, Circulars and other Central Government Guidance on planning issues.
  • Relevant Planning Appeal decisions
  • Advice from specialists and bodies consulted on applications, such as highway and drainage engineers and the Environment Agency.
  • Supplementary Planning Guidance, such as Village Design Statements.
  • Other agreed Council strategies, policies and plans.
  • The number, size, layout, siting, design and external appearance of buildings.
  • Impact on the neighbourhood of an area. Would the proposal harm the character or amenity of the area?
  • Impact on the amenities of adjoining properties in terms of privacy, and daylight, e.g. overshadowing or overlooking. If you feel you have a 'right to light', you may wish to take private legal advice, but this is not a matter that the Local Planning Authority can take into account.
  • The effect on traffic, road access and visibility, parking and highway safety.
  • The loss of public view.
  • The appropriateness of the proposed land use, e.g. the conversion of a house in a quiet residential street to a shop or restaurant.

Comments on other types of application

  • Comments on matters such as Listed Building Consent must relate to the character of the building and effect of the work to be undertaken.
  • Comments on Certificates of Lawful Use and Development (Existing and Proposed) can only be made on the facts (evidence) of the case, not on its planning merits.


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