Fighting Planning

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Friday 8 October 2010 11.31am
Hi All,

Does anyone know the exact grounds that you can fight a planning application inside the conservation area? What do Southwark Planning actually list as viable reasons?

Cheers
Friday 8 October 2010 2.09pm
You need to argue that there would be harm to the character of the Conservation Area.

The character will be 'defined' or described in the Council's "Conservation Area Appraisals" at

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/downloads/download/385/conservation_area_appraisals

Harm could be in relation to views of buildings, streets, structures, rooflines - inappropriate scale, materials, access arrangements, noise...

You could also look at the planning policies, in the Southwark Local Plan 2007, and see if the application is not in conformity with any. Traffic impacts or biodiversity might be ones to look at in particular. Ask the case officer which policies he/she considers are relevant to the application.

http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/856/local_development_framework/1241/the_southwark_plan

hope that helps
Friday 8 October 2010 2.56pm
You can go to the Southwark Planning officer and ask to speak to the duty planner. They are normally very helpful and will outline the process for objecting and what special grounds exist in conservation areas. If you let me know which planning application you refer to, or within which conservation area, I may be able to provide more information.
Monday 11 October 2010 1.57pm
A word of advice though: Do not get your hopes up.

Typically, residents, objections get summarized in one sentence in the planning application report. There is usually more room devoted as to whether a planning application meets the Council's human rights of diversity & inclusiveness objectives than as to what the actual residents think.

Then there is the planning meeting itself, when you have a grand total 3 minutes to mount your defence. Your ward's Councillor may or may not mount a spirited defence but ultimately this will not matter because the decision will be taken by another bunch of Councillors from another ward you've probably never seen or heard of or had the opportunity to vote for.

The Labour and Libdem Councillors might have a heated exchange but it strikes me as having more to do with national politics than actually what is good or not for the Borough. As for the Tory Councillor… well it's Southwark, mate… there is no Tory!

A decision will nonetheless be taken and in all likelihood it will be the one recommended by the case officers from the Council, who have based their decision on… only the Almighty knows, as apparently the reasons behind the rejection of one application do not apply to exactly the same application 500m down the road.

I personally guess this has more to do with whether the Council needs the money or not and given the state of public finances, this will likely be yes. Of course, this will not be stated in such a blunt matter but rather framed under the caption “it's good for the regeneration of the area”.

Now, rest assured that everyone will be extremely polite and helpful to you during the whole process. You will be polled, carefully listened to but ultimately ignored because the decision will not be taken by you or by someone who is even remotely accountable to you.

On this topic, you will be pleased to know that the Council is setting up a taskforce to look at ways to reinforce democracy in the Borough… for all the good it will do to us. I can't wait to be polled on that one!

So to summarize, unless you are willing to go to court and possibly challenge the Council's decision, you should rather stay home and have a nice cup of tea. That will be a more productive use of your evening.

In any case, I wish you best of luck and please keep us posted. I sincerely hope you prove me wrong.
Monday 11 October 2010 4.07pm
Tabularasa wrote:
you should rather stay home and have a nice cup of tea. That will be a more productive use of your evening.

Although the planning process is far from perfect I think this suggestion is unduly pessimistic.

If you want to comment on a planning application you should do so-previous posts in this thread give helpful advice about sources of information. Better still get neighbours, local groups, councillors to support you. It can make a difference.
I don't want to sound all 'Big Society' on this but I do think it is important that people aren't put off from doing things like commenting on planning applications by negative comments.

No connection with Southwark Council,planners or developers!
TAK
Monday 11 October 2010 5.08pm
annabel wrote:
Tabularasa wrote:
you should rather stay home and have a nice cup of tea. That will be a more productive use of your evening.

Although the planning process is far from perfect I think this suggestion is unduly pessimistic.

If you want to comment on a planning application you should do so-previous posts in this thread give helpful advice about sources of information. Better still get neighbours, local groups, councillors to support you. It can make a difference.
I don't want to sound all 'Big Society' on this but I do think it is important that people aren't put off from doing things like commenting on planning applications by negative comments.

No connection with Southwark Council,planners or developers!



I fully agree.

If everyone thinks my opinion won't make a difference and stays quiet nothing will ever happen.

I've been objecting to a number of things in the past (planning and licensing), and in connection with neighbours who also objected and the help of local councillors supporting us some of the comments have been taken on board I like to think.
Of course, I can't prove it was because of our objections that some of the things were not granted or had conditions attached, but I'm sure it will have at least made a difference and given local councillors room to take our side also objecting to a proposal on our behalf.

I usually write a full letter of commenting rather than using this online comment box and always copy my local councillor in.
Tuesday 12 October 2010 9.55am
The system was borne in the late 40's when we had massive social upheavals following the war, and buildings were usually made of bricks. Little has changed, the system is adversarial, and everyone has an interest. Start with your local cllrs, they will be able to help.
Tuesday 12 October 2010 1.11pm
The key to being listened to is to present reasonable grounds that the officers and councillors can use.

Concerns such as "it will look awful from my bedroom window" or "my property won't rise in value as much as I thought it would" are impermissible in the UK planning system.

Decisions are taken based on the Development Plan (the Local Plan + the Mayor of London's plan) so providing you construct a case that references these policies or other material considerations (e.g. provisions of other laws, human rights etc).

Even if the report does not attribute your entire response, if you chime in with Conservation Area concerns, chances are it will make it into the report somewhere, and/or reinforce the officer's own thinking.

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