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VAlid Grounds for Comment

Search The Council's Planning Register (e.g. by street) to find the planning application you wish to comment on.

Open the COMMENT tab if you want to voice support, an objection or merely an observation, straight away. However, best first to read:-

  • the documents submitted with the application
  • The Council's list of categories which are considered as valid areas of comment (see the foot of this article)

Planning applications often contain numerous documents.

My advice would be to start with the one labelled Application Form since  the standard format compels the applicant to give a precise specification of the amount of development proposed as well as the materials (probably the best indicator of what it will look like!). Important considerations such as access and availability of on-site parking, also need to be specified on the form.

Design and Access Statements are worth a look since they are often written to be readable. However, expect them to paint a rosy picture of proposed schemes. Case Officers are likely to pay more serious attention to Drawings & Plans, which are meant to contain accurate measurements rather than rough sketches. These can take time to understand, though they are the best indicators of exactly what is being proposed.

Parts of the application, which applicants sometimes would prefer not to get too much scrutiny, may be contained in documents with vague labels such as "Technical Report". Do not be deterred from opening these since they may be a study of the pressure that X number of extra homes will put on limited parking space within 200M of the application site.

Other labels documents which may contain info confirming your concerns may be identified by descriptors such as Biodiversity, Sustainability, Aboricultural, Viability. It takes time to get used to the planning department's navigation system.

The Council can only take certain matters into account when considering your comments (objections / support / observations) on a planning application.

Issues that can be taken into account:

[A] The proposal complies with the Council’s planning policies
[B] A proposed use is suitable for the area
[C] The appearance and size of a new building is appropriate
[D] External alterations to an existing building are in character
[E] Adjoining residents will suffer overshadowing, overlooking or loss of privacy
[F] There will be any increase in noise and disturbance, e.g. from the
comings and goings of extra traffic
[G] New buildings have satisfactory access for disabled people
[H] New roadways and accesses will be safe for pedestrians and other
road users
[I] A proposed sign is too large or unsightly
[J] The works are in keeping with a listed building

Issues that cannot be taken into account include:
• Loss of view
• Boundary and other disputes between neighbours
• Loss of trade from competing businesses
• Loss of property value
• Private legal covenants

Note that it is valid to comment on the loss of a public view (i.e. a view of the Downs which you get when looking between the end-of-terraces from a public street or anywhere open to the public. Views into and out of conservation areas from public vantage places provide the basis for valid comment, especially when the features under threat contribute to the character and appearance of a neighbourhood.

If you are interested in protecting heritage features or open spaces (e.g. green vistas even on private land), one route is to get public views you wish to protect mentioned specifically in the Character Statement for your conservation area. Brighton and Hove has circa 34 conservation areas and each one has its own character statement. Round Hill's character statement was last revised in 2005, so those reading it today may be led to believe that The Round Hill Tavern and The Old Vic are current amenities.

 

This page was last updated by Ted on 13-Oct-2017
(registered users can amend this page)