Why planning?

Development is driven globally by population growth and the demand for better lifestyle and amenities.  Since 1960 the UK population has increased by around 14 million, fuelling the need for more homes.  Our Government controls development through the planning system.

There is just one planning system in England, but it operates on a number of levels

While your interest in, for example, a field may seem a very local concern, what will happen to that field depends on several levels of planning policy.  Local development is influenced by what happens locally and nationally.

For example, whether a patch of land is filled with houses depends on which sites of land were allocated for housing in the development plan.  This in turn depends on what national policy says about which land should be prioritised for housing development.

The structure of influence is laid out below, starting with

  • National planning legislation
  • Primary acts of Parliament
  • Secondary (regulations)
  • National planning guidance (contained in the National Planning Policy Framework)
  • National policy on planning for minerals and waste, contained in Planning Policy Statements and Guidance notes
  • National Policy Statements. These outline Government policy on major infrastructure.

The National Planning Policy Framework has replaced most of the Planning Policy Statements and Guidance notes that used to make up the Government’s national planning guidance.  Some Planning Policy Statements and Guidance notes that deal with minerals and waste planning still exist.

These in turn influence

  • Local Transport Plans
  • Local Plans.  The current style of Local Plan, known from 2004 – 2012 as a Local Development Framework (in Herefordshire known as the “Core Strategy), was introduced by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.  They are made up of statutory Development Plan Documents, and non-statutory Supplementary Planning Documents.

These in turn influence

  • Neighbourhood Development Plans and Neighbourhood Development Orders.  Both of these tools were introduced by the Localism Act 2011.   For the first time they allow communities to write a document that will form part of the statutory Development Plan.

Planning decisions also have to take into account other ‘material considerations’ (relevant issues). These can include any Government policy and evidence of need.

Individuals have the opportunity to comment on any development, but it is important to understand which comments will hold any influence on planning decisions.

Comments that are material/relevant to the process:

  • overshadowing
  • overlooking or loss of privacy
  • adequate parking and servicing
  • overbearing nature of proposal
  • loss of trees
  • loss of ecological habitats
  • design and appearance
  • layout and density of buildings
  • effect on listed building(s) and Conservation Areas
  • access or highways safety
  • traffic generation
  • noise and disturbance from the scheme
  • disturbance from smells
  • public visual amenity, but not loss of private individual’s view
  • flood risk

Comments that are not material/relevant to the process:

  • loss of value to individual property
  • loss of view
  • boundary disputes including encroachment of foundations, gutters
  • private covenants or agreements
  • the applicant’s personal conduct or history
  • the applicant’s motives
  • potential profit for the applicant or from the application
  • private rights to light
  • private rights of way
  • damage to property
  • disruption during any construction phase
  • loss of trade or competitors
  • age, health, status, background, work patterns of the objector
  • time taken to do the work
  • building or structural techniques
  • alcohol or gaming licences