The Role of the Parish Council in Planning Application Consultations

The Parish Council has no executive powers related to planning and is a “statutory consultee” only – which means we have to be asked.  The Parish Councils views on a planning application bear the same weight as those from a member of the public, our opinion is one of many and may be over-ridden
The Parish Council is consulted on:-

  • All Planning applications within the Parish Boundary
  • Significant or unusual applications in adjacent parishes
  • Significant planning related matters put out to consultation by Hertfordshire County Council and North Hertfordshire District Council.
  • Applications are taken to appeal by the applicants- the Parish Council may make additional submissions to the Planning Inspector.

Parish Councillors are not experts on planning policy or law and will generally refer enquiries to NHDC Planning Department.

The Parish Council is not an “enforcement” authority or a decision maker in the Planning Process. It will only make minor local investigations prior to referring enforcement matters to NHDC.

Commenting on a Planning Application

If there’s a planning application that affects you or you wish to express your views to the Parish Council it’s important to do this early, as the NHDC planning cycle is quite short and we need to respond quickly to meet that timetable. Parishioners can send letters or e-mail to the Clerk, or at a meeting speak under “Public Participation”.  There is only limited time under this item so if there is more than one person on the same subject not everyone will be able to speak. More details on this process are available under our Standing Orders.

Please note that we may acknowledge and consider your views as part of our decision process, we are not required to pass your specific comments onto NHDC. We recommend that you submit your comments via their planning portal.
Please click here to see NHDCs planning page

Generally greater weight is attached to issues raised which are supported by evidence rather than solely by assertion. If an identified problem can be dealt with by means of a suitable condition imposed as part of the decision, then NHDC is required to consider this, rather than issuing a refusal.

When commenting on a planning application, the public and the Parish Council must keep to “Material Planning Considerations;  these are issues that may be relevant to the decision. Please click hereto see Planning Aid England’s page on material planning considerations with a contact number and email if you wish to get advice.

Material Planning Considerations  (the list is not exhaustive)

  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
  • Adequacy of parking/loading/turning
  • Highway safety
  • Traffic generation
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use>
  • Hazardous materials
  • Smells
  • Loss of trees
  • Effect on conservation areas
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Landscaping
  • Road access
  • Local, strategic, regional and national planning policies
  • Disabled persons’ access
  • Compensation and awards of costs against the Council at public enquiries
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Archaeology
  • Adverse impact on nature conservation interests & biodiversity opportunities

Planning considerations which are NOT taken into account by planning officers include:

  • Ownerships disputes over rights of way
  • The perceived loss of property value
  • Private disputes between neighbours e.g. land/boundary disputes, damage to property,
  • The loss of a view
  • The impact of construction work or competition between firms
  • Restrictive covenants
  • Fence lines etc.
  • Matters controlled under building regulations or other non-planning legislation e.g. structural stability, drainage details, fire precautions, matters covered by licences etc.
  • Problems arising from the construction period of any works, e.g. noise, dust, construction vehicles, hours of working (covered by Control of Pollution Acts).
  • Opposition to the principle of development when this has been settled by an outline planning permission or appeal
  • Applicant’s personal circumstances
  • Previously made objections/representations regarding another site or application
  • Factual misrepresentation of the proposal
  • Opposition to business competition