How to Comment on Camden Planning Applications

Local authorities grant or refuse planning permission primarily on the basis of planning law and their own development plans. Camden also has to take account of The Mayor’s ‘London Plan’, and in West Hampstead, the Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The Government’s Guidance on making planning decisions says that:

‘…the decision must be made in accordance with the development plan unless there are material considerations that indicate otherwise’ (taken from Section 38(6) of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004).

Material considerations

Exactly what issues can be included as ‘material considerations’ are not codified in law, but examples that could be used to object effectively to an application are:

  • Overshadowing
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Layout and density of building
  • Overbearing nature of the proposal and height
  • Design and appearance of materials
  • Adequacy of infrastructure and / or social facilities
  • Effect on surrounding area (including conservation areas)

(Whilst many of these appear generally in Camden’s own policies, it would still be relevant to comment on exactly how each relate to a particular development.)

The authority also has to take account of other planning considerations, such as:

  • Draft proposals in the local development plan which have not yet been ratified.
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeals), for the sake of consistency

The ‘Planning Balance’

The process of weighing up all the competing factors is often called the ‘planning balance’. In making a decision, the planning authority must examine their development plans and take all the material considerations into account, according to their relative importance. This judgement is not the final responsibility of the courts. However, if the all various factors are not properly considered, the final decision may be unlawful.

References:

Royal Town Planning Institute: ‘Material Planning Considerations” http://www.rtpi.org.uk/media/686895/Material-Planning-Considerations.pdf

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