Lambourn Parish Council is consulted by West Berkshire Council in respect to all planning applications in the parish of Lambourn. The date by which our comments and observations have to be submitted is set by West Berkshire Council and we can only ask for an extension if the due date is before the next Full Council Meeting. The date is generally only extended for up to two days past the next meeting date.

We can only comment on planning applications when we discuss them in properly called council or committee meetings which the public can attend. The comments agreed by us are submitted in writing to West Berkshire Council by our Clerk.

Parish councils are statutory consultees and have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can submit one of three observations:

  • No Objections
  • Support
  • Object

Support and Object must also have reasons given.

Any views expressed by us will be taken into account by West Berkshire Council before a decision is made, providing the points made are relevant to the determination of a planning application. The decision is typically made by a West Berkshire Planning Officer acting under delegated powers of West Berkshire Council. Complex and controversial applications may be decided by Councillors at a council meeting.

The process is exactly the same as that of an individual wishing to comment on a planning application.

Valid reasons for comment on a Planning Application

When planning applications are considered, the following matters can all be relevant. These are sometimes referred to as ‘material planning considerations’:

  • Central government policy and guidance – Acts, Circulars, Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) etc.
  • The Development Plan – and any review of the Development Plan which is underway.
  • Adopted supplementary guidance – for example, village design statements, conservation area appraisals, car parking standards.
  • Replies from statutory and non-statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Highways Authority).
  • Representations from others – neighbours, amenity groups and other interested parties so long as they relate to land use matters.
  • Effects on an area – this includes the character of an area, availability of infrastructure, density, over-development, layout, position, design and external appearance of buildings and landscaping
  • The need to safeguard valuable resources such as good farmland or mineral reserves.
  • Highway safety issues – such as traffic generation, road capacity, means of access, visibility, car parking and effects on pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Public services – such as drainage and water supply
  • Public proposals for using the same land
  • Effects on individual buildings – such as overlooking, loss of light, overshadowing, visual intrusion, noise, disturbance and smell.
  • Effects on a specially designated area or building – such as green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas of special scientific interest.
  • Effects on existing tree cover and hedgerows.
  • Nature conservation interests – such as protection of badgers, great crested newts etc.
  • Public rights of way
  • Flooding or pollution.
  • Planning history of the site – including existing permissions and appeal decisions.
  • A desire to retain or promote certain uses – such as playing fields, village shops and pubs.
  • Need for the development – such as a petrol station
  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Presence of a hazardous substance directly associated with a development
  • Human Rights Act
  • Precedent – but only where it can be shown there would be a real danger that a proposal would inevitably lead to other inappropriate development (for example, isolated housing in the countryside) 

Invalid reasons for objection

There are certain matters which do not amount to ‘material planning considerations’ under current legislation and guidance. These matters cannot be taken into account in considering a planning application and should not be included in objections:

  • Speculation over future use of the building or site
  • The identity of the applicant or occupant
  • Unfair competition generated by the development or the construction
  • Boundary disputes which may be ongoing
  • Breach of covenants and personal property rights, including personal (not Public) rights of way
  • Loss of a private view
  • Devaluation of property nearby
  • Other financial matters
  • Matters controlled by other legislation – such as internal space standards for dwellings or fire prevention
  • Religious or moral issues – such as betting shops and amusement arcades
  • The fact that the applicant does not own the land to which the application relates
  • The fact that an objector is a tenant of land where the development is proposed
  • The fact that the development has already been carried out and the applicant is seeking to regularise the situation.  People can carry out development at their own risk before getting planning permission)
  • The developer’s motives, record or reputation
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