Draft Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) - 2015

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(2) 4. Development Management

4.1 This section sets out how the Council makes information on planning applications available to the public and how comments on such applications can be made.

4.2 It is noted that reference to 'planning applications' here is taken to include all other associated applications, including those relating to listed buildings, advertisements, preserved trees and some 'prior notification'5

4.3 Consultation, publicity and notification on planning applications is carried out in accordance with the statutory requirements set out in the Town & Country Planning (General Development Procedure) (England) Order 2015.

4.4 General guidance about the procedures for dealing with planning applications is set out in the Council's Planning Handbook. It is available free of charge and can be downloaded from the Council's website at (www.rother.gov.uk/planning). There is also a specific guidance booklet for parish and town councils.

4.5 The Council's current procedures for consultation, publicity and notification are set out in the following sections.

Pre-application stage

(1) 4.6 Potential applicants are encouraged to seek advice from the Council on their proposals prior to formally submitting an application. There is a charge for this service. Full details of this service and the scale of charges can be found on the Council's website at Pre-application advice and fees

(2) 4.7 Seeking pre-application advice helps to identify issues at an early stage with the view that they can be rectified before the application is submitted, thereby speeding up the application process. Advice on more straightforward proposals and householder applications will normally be provided in a letter. The planning officer may judge that more complex proposals would merit discussion at a meeting. Meetings are held wholly at the discretion of the Council. Such discussions may also usefully involve other agencies, such as the highways authority, and other Council officers such as those representing the Housing or Environmental Health.

(3) 4.8 Where a proposal is for a major development6, or where the site is a sensitive one, or where the proposal is likely to cause significant controversy or where it will impact upon a number of people, potential applicants are encouraged to undertake publicity and consultation with the local community prior to the submission of the planning application.

(1) 4.9 This process can serve to inform interested parties about the nature and scale of the proposals and to forewarn the potential applicant of local concerns which may need to be addressed prior to submission. The Council will expect such consultations to be carried out at the applicant's expense and in a fair and inclusive manner for them to add real value to the planning application process.

Availability of planning applications and statutory publicity

(3) 4.10 Details of all planning applications (other than some 'prior notifications' and applications for Certificates of Lawfulness) are posted on the Council's website. The website is updated with any subsequent correspondence from the applicant, from statutory consultees or from other third parties. Applicants and other interested parties are therefore able to track the progress of an application directly via the website. The Council keeps under review opportunities to extend the amount of information held on the website, with the aim of maximising overall levels of accessibility to such information.

(4) 4.11 A Weekly List of all applications is produced. This is available on the website or can be provided direct by email. In addition the 'My Alerts' weekly email service (see paragraph 3.12 above) identifies all planning applications as they are received within 400 metres of the recipient's address.

(8) 4.12 The statutory publicity for planning applications is undertaken by the posting of a pink 'Planning Notice' on or adjoining each application site. The posting of a Notice is intended to advise immediate neighbours and the public generally of current applications. The period of notification is 21 days. The Notice gives the application reference, the description of development and indicates where the application can be inspected. Applications can be inspected at any time on the website, as well as via public access computers during normal office hours at the following premises:

  • Town Hall, Bexhill
  • Battle Library Market Square, Battle
  • Rye Library, High Street, Rye

(1) 4.13 Some types of applications must also be advertised in local newspapers, including all major applications and those affecting listed buildings or conservation areas. Details of applications which must be statutorily advertised in local newspapers appear in the Bexhill, Battle and Rye Observer and the Kent & East Sussex Courier. In addition, there is discretion to use a public notice in a newspaper to publicise an application which may have more widespread interest or implications.

4.14 Any comments on planning applications can be made during the consultation period through the link on the Council's website www.rother.gov.uk/planning or be forwarded in writing to the Service Manager - Strategy & Planning at Rother District Council, Town Hall, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex TN39 3JX. The Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985 provides that letters submitted regarding a planning application cannot be confidential and must be made available for public inspection. All comments received in relation to planning applications are scanned and posted on the website.

4.15 The Local Planning Authority also notifies each Parish or Town Council by email of planning applications or applications for listed building or conservation area consent, advertisement consent and applications for work to protected trees within their boundaries.

4.16 East Sussex County Council is consulted on applications affecting notified sites such as minerals consultation areas and waste consultation areas. Other service providers are also consulted on appropriate applications.

(1) 4.17 When plans are amended during the course of an application or further information is submitted by the applicant the Council will use its discretion in terms of any re-notification necessary. The Council is likely to re-notify where there is an effect on third parties, or where the amendment is significant and beyond the terms of the original application.

(8) Planning Committee

4.18 The Council's Planning Committee, which comprises elected Members of the District Council, is normally held in public every four weeks. The Committee determines those applications not considered under the delegated authority to officers (see Scheme of Delegation below) and will generally consider the more major, complex or controversial planning applications.

4.19 The agenda of the Committee is available on the Council's website at least 5 days before the meeting at Planning Committee. Printed copies of the agenda can be obtained from the Town Hall, Bexhill at a charge, with copies available free of charge for viewing at the Committee meeting. The agenda includes reports on the individual planning applications being considered.

(12) 4.20 All comments received during the course of the application are summarised in the report and more complex correspondence may also be copied in full and appended to the report. Committee Members consider the comments received when making a decision on an individual application and all consultation responses and comments on planning applications can be viewed in full by Members on the Council's website. Any additional comments concerning an application on the agenda must be received by 9am on the day before the meeting if they are to be considered by the Planning Committee.

Scheme of Delegation

(1) 4.21 The majority of applications can be determined by the Service Manager - Strategy and Planning under 'delegated authority'. Such applications are not reported to the Planning Committee.

(1) 4.22 Officers may consider it appropriate for a planning application to be determined by the Planning Committee where the proposal is of a large scale, or is a controversial scheme, or because it raises significant planning policy issues. Members can also request (using a procedure form setting out reasons) that a particular application be reported to Committee.

4.23 All applications relating to land in which the Council has an interest (and including that of serving Councillors and Officers) must be determined by the Planning Committee.

4.24 Apart from identified Planning Committee applications, applications can be considered by officers and determined under the delegated scheme as follows:

  • An application can be granted/approved provided that no objections on material planning grounds have been received.
  • An application can be refused provided no material conflicting views have been received from the parish/town council or formal consultees.

4.25 In Circumstances where the parish or town council's view is contrary to the officers' intended recommendation, or where material planning objections have been raised by third parties, all Councillors are notified of the consultation responses received and of the officers' recommendation via an electronic report (the 'Notified-D' procedure), before any decision is made. In such cases Councillors have 5 days in which to request that the application be referred to the next available Planning Committee using a procedure form setting out reasons. If no such request is made, the application is determined in accordance with the officers' recommendation.

4.26 When a decision is delegated, a report is produced which summarises the consultation responses received, the officers' consideration and the intended decision, along with conditions. This report is retained on the planning application file and is published on the Council's website once the application has been determined.

4.27 As set out above, all comments received on an individual planning application, including those from statutory consultees, are posted on the Council's website as soon as possible after they are received.

(1) Decision Notices

(3) 4.28 Parish and Town Councils are sent by email copies of the decision notices for the applications that fall within their area. All decision notices are posted on the website.

Feedback

4.29 The Council holds a Planning Agents' Forum once a year to update local planning agents on recent or forthcoming changes and also to receive feedback on the operation of the planning service.

4.30 A similar event takes place for parish and town councils to exchange information on general planning matters at the Parish Planning Seminar.

Appeals

4.31 When a planning or other application is refused planning permission or consent, the applicant may choose to appeal against that decision and have the case considered by the Planning Inspectorate.

4.32 For an appeal which is being heard by means of written representations or by means of an informal hearing, the Council will send letters to all those who commented on the original planning application informing them of the appeal and inviting them to make any further submissions they may wish to the Planning Inspectorate.

4.33 For public inquiries, as well as informing any original objectors, an advertisement is also placed in the public notices section of a local newspaper and the applicant is required to place a notice on the appeal site.

(1) 4.34 For an appeal into an enforcement matter, the Council will aim to inform by letter those who may have an interest in the appeal and wish to express their view. This is the case whether the appeal is being heard by written representations, informal hearing or by public inquiry.


5 Prior notification procedures relate to matters where no full planning application is necessary but where an applicant is required to submit information to the Council in advance of the development. 6 Major development is defined as that which relates to 10 or more new dwellings or a site area equal or greater than 0.5ha or other development with gross floorspace equal to or greater than 1,000sqm or site area equal to or greater than 1ha.
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