Development & Planning
The local planning authority is North Somerset Council (NSC) with decisions on planning applications made either by a planning officer under delegated powers or by the Planning & Regulatory Committee. Ward (district) councillors can request that the decision on an application is referred to this Committee under certain circumstances.
The Council is a statutory consultee in relation to planning applications; it must be consulted but does not have the power to make decisions on any planning applications. Details of all planning applications in the parish are provided to the Council and are then considered by the Planning Committee, which submits any comments to NSC. The Committee might also consider applications in neighbouring areas which impact on the parish.
All members of the Council are members of the Planning Committee and, as such, comments submitted by the Planning Committee are made on behalf of the Council. It should be noted that while NSC does not have to agree with Council’s recommendations, it must consider the Council’s views, which are quoted in the Officers’ reports.
To assist residents it might be helpful to comment here on what are valid planning considerations. For example, if someone feels that a proposed development would cause the value of their house to fall this would not be a valid planning consideration and could not be discussed by the Planning Committee. Considerations include the following:
- Relevant planning policies, eg. Core Strategy, Green Belt, Conservation Area
- Traffic generation, highway safety and parking
- Overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy (neighbour impacts)
- Noise, disturbance or other loss of amenities
- Impacts on trees and biodiversity
- Design, eg. height/bulk/position of buildings, appearance
- Inadequate landscaping/means of enclosure.
In contrast, the following would not normally be valid considerations:
- Loss of property value
- Issues of market competition
- Loss of a view
- Matters covered by other legislation, including restrictive covenants on land
- The reasons why a developer is making the application or their activities elsewhere
- Issues relating to land ownership/property boundaries, including the need to access land to undertake development.
It is of course possible to make minor alterations or an extension to buildings without the need for planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development’ and the planning authority will be able to provide information on this and other planning issues. Further details are available here.