The Law, the Development Plan and your application
Planning applications must be considered against the policies of the long-term plan for the Borough, known as the Local Development Framework (LDF).
Planning law demands that the Council deals with applications on the basis that, provided proposals agree with the LDF they are approved, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. However, there is no exact definition of what is considered "material considerations!" The exact definition has, instead, been left to judges to decide on a case-by-case basis.
The reality is that the list of material ("Planning") considerations has grown and grown over time, but this page should provide some general guidance.
Where public concerns echo relevant planning issues, these are considered. Conversely, if the issues raised are not planning issues, then they cannot be taken into account even if the same issues are put forward by a large number of people.
Supplementary planning guidance or SPG
The Council has a number of policies on issues of particular local concern. These policies do not carry the same weight as the policies in the Local Plan and must not be adhered to slavishly but, nevertheless, they should be applied consistently. Please visit our Supplementary Planning Guidance pages for more information.
The courts can decide specifically what matters can be material considerations and this means the legal position can change overnight. For example, a fear of potential crime being committed near a proposal for a probation hostel was once not considered a material consideration, but courts have now decided that this can be considered, in certain circumstances.
The following can also have an impact on planning decisions:
Moral and social issues
It is not proper, for exmaple, to refuse planning permission for an amusement arcade on the grounds that young people may be encouraged to play truent from school.
Private and legal rights
For example, objections that a development will encroach on someone else's land or breach a stipulation in the deeds of private properties, are not planning matters. A good example in Ilford is the parking of a caravan in the front garden, it is common that this is explicitly forebidden in the covenant of the property.
The fact that an applicant may have started work without waiting for planning permission is not a material consideration. He must neither be "punished" for this action by a refusal, nor must he be granted permission out of sympathy for his otherwise wasted expenditure. However, if a developer does commence work without permission, they run the risk that the application may be refused on legitimate planning grounds and enforcement action taken, if the work is unacceptable.
It is important to understand that although decision makers are legally bound to consider all material considerations, it is their professional judgement that assigns weight to each consideration.
For example, if a proposal for an athletics track meets objections on grounds of loss of amenity, does the facility itself provide amenity too? This proposal may incite strong views from different groups of the population. It is the Planning process that produces and manages difficult decisions such as this.