deuce22

Planning policy

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Hi.

 

I am still having issues with my application and would like some advice from some of the experienced members.

 

After almost 4 months from first applying, I was asked by the planning officer for a side cross section showing the elevation of my proposed build in comparison with the houses in front. I questioned why she was asking this after so many months and she said it was due to the one neighbour having privacy concerns. She then asked me to amend the plans, but said it was due to what she and her team thought and had nothing to do with the neighbours.

She wants me to drop the total height of the house by 1m, remove the balcony from the front elevation and remove a window on the second floor. Even though I didn't want to do these things, I have accepted. She has now emailed asking for a further 3 weeks as she will need to consult the neighbours. This has now confused me and it's getting frustrating. It feels like she has to get permission from the neighbours to do her job. If this is correct then I am fine with it, but everybody I speak with tell me, that if I'm within planning policy then it shouldn't be an issue.

Can somebody please give me some advice on how planning actually works. Some people tell me not to bow down to them for everything the ask for, as they will take advantage, whilst others speak about them as if they were gods and do everything they say.

Thanks.

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put your planning application number up, and what council it is, and i will happily take a look for you.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, deuce22 said:

Can somebody please give me some advice on how planning actually works.

 

Planning works differently in every place, and on every different day in the same place 😎.

 

The name of the game is a design which is "acceptable in planning terms"; finding that balance is a dance you are dancing, and a game of poker you are playing.

 

Here, I think you are being strung along in one or two aspects, and may have given more away than you needed in one or two (depending if the stuff was in anyway in order to give things away you don't need). But that depends on the case - such as whether she is recommending to the committee, or making her own decision.

 

Enough waffle. Specifics. IMO it is time to call a halt.

 

1 - If the queries relate solely to her and her team, patently she does not need to consult with neighbours. That is probably a search for reassurance or wanting some cover. I would say no on that basis; she already knows what the neighbours think due to the opportunity to object.

 

2 - I think you could reasonably have expected her to know her own mind, so another cycle of reactions should not be necessary. If you have given them everything they wanted then you should have a reasonable expectation of immediate approval.

 

3 - I would also point out that they are required to make a decision within 8 weeks, and are now significantly over that deadline, or you can Appeal for non-determination (The exception is if you agreed to extra time), and would therefore like a decision now (bur a statement that strong is a judgement call in the context). Another 3 weeks is taking the P. And they will want a further 2 weeks to think about the answers.

https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200126/applications/58/the_decision-making_process/8

 

4 - I would probably have offered half the height reduction requested, obscure glazing in the 2nd Flr window (which is as good as removal in planning terms and gives you light), and have kept the front balcony, or offered a Juliet (surveillance + more active street scene). I would have obscured the window with a stick-on film, which I might have been caught out on. But those are all contextual and there could be good reasons to be different.

 

At this point, if you have offered everything they want, then I would expect an instant approval.

Or I would perhaps be a little less generous on the concessions, and still request a decision.

 

I would defenestrate the neighbour consultation request with prejudice.

 

BUT ... I would always try and explore it all in a phone conversation first with the PO. eg "Why do you think you need to go back to neighbours, when you have already said the query came from within your team?". Resolution with a smile.

 

But that is me shooting in the dark on a forum with an opinion, whilst this is your new house.

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand
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38 minutes ago, deuce22 said:

[...]

This has now confused me and it's getting frustrating. It feels like  [... insert random emotion here - all values valid ...]

[...]

 

You are right. It feels dreadful: we've all been through it - some more than once, and a good few through Appeal. Its a horrible process, but its the only one we have.

 

I mean this in the kindest possible way. Grow a thicker skin.

There are people with whom I am in regular contact who, when we applied for PP, were just about as rude as you could get in public - and now smile, wave and pass the time of day. There's something about the application process which brings out the very worst in people. 

Your post reads to me to be very close to the average kind of feedback that we've all had. And we, all of us, looked for the very worst interpretation of all the feedback we got. We are just like you.  Welcome Deuce to the club.  One of us.

 

What can you do about it?

Read widely. Read every decision made by your planner. Attend Committee meetings. Listen to County Councillors. Talk to your neighbours (if you can). Talk to the local Councillors. Accept some level of compromise.

 

Be patient. 

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We had to apply for planning four times because of restrictions “the planner” wanted. We even called it into committee (decision made by the team not just one planner) but this went south because they “were told” which way to vote (ask me how I know!). Neighbours are allowed to object but that does not mean they will get their way. I eventually went to appeal and did it myself and we won hands down. A neighbour objected to our drive and said “our headlights would shine in their windows “ the appeal officer pointed out they are over 1000m away so objection not valid. The final paragraph from the appeal officer stated the local planners were not abiding by their own policies. As said above, grow a thicker skin, it’s not personal, it’s business, frankly if neighbours fall out with you over these small things they are not reasonable people anyway. I think planners are control freaks and ours was a bully (but we won 👍).

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1 hour ago, Ferdinand said:

 

Planning works differently in every place, and on every different day in the same place 😎.

 

The name of the game is a design which is "acceptable in planning terms"; finding that balance is a dance you are dancing, and a game of poker you are playing.

 

Here, I think you are being strung along in one or two aspects, and may have given more away than you needed in one or two (depending if the stuff was in anyway in order to give things away you don't need). But that depends on the case - such as whether she is recommending to the committee, or making her own decision.

 

Enough waffle. Specifics. IMO it is time to call a halt.

 

1 - If the queries relate solely to her and her team, patently she does not need to consult with neighbours. That is probably a search for reassurance or wanting some cover. I would say no on that basis; she already knows what the neighbours think due to the opportunity to object.

 

2 - I think you could reasonably have expected her to know her own mind, so another cycle of reactions should not be necessary. If you have given them everything they wanted then you should have a reasonable expectation of immediate approval.

 

3 - I would also point out that they are required to make a decision within 8 weeks, and are now significantly over that deadline, or you can Appeal for non-determination (The exception is if you agreed to extra time), and would therefore like a decision now (bur a statement that strong is a judgement call in the context). Another 3 weeks is taking the P. And they will want a further 2 weeks to think about the answers.

https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200126/applications/58/the_decision-making_process/8

 

4 - I would probably have offered half the height reduction requested, obscure glazing in the 2nd Flr window (which is as good as removal in planning terms and gives you light), and have kept the front balcony, or offered a Juliet (surveillance + more active street scene). I would have obscured the window with a stick-on film, which I might have been caught out on. But those are all contextual and there could be good reasons to be different.

 

At this point, if you have offered everything they want, then I would expect an instant approval.

Or I would perhaps be a little less generous on the concessions, and still request a decision.

 

I would defenestrate the neighbour consultation request with prejudice.

 

BUT ... I would always try and explore it all in a phone conversation first with the PO. eg "Why do you think you need to go back to neighbours, when you have already said the query came from within your team?". Resolution with a smile.

 

But that is me shooting in the dark on a forum with an opinion, whilst this is your new house.

 

Ferdinand

 

 

The conclusion we have come to is that I will drop the whole house by 1m into the ground, so I can still have the rooms in the loft space (she originally wanted me to reduce it to 8.5m instead of 10m, it will now be 9m).

As they are bifold doors to the front elevation she has agreed on Juliet balconies.

I have to raise the window on the second floor, so you cannot see out of it and also obscure it.

 

This was my email to her this morning and her reply.

 

Hi Hayley.
 
The last time we spoke, you said the decisions for the amendments were from yourself and your team and not no 13/14. Your recent email states, that you will need to re-consult no 13’14. This is getting both very confusing and frustrating. I was under the impression that this had nothing to do with the neighbours and contacting them would just be a formality to let them know what is happening. Your wording suggests otherwise, you state, you will have to consult them.
 
I am happy to wait until the 1st, but I am now wondering whether you are having to discuss this with the neighbours and I could be delayed further.
 
Can you confirm that what I have proposed is within planning policy and you are informing the neighbours of these amended plans, out of courtesy and not for their permission?
 
Thankyou.
 

Thank you for your email.

 

With regard to the re-consultation with the neighbours, the amended plans are obviously changing the proposed scheme and therefore they need to be consulted on the proposed changes only. They have both raised objections and the changes you are proposing are seeking to overcome those objections so I am duty bound to consult them which may result in their concerns being overcome and their objections withdrawn.

 

In view of this, please can you submit the amended plans asap and confirm your agreement to the extension of time. As soon as the amended plans are received, I can then start the re-consultation process with a view to determining the application hopefully before the 1st May 2019.

 

I trust this information is of assistance and I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Kind Regards,

Hayley

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AnonymousBosch

 

I will do just that. I had to go into the council to read the objections as they are not made public on the portal. The one neighbour obviously does not want anything going there, from what she had said. The bad thing about it was that she bought the house off the person that I'm buying the land from. She was offered the plot, but declined and then said she had no problem with anything being built.

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Typical 😏 just keep yer nerve, do as asked, and keep busy with other stuff.

Distract yourself. 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, deuce22 said:

the amended plans are obviously changing the proposed scheme and therefore they need to be consulted on the proposed changes only. They have both raised objections and the changes you are proposing are seeking to overcome those objections so I am duty bound to consult them which may result in their concerns being overcome and their objections withdrawn.

 

Not convinced of this. The situation in England is that the Council have the option depending on the significance of the changes. This is Bridgend, and I do not know how to trace down this aspect of Welsh Planning Guidance - though tbh it is the kind of thing a devolved Government would change to convince themselves they are superior with clearer rules.

 

I am not at all sure that such a duty exists in law, or that "objections need to be withdrawn" is a thing, or even that such a comment period would need to be 3 weeks. If it just 3 neughbours you could try and make her email them with 5 says to respond.

 

1 hour ago, deuce22 said:

I have to raise the window on the second floor, so you cannot see out of it and also obscure it.

 

Not convinced that that is necessary in Planning Terms, either. Obscure should be enough. You could ask her about how a window raised to a point where you cannot see out will permit fire escape? Suspect the answer would be "Abracadabra, sprinklers are compulsory!".

 

I am surprised about the comments. Not publishing them online seems antediluvian. If you need them put in an FOI and they should come back on a PDF attached to an email, which has usually happened in a day or two for me.

 

But I am at the end of my knowledge of Welsh Planning procedure.

 

I would be getting grumpy.

 

[Update: wrt my previous comment, I am not sure what the time limit is for PP determination in Wales before you can Appeal]

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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