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Widworthy Parish Council

Planning Matters

Planning affect us all.  Wilmington and Widworthy are in a beautiful part of the country, fully acknowledged by the fact we have two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty surrounding the village. Everyone wants to protect it from uncontrolled development.  But there is a disconnect between the expectations the residents have of the powers and responsibilities of the Parish Council and what those powers and responsibilities actually are.  This is not something that is specific just to this Parish but to Parish Councils all over the United Kingdom.

We hope that the following information will help clarify what the Parish Council can actually comment on and influence and what they cannot be expected to do.

The responsibilities of the Parish Council when considering planning applications :-

The Parish Council is a local consultee NOT the planning decision making body.  The decisions are made by the local planning authority - in our case, East Devon District Council.

The planning authority base their decision on comments from consultees.  A Consultee is expected to respond with their particular knowledge and expertise for instance:-  Highways are consulted about highways and access issues, Environment Agency for flooding type issues etc. 

The Parish Council can give valuable insight into the impact of a development in a local area preferably relating comments to local plan policies and valid planning considerations.

They are not expected to judge any technical issues outside their particular knowledge which are the remit of other experts.  They can only report concerns.

The Parish Council can only come to a conclusion based on the evidence placed before them in the application.  Past history or any possible future actions cannot be considered.

Other legislation covers insurance matters, covenants and getting permission from land owners and so are not the responsibility of either the Parish Council or the Planning Authority.


What are material considerations in planning applications ?

A material consideration is a matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision.

Material considerations can include (but are not limited to):

  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Highway safety
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, appearance and materials
  • Government policy
  • Disabled persons' access
  • Proposals in the Development Plan
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Nature conservation

However, issues such as loss of view, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material considerations.

(planningportal.co.uk/faqs -  as at 3/3/17)