Guidance for Residents Commenting on Planning Applications

This page is supposed to be an aide for residents who want to submit a planning comment on any planning application. When residents wish to make a comment they need to make clear and relevant comments. Please note that Rother District Council reserves the right to reject any comments which in its opinion contains comments that are deemed to be potentially libellous, defamatory, threatening, abusive or contravenes the provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

Relevant Comments for Planning Applications

Comments that are clear, concise and accurate stand more chance of being accepted than those that are not. When planning applications are considered, the following matters can all be relevant. These are sometimes referred to as ‘material planning considerations’. Below is a list of some examples hat could be used. This list will be updated and where possible the relevant policies added next to each comment:

  • Referral to relevant policies including (please click onto each heading to view the document:
  • Replies from statutory and non-statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Highways Authority).
  • Effects on an area – this includes the character of an area, availability of infrastructure, density, over-development, layout, position, design and external appearance of buildings and landscaping
  • The effect on the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) especially how it impacts on the views and maintaining the landscape character (DaSA Policy DEN1 and DEN2)
  • Effects on a specially designated area or building – such as green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas of special scientific interest.
  • The need to safeguard valuable resources such as good farmland.
  • Highway safety issues – such as traffic generation, road capacity, means of access, visibility, car parking and effects on pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Effects on individual buildings – such as overlooking, loss of light, overshadowing, visual intrusion, noise, disturbance and smell.
  • Effects on existing tree cover and hedgerows.
  • Nature conservation interests – such as protection of badgers, great crested newts etc. and the assurance of the full surveys that have been carried out.
  • Public rights of way.
  • Flooding or pollution.
  • Planning history of the site – including existing permissions and appeal decisions.
  • A desire to retain or promote certain uses – such as playing fields, village shops and pubs.
  • Presence of a hazardous substance directly associated with a development
  • Human Rights Act
  • Precedent – but only where it can be shown there would be a real danger that a proposal would inevitably lead to other inappropriate development (for example, isolated housing in the countryside)

Please click on one of the below links for further support.

Deadlines – Advice taken from Rother Planning Pages

There may be several different dates provided in different documents and online for the last date by which comments must be submitted. This is because the documents may be produced or publicised on different days. In most cases the period for publicity is 21 days for comments to be submitted, and normally 14 days for amendments from the latest date shown in the publicity. The earlier you can submit comments the better as it gives Rother D/C more time to take them into account when dealing with the application. If an application is a matter being reported to the Planning Committee, the Council’s procedures currently allow individual representations to be accepted up until 9am on the Monday before the meeting, at the latest.

When Applications go to Planning Committee

If their is a planning application which is of concern to Parish Councillors or members of the community it can be called into the Planning Committee rather than have an application determined by delegated authority. Applications can only be called in by District Councillors within 28 days of the planning application being validated regardless of how long it takes for a planning decision. The Parish Clerk and Parish Councillors cannot call in applications. Applications cannot be provisionally called in and required written planning reasons for calling an application in.

When a planning application is called in what this mean in practise is instead of the application being determined by a Rother Planning Officer it goes to the Planning Committee which is made up of Elected Members who then determine the application in a public meeting which is usually recorded. The Elected Members will receive a report from the Rother Officer with a recommendation to approve or refuse the application. Elected Members will then debate an application and will also need to give clear planning reasons to either support or refuse an application.

At these meetings people are also able to attend and those who request to speak (please see below). Each speaker will be allowed to address the Planning Committee for no more than 5 minutes and below is a list of people (which reflect national application thresholds) who will be able to speak:

  • Application for one householder 1 speaker each for and against
  • Application for Minor/Other 2 speakers each for and against
  • Application for Major 3 speakers each for and against

If you wish to speak at a Planning Committee meeting, you must have previously made a written representation on the application. You can then register with Democratic Services by telephone on 01424 787811 or email: Democratic Services. It is recommended you make your request by email so you have a written confirmation of the request. Registration will start at 2pm on the date that the agenda is published (Wednesday) and close at 4pm on Monday of Committee week (space subject to availability).