How can we op­pose plans to build coun­cil houses in our vil­lage?

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Jonathon Wing­field

Q. We live in what was once a lovely vil­lage but over the last 25 years it has ef­fec­tively merged with the nearby town due to the amount of new de­vel­op­ment. We have now dis­cov­ered that some coun­cil houses are go­ing to be built on pub­lic open space op­po­site our house.

We, to­gether with all our neigh­bours ob­ject to hav­ing so many coun­cil houses built close by and are con­cerned by who will move in and the fact that our houses will be de­val­ued.

As the Lo­cal Au­thor­ity is pro­mot­ing the scheme there is clearly noth­ing we can do, as plan­ning per­mis­sion will no doubt be granted au­to­mat­i­cally.

We would like to ob­ject but are un­sure how to go about this. Should we do it our­selves as lo­cal res­i­dents or em­ploy a pro­fes­sional. Can you please ad­vise?

AThere are two fun­da­men­tal ar­eas that are con­sid­ered on any plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion. The first is based on com­mon sense and can be ar­gued by any­one. For ex­am­ple, will the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment gen­er­ate noise or pol­lu­tion in what is a quiet res­i­den­tial area? The sec­ond con­cerns plan­ning law and de­vel­op­ment poli­cies. Th­ese can vary de­pend­ing on au­thor­ity and area but typ­i­cally in­clude the des­ig­na­tion of land for spe­cific uses, scale of new build­ings and lev­els of af­ford­able hous­ing that are re­quired based on lo­cal de­mand, etc. In ad­di­tion, to the lo­cal poli­cies it is im­por­tant to have a good un­der­stand­ing of gov­ern­ment Plan­ning Pol­icy Guid­ance notes as well as the plan­ning act it­self.

For a non-spe­cial­ist this can be daunt­ing there­fore you may want to con­sider em­ploy­ing a plan­ning con­sul­tant.

Plan­ning con­sul­tants are ba­si­cally a “hired gun” and most should give an ini­tial con­sul­ta­tion free of charge. This will es­tab­lish whether there are strong plan­ning-based ar­gu­ments for the pro­posed de­vel­op­ment to be re­fused per­mis­sion. They can draft for­mal ob­jec­tions and speak on your be­half at the plan­ning com­mit­tee. They are skilled pro­fes­sion­als and charge ac­cord­ingly so it is worth­while com­bin­ing forces with other like-minded neigh­bours.

How­ever, be pre­pared for them to be to­tally hon­est and I would urge you to heed their ad­vice.

Any self-re­spect­ing pro­fes­sional will refuse the com­mis­sion if the grounds for ob­jec­tion are based on emo­tion.

The con­cerns men­tioned in your let­ter have no ba­sis in plan­ning terms.

I also sus­pect that the pro­posed site has ac­tu­ally been des­ig­nated in the lo­cal plan as a hous­ing site and is not a for­mal pub­lic open space, al­though this is easy for you to check out with the Lo­cal Au­thor­ity.

While I note your com­ment that be­cause the coun­cil sup­ports this ap­pli­ca­tion, the plan­ning per­mis­sion will be a mere for­mal­ity, it has been my ex­pe­ri­ence that ex­actly the op­po­site is the case.

If you at­tend the com­mit­tee meet­ing, it is likely that this ap­pli­ca­tion will re­ceive sig­nif­i­cantly more scru­tiny and gen­er­ate more de­bate than any scheme sub­mit­ted by a pri­vate de­vel­oper.

Fur­ther­more, you may be pleas­antly sur­prised by the ap­pear­ance of the new houses, as the cur­rent trend is to make so­cially rented prop­er­ties in­dis­tin­guish­able from the pri­vate sec­tor.

Jonathon Wing­field is a part­ner at WSM Acan­thus Ar­chi­tects, Leeds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.