Non-material Planning Considerations: Five Things Planning Officers Don’t Care About
As you may or may not know, there is a checklist of things which planning officers have to take into account when making a decision on your planning application. These are known as material planning considerations and are available to the public – but many people don’t know about them.
So whether you are the applicant and someone is objecting to your planning application, or you are the one objecting, here are five examples of regularly-raised concerns – or non-material planning considerations – which will have no impact on the decision-making process.
Impact on property value. This may come as a bit of a surprise to some people, but property values are not a planning consideration. If someone applies to build a multi-storey car park on vacant land next to your home, any possible effect on how much your home is worth will not be taken into account; for starters, property values are very subjective and the impact of certain events even more so. Also, no development would ever take place if perceived concerns such as impact on property value were considered – unfortunately, it’s just tough luck if this happens to you. This is why doing your due diligence when buying a property is particularly important.
Nuisance caused during the construction period. Living next to a building site is never pleasant for anyone, but this is not a valid reason to prevent development altogether. We are all aware of the problems caused by noise, dust, vibration and other facets of the build process and although conditions may be imposed which manage the impact of these inconveniences, they will not be eliminated altogether. So complaining that the noise of diggers and power tools will keep you awake when you’re sleeping off a night shift will regrettably fall on deaf ears.
Moral objections, or objections to commercial competition. These kinds of objections are commonly received from ‘concerned residents’ and usually include accusations of property developers being greedy, opinions on whether a betting shop should be allowed near to a secondary school, or a takeaway owner complaining that a rival business will impact on his profits. Planning officers are not moral arbiters and their only job is to decide if an application complies with policy, and nothing else.
Complaints that previous approval should not have been granted. If a decision has been made that the principle of development is acceptable during a previous application, for example an Outline Planning or Permission in Principle application, then there is no point anyone dragging this up again. The decision has been made and can only be overturned under special circumstances in a specific time period (called a Judicial Review). You can object to the next stage of planning approval and the details contained therein, but not to the previous approval.
Loss of a view. This is a big one, and one of the most common misconceptions in planning objections. As a resident, you are entitled to an ‘outlook’ but not a ‘view’. Sound confusing? Well, the difference between them in planning terms is quite distinct. If someone builds a wall two metres from your window, they are denying you an outlook, which is not acceptable. But if someone builds a house twenty metres from yours and blocks your view of the sea, a meadow or a local landmark, this is not a reason for refusal. Again, this is just a reminder to do your due diligence when buying a property and that if a view is important to you, you may need to take steps to protect it yourself rather than assuming that it will always be there.
Those are five of the most common objections which will be filed under ‘non-material planning considerations’ by the planning officer assessing the application. So if you’re the one objecting, I wouldn’t waste your time with any of these complaints – and if it’s your application being objected to, then don’t worry too much if these are the allegations being levelled at you. Just trust the planning officer to do their job thoroughly, fairly and in accordance with the council’s policies, and hopefully you will get the right outcome.
Don’t let this put you off applying for planning permission though, use our Planning Service to mitigate against the NIMBYs!