The Parish Council understands the upset caused by North Wiltshire Planning Authority’s decision on the Arms Farm application 16/04981/OUT.
We think it would be useful to clarify the role of a Parish Council in the planning process. We also wish to state the facts of this particular application.
In all matters of planning and development control the Parish Council is a consultee in the process. This means that we can only follow procedures as outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework.
The Parish Council cannot object to a planning application without due cause. We can only base our decision on issues within the planning application known as “material planning considerations.”
We considered this application at the Parish Council meeting in July 2016. The PC objected to the application and raised what we felt were relevant issues. We also requested that the application be “called in.”
Note about “calling in”:
We can ask our local county councillor, Howard Greenman, to “call in” an application that we consider to be contentious or in need of wider discussion. This means the Northern Area Planning Board Committee will discuss the application further. Representatives from the PC and the parish have a chance to share their views during the meeting.
As a councillor Howard has the authority to decide whether to call in the application. He has access to legal and planning personnel and will discuss the application with them. He can decide to withdraw an application without further consultation with the Parish Council.
The Planning Authority consider the Parish Council’s views when making their decision. Our views are not always relevant in the determination of the planning application. In this case they decided that the reports submitted by experts, such as Highways and Conservation officers, had more relevance than our objections.
The final decision is always made by the Planning Authority, not the Parish Council.
We are also compromised because:
- The non-adoption of the Wiltshire Plan
- There is no housing strategy for North Wiltshire
- The housing allocation for “large villages” such as Sutton Benger is open to question
- Housing developers continue to ignore the emerging core strategy
We can expect to receive more interest from developers until ratification of the core strategy in December 2016.
We urge you not to lose faith in the planning process. Please continue to engage with the planning authorities and make your own views heard.
This application is for outline planning and it has a long way to go before any building begins. There is currently no developer for the project. Once found, the developer will need to apply for full planning. This will present an opportunity to input into the planning process. We will need ensure that the site, access and houses are appropriate & meet the needs of the village.
Neighbourhood Development Plan (NDP)
One of Councillor Greenman’s biggest concerns is the lack of an NDP for Sutton Benger. This makes it easier for developers to continue to encroach on our green field sites.
Please continue to support the NDP team in their work. Even before adoption, the emerging NDP will help us to share what we value as a Parish and influence developers and the planning authorities.