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Considerate applicants


Why do neighbours matter?

Most development has an impact on its neighbourhood.  Daily lives are affected if only for a short time.  For some people change is seen as invasive and unwelcome. In seeking planning permission for building work or for the change of use of a building, an important first step therefore is to gain as much support from your neighbours and local community as you can.  This is because their concerns may become an important planning consideration in deciding whether your proposal is acceptable or not. This advice is designed to help you anticipate problems before they arise.  It informs you what you can do at each stage of the planning application process to ensure clear communication with those who might be affected by your proposal.  It also sets out what your Council is willing to do in order to build positive and constructive relationships along the way.  The advice and guidance covers all types of application from householder to major developments.

Why do you need to be considerate to others?

Imagine it is 7 o’clock on a Sunday morning. You expect to be woken by birds singing. Instead you hear a machine digging foundations for an extension to your neighbour’s house and you are very upset. This is the first you know about it and you wonder what’s going on. A more considerate neighbour would have taken steps to prevent this happening.

What steps can you take to be considerate to others?

There are 3 stages in the planning application process that you need to consider:

Stage 1 - Before an application has been submitted

  • Talk to the Planning Department about what you want to do.  Planning Officers can give you advice and an informal opinion about your chances of obtaining planning permission.  It may be that what you want to do does not need planning permission.
  • Talk to your neighbours about what you want to do, even if you do not need planning permission.  If you have one, your Residents Association may also be interested in your proposal.  Seek to address any concerns your neighbours or Residents Association might have.
  • For larger or more controversial proposals, organise a workshop, exhibition or other form of public meeting.  The Planning Department can give you help and advice in doing this.  Deal positively with issues and concerns raised by people.

Stage 2 – During consideration of the application

  • If you have not already talked to your neighbours and Residents Association about your proposal, do so now.
  • If you decide to amend your scheme at any stage consult your neighbours in advance, no matter how minor the change may seem to you.
  • For larger or more controversial proposals, organise a public event for people to discuss the scheme and to give feedback.  Explain any changes to the scheme that have taken place from any previous public discussion or exhibition. Respond constructively to peoples’ suggestions and concerns.

Stage 3 – After a decision has been made on the application

  • Check that you understand the Council’s decision notice and the requirements of any‘ planning conditions’.
  • Do not start work until you have fully complied with the requirements of any relevant ‘planning conditions’ or any other associated legal requirements contained within a Section 106 Agreement, that is part of the planning decision.
  • Ensure that you have obtained Building Regulation approval, and any other relevant approval, before you start any works. For further Building Regulation advice please view the web pages.
  • Let your neighbours know about any changes to the approved plans, which the Council considers are not significant enough to require a fresh planning application to be submitted.
  • Check whether you need to notify neighbours under the Party Wall Act
  • Tell your neighbours when work is going to start.  Seek to deal with any concerns that they might have eg. hours of work, blockage to the highway and accesses from delivery vehicles, storage of materials.
  • Talk to the Planning Department about what you want to do.  Planning Officers can give you advice and an informal opinion about your chances of obtaining planning permission.  It may be that what you want to do does not need planning permission.
  • Talk to your neighbours about what you want to do, even if you do not need planning permission.  If you have one, your Residents Association may also be interested in your proposal.  Seek to address any concerns your neighbours or Residents Association might have.
  • For larger or more controversial proposals, organise a workshop, exhibition or other form of public meeting.  The Planning Department can give you help and advice in doing this.  Deal positively with issues and concerns raised by people.

This page was last updated on 22 August 2014