Making an objection to a Planning Application

Planning matters for Thorpe Ward are handled by Runnymede Borough Council (RBC) and they cover the full range of building in the Borough, however there are certain works that do not need planning permission, others, where the documentation required is significantly less than the building of say 12 houses on a plot. The requirements for these are less than if you want to build 150 houses.

So as can be seen from the above there are myriad of rules and paperwork involved in building in the Borough. So we hope that the below guidelines may assist you in your opposition to any planning application. BUT BEWARE PLANNING RULES WILL CHANGE QUITE MARKEDLY OVER TIME.

We thought it was best to divide this document into the below sections.

  • How do you know about planning application in your Ward/Area?
  • Where can you find this information if not sent anything by RBC
  • What are the rules about who approves planning applications
  • Who are the Statutory consultees
  • On what can you base an objection
  • What will be ignored if you use it in an objection
  • Where can I find information to support my objection
  • How to gain more support for your objection

How do you know about planning application in your Ward/Area?

RBC will write to households where there is a planning application submitted where the property concerned shares a boundary with another properties. All surrounding properties should be notified of a submitted planning application. There will on occasions be notice's put up on lampposts near the property submitting the application.

Where can you find this information if not sent anything by RBC?

There maybe occasions when you are missed off the list of properties advised of planning applications. What can you do? You can always search the Runnymede Planning Portal for applications, it will show those which have been submitted, those approved and those declined going back over a number of years.

To undertake this search the easiest way is to use the RBC web site, this is done in the following way: -

  • Enter into your web browser the following address: -

◦         https://planning.runnymede.gov.uk/Northgate/PlanningExplorer/GeneralSearch.aspx

  • Scroll down to the box marked Site Address:-

◦         Enter the first line of the property which you believe has submitted an applications

  • Move down to the Ward box and select from the drop down list Thorpe
  • Then you can either enter a period of months, days or a range of dates
  • Press the Search button

This should display the planning application you are looking for, however what if you have not got the correct first line of the address, then leave this blank enter the Ward in the appropriate box, set a range of dates of say 6 months and press Search. This should return all planning application submitted to RBC in the last 6 months in the Thorpe Ward.

Which ever way you do it once the property or list of properties are shown select the one you are interested in by clicking on the Application Number.

This will bring up another page and firstly make a note of the RBC Application Number, it is always the same format RU followed by a full stop, then the last two digits of the current year this is followed by the number allocated to this application in that year, i.e. RU.21/0192 relates to the 192nd application submitted to RBC in 2021.

It will then show the address, make sure you have the right application and following this by a description of the Proposal. It will also show the name of the Case Officer from RBC in charge of this application his/her phone number and the date until you must get your objections register with RBC.

Scroll down further and you will come to another section headed up Other Information, there are three boxes,

  • Firstly, Documents, by clicking on this you will seek all the documents submitted by the applicant, Statutory Bodies, RBC officials and Letters of Representation from interested parties, this is where your letter of objection will be found once submitted.
  • Secondly, Consultees Details, by clicking this you will see who RBC expect to respond to the application and who have a statutory duty to respond
  • Thirdly, Neighbours Details, by clicking on this you will see which neighbours the RBC notified of the planning application

Documents Tab

After you have clicked on this tab it will bring up a list of all documents submitted and logged onto the system, to see any of them in detail, just click on the appropriate Document Desc’n, the Notes will give you a clue in some cases who submitted the comments/document and the Date Received, when RBC entered it onto the web site.

In small scale developments such as an extension to a house or a stand alone cabin in the back garden, the usual documents are several plans showing the present and proposed situation, together with the application form, so there may only be up to 10 documents. However on much larger projects say the building of 144 houses, there can be up to and sometimes exceed 300 individual documents.

As you can see and must bear in mind at all times any documents you submit can be seen by anyone in the country if they log on to the RBC Planning Portal. However you must included your Name and Address in any objection BUT Runnymede Borough Council will redact this information before posting it on the web site, so only they will know your identity. They do however have the right to bar any correspondence which could be seen as raciest, libellous.

What are the rules about who approves planning applications

Currently if the application meets all the planning rules and there is currently less than 3 Letters of Objection received, the decision is left with the Planning Office in charge of the case. If however there are 3 or more objections then it has to be referred to the Planning Committee consisting of 15 Local Councillors who meet every 3 weeks.

NB: We understand that from approx June of 2021 the number of Letters of Representation needed before it is referred to the Planning Committee is to increase to 10. Apparently the reason for this is members of the public are getting more vocal and this causes the Planning Committee (which we elect) to spend more time then they feel required on small developments when they could spend their time more productively on larger developments which effect a wider part of the Borough.

Who are the Statutory consultees?

These can range over a number of organisation and departments in Runnymede Borough Council and Surrey County Council. Also included can be environmental organisations such as Environment Agency, RSPB, Surrey Bat Group, Natural England, Surrey Wildlife Trust. Also other bodies such as Surrey Police, NHS, Thames Water & Electric Providers.

It must be stressed that these people have to be notified, but there is no onus on them to respond.

On what can you base an objection?

All objections must be based on tangible items and not feelings despite how upsetting the proposed development is to you and your neighbours. The Case Officer can only take account of tangible items they can see and hear and only those that relate to the development itself and not th effect is has on Schools admissions in the area and Doctors patient lists etc.

Areas of which are legitimate objections are if the proposed development is in the Flood Plain, if the Permitted developments rights were removed when the main house was built, traffic issues on entrance and exit to the site, (but not including the building phase, as this is deemed as temporary). Air & Noise pollution, particularly as we are surrounded by Motorways and Flight paths.

That the application breaches the Runnymede Local Plan, the Neighbourhood Plan (if exists) or the National Planning Policy Framework. All the documents are available on line to check see list of web addresses at the bottom of the set of notes.

What will be ignored if you use it in an objection?

As mentioned above emotional items and the increased pressure on Schools and Doctors, Hospital etc. Items that have already passed Consultation by the Local Plan, i.e. Removal of Land from the green Belt, following the Green Belt review undertaken by RBC before the Runnymede Local Plan 2030 was brought into force in July 2020.

Also sending in an objection which just says I object, without giving some reasons why, also if you do get together with other objectors, do not just send in exactly the same wording, these will have less effect than separately worded and laid out arguments against the application.

Where can I find information to support my objection

There are various web sites you can go to to find out information these are just some of the main ones: -

◦         This gives lots of information about the process and is well worth a closer examination and go to some of the links they have on the site to find out yet more details

◦         This will show if you enter the Post Code of the development if it is in the Flood Zone and to what level/grade of Flood Zone

◦         This will have the entire NPPF document on display, approx 76 pages

  • This will show the current Local Plan adopted by RBC in June 2020
  • This will show the Forums Plan for the village of Thorpe after it was removed from the Green Belt under the RBC Local Plan 2030.
  • This shows the Air Quality Management Areas, what they are and what are the National Air Quality Objectives the Government are trying to achierve

 

How to gain more support for your objection

You will need to talk to your neighbours and contact the Thorpe Ward Residents’ Association to see if they will be objecting, they do review all planning application in Thorpe ward every month at their committee meetings.

At present one of the major concerns to the Association is the amount of small extensions that are being built in the Flood Plain, especially when you consider the flooding in 2013/2014.

The Environment Agency will get involved unless the building is over 250 square metres and very very few extension re this size but you could have 8 extension of each 40 square metres each which would be a bigger increase in concrete in the flood zone with still no intervention by the EA as it is not one unit, but causes the same problem, it is ignoring the cumulative effect of these extensions.

This does not take into account permitted development which does not need any planning permission to build only it follows the Building Code. Permitted development is allowed as long as the new build part is not more than 50% of the original footprint of the house. (See RBC web site under Permitted Development)