Questions And Answers 2: “Nothing Has Gone Wrong”




View of Pond and House

Here’s the second of Chris’ questions. This is the one about why a planning inspector didn’t know what council planning policies we still have in force:


?The Inspector’s decision letter for the planning appeal at 89 Down Hall Road (“The Pond House”) contained the following extraordinary statement:

?The Council has referred to policies HP3, HP6 and HP11 of the Rochford District Replacement Local Plan (LP), adopted in 2006. However, as I have not been provided with information to indicate whether these policies have been saved, I propose to deal with the appeal on the basis of Planning Policy Statement 1 Delivering Sustainable Development (PPS1) and Planning Policy Statement 3 Housing (PPS3).?

What has gone wrong here??

Here’s the answer:

?Nothing has gone wrong.

The Council submitted the three policies in the Local Plan as being material to the decision reached to refuse consent for the proposed development. These policies were included within the Council?s appeal statement.

On the 27 September 2007, three years from the date the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 came into force, there was a requirement, depending on the date of adoption, for policies in some adopted Structure and Local Plans to be accepted as ?saved? policies, else they would expire and no longer be material to development control decisions.

However, the Rochford District Local Plan was not adopted until June 2006 and as a result it automatically remains in force until 2009. In this case, the Inspector indicated that the status of the adopted Local Plan had not been made clear to her and therefore the assessment of the acceptability of the scheme was carried out against the principles within national policy statements.

That having been said, the Inspector has dealt fully and properly with each of the reasons for refusal, which clearly articulated the Council?s concerns, by reference to the material planning considerations, which are consistent and give effect to the same considerations as the adopted Local Plan policies. Since the regulations relating to saved policies and plans are clear, it is disappointing that the Inspector made this statement, but in order to ensure this situation does not arise again, all future appeal statements will include a standard paragraph to clearly explain the status of the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Documents.

Our comment: The council is insisting that ‘nothing has gone wrong’, but clearly the inspector didn’t know (and didn’t find out) that out planning policies were still in force and so she ignored them! That could be very disturbing if it happens on a planning application that will affect you….

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