Planning applications are formally listed on VWHDC’s web site. Since May 2015 this PC website has maintained lists of applications in Harwell. These lists are not definitive – always refer to the VWHDC website for correct status.
Information is also published in the Harwell News, and, for larger applications there will be information on the Developments Page, and news items as appropriate.
The Parish Council is always consulted about applications in the parish. The options for the Parish Council response are:
- Fully Supports
- No Objections
- No Objections but wish to comment
For minor applications (e.g extension of existing property) it would be typical for the Parish Council to ask that residents’ comments be taken into account. For more significant applications it is likely that the Parish Council will want certain specific comments or concerns to be taken into account. When the Parish Council take the decision to either support or object to an application it is broadly doing so because it thinks that the impact on the village is significant and the case is worth making. The Parish Council comments should be made on valid planning grounds, known as material considerations (see below).
Most applications are decided by the planning officer, but significant applications are referred to the District Council Planning Committee. Usually this is triggered by an objection from the Parish Council or objections from 5 or more members of the public. At the Planning Committee meetings the applicant and the Parish Council get 3 minutes each to present their cases, and a further 3 minutes is allocated for all members of the public, who will arrange to split the time between themselves, or nominate one person as a spokesman.
It is the District Council that makes the decision to approve or reject an application, NOT the Parish Council.
If the decision goes against the applicant, they have the right of appeal, and the application will be decided by a planning inspector.
Material planning considerations
When commenting on planning applications, please ensure that what you say is relevant to planning, as the council can only take into account material planning considerations.
Relevant planning issues include the following:
- Overshadowing and loss of light
- Noise disturbance, smells, obtrusive lighting or other impacts on amenity
- The planning history of a site
- National planning policies and guidance
- Regional planning policies and guidance
- Local planning policies and guidance
- Highway safety issues
- Traffic generation
- Car parking provision
- Design, including appearance, layout, scale, density and materials
- Local drainage issues
- Local flooding issues
- Loss of important open spaces
- Loss of important community facilities
- Impact on important trees
- Proposed landscaping
- Impact on the character or setting of a listed building
- Impact on the character or appearance of a conservation area
This list is not exhaustive but it gives a clear idea of the sort of comments that are relevant to the consideration of a planning application.
Examples of what are not material planning considerations include the following:
- Reduction in property values
- Loss of a private view over land
- Boundary and access disputes, covenants and other private property matters
- Questioning the applicant’s motives or morals
- That a planning application has been submitted retrospectively
- Commercial competition
Finding Application in Harwell
Always refer to the Vale database for the full status of each application – this page is provided for information only and is not a definitive list.