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    Stopping a Planning Application

    I think I've mentioned on here that a developer has acquired a small patch of land opposite our apartment block and is trying to build a three storey apartment building of three flats.

    The original application was refused in the spring but they've just put in an appeal and we've got three weeks to comment, or to put together a decent enough protest to stop this happening.

    We've got a little local coverage which is in our favour but I'm concerned that our community actions are very random and will not result in us getting the application refused again.

    I'd be grateful of any advice, no matter how small or unimportant you think it is.

    Here's a little background on this.

    https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/1...lats-deptford/

    #2
    Bump.

    Would really be grateful for any advice. Thanks.

    Comment


      #3
      I have someone I can ask AE. Will get back to you

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by ad hoc View Post
        I have someone I can ask AE. Will get back to you
        Thank you, much appreciated.

        Comment


          #5
          We've had quite a few contentious development applications round here over the years, AE, some of which have been rejected or required to scale back, although many also went through. I haven't led any campaigning but these are a few observations based on those we have seen.

          Objections by individuals can influence decisions and the more there are, the more weight they may have. People may feel that the decision is a done deal or that they are alone in their objections. Awareness that others have the same misgivings and are doing something about it is a big encouragement to take the time to write an objection. This can be raised through local social media groups or by delivering flyers in the affected area. The latter don't have to have great production values to make the campaign seem like a real live thing. We have commented on a number of applications after receiving information this way.

          The other big obstacle to objecting for most people is not knowing anything about the planning system, which is fair enough. Incentives to participate here include providing the precise reference and web links so that people can find the application straight off. A short explanation of what the relevant grounds for objection are (and what to avoid) is also useful. Most councils have some information about this but other sources may flesh it out a bit; the amount of time you can spare and the space available in your proposed communication will affect how much bespoke information you generate and how much you copy or link to pre-existing material.

          This isn't very much, I'm afraid, but the single point I would emphasise is that, as not very locally involved people, we have been moved to act in similar situations on the basis of information received from local campaigners. Good luck with your situation.

          Comment


            #6
            I've nothing concrete to offer you AE but I wish you the best of luck. Every rejected application for housing around here has been overturned, either on appeal to the local authority or to the Planning Inspectorate. Boris's 'Build Build Build' mantra the other day does not bode well for getting any housing applications permanently rejected.

            Comment


              #7
              We fought against a service station (or as they called it a "convenience store with incidental petrol pumps) being located in a ludicrous spot (not very near us but that wasn't the point).

              I started a Facebook page on the issue which helped gather people who were opposed. made them easier to reach.

              We then tapped into expertise within that group (comms person (me), environmental expert, keen bird watcher, amateur weather buff, videographer etc) to prepare separate but complementary submissions . Given the format here, where councils get limited say and it is a separate panel with 3 "neutrals" and two local councillors we looked at precedent and existing planning constraints.

              They left us little wriggle room, so we decided to lobby as a fall back for limited opening hours knowing no major fuel companies want anything but 24-hour opening these days. In a duel strategy we went for a rewording of the local planning laws which would reclassify this type of service station so it had to go through proper planning processes not the rushed version. Approval was granted but with daytime only hours. So far (nearly two years) the project has not proceeded. The planning laws have also been amended as we suggested.

              Ahead of the hearing we put pressure on the local councillors with news stories in local paper and Facebook videos - here's what we'd lose, what about the fire risk etc.

              The key was coordinating objections, making sure we focused on what was actually a planning grounds to object and not just the (understandable) emotional objections and being the reasonable people in the room.

              Comment


                #8
                Thanks to all who've offered advice.

                We'd be really grateful if you could join our groups, share our tweets and sign our petition.

                If you could also retweet #stopmcmillanstreetdevelopment that would be appreciated.

                I've drafted a template for people to send to the Planning Inspectorate as well.


                https://www.facebook.com/groups/3088...094/?ref=share


                https://www.change.org/p/the-plannin...t-deptford-se8


                https://twitter.com/McmillanStop?s=09


                https://www.instagram.com/p/CDlqK1Tj...d=m6f6uxgqrq26

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm sure most of this will be teaching granny to suck eggs, but here we go...

                  The critical issue is having sound planning reasons to object. It comes as a surprise to many to discover that lots of people objecting on the basis that they live in an area and don't want it to happen is not acceptable as a reason to stop something, as there's a general presumption in favour of development from central government planning frameworks.

                  You need to give the councillors a hook on which hang an objection. It's almost as if the council decides not to award the planning on grounds that make it utterly irrelevant that hundreds of people objected (which will be spun to planning inspectors as nice developers helping the council meet housing targets being targeted by beastly residents and the council caving in) rather than the council refusing to give permission because it didn't meet objectively set criteria that pre-existed the planning application being made.

                  Some factors to consider:

                  When are the next elections? Are the councillors in the ward where it is located influential? Is the ward marginal, in terms of political control?

                  Is the site currently providing community benefit? Have you thought about nominating it as an asset of community value? This on its own can be a legitimate hook on which councillors can hang their objection, and is usually seen as prima facie evidence by planning inspectors of the importance of a site to the local community.

                  What impact will the building have environmentally? Will it overlook existing properties creating privacy issues? Will it affect light on existing buildings, and therefor impact on the ability of existing residents to enjoy occupancy of their properties? Will it affect the community's amenity by preventing or making much more difficult something they currently are able to do on the current site with ease? Will it be out of keeping with the look and feel of the neighbouring buildings?

                  Will the construction be very disruptive and potentially dangerous? Will the end-result building increase the number of cars in the area and thus not contribute to borough traffic-reduction policy or emissions policy Eg, are they planning to make parking spaces available? If yes, they're planning on more cars, so are they making these electric friendly? If they are providing no spaces, do a traffic survey to show how few spaces there are available in the area, meaning more people fighting for the same spaces.

                  (Many of these might be able to be changed by a developer to fit any planning conditionality, but remember that all development is, ultimately, a spreadsheet, and extra conditions add costs. It's like in THX 1138 - you can get to a position where it's just not economical for the bad guys to carry on. So making them have to provide staffing to operate a safety crossing of the road whilst the build phase is on can massively add to their costs)

                  Comment


                    #10
                    "Have you thought about nominating it as an asset of community value?"

                    How do we go about doing this? The land was gifted to a local charity with a community use covenant on it, that was removed but we're not quite sure how, suspiciously would be accurate.

                    "What impact will the building have environmentally? Will it overlook existing properties creating privacy issues? Will it affect light on existing buildings, and therefor impact on the ability of existing residents to enjoy occupancy of their properties? Will it affect the community's amenity by preventing or making much more difficult something they currently are able to do on the current site with ease? Will it be out of keeping with the look and feel of the neighbouring buildings?"

                    I'll reread my template letter but i think these are all included.

                    "Will the construction be very disruptive and potentially dangerous? Will the end-result building increase the number of cars in the area and thus not contribute to borough traffic-reduction policy or emissions policy Eg, are they planning to make parking spaces available? If yes, they're planning on more cars, so are they making these electric friendly? If they are providing no spaces, do a traffic survey to show how few spaces there are available in the area, meaning more people fighting for the same spaces."

                    I've added a little of this but not about the cars.

                    "So making them have to provide staffing to operate a safety crossing of the road whilst the build phase is on can massively add to their costs)"

                    That's brilliant.

                    Thanks so much for this NHH, so useful.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      All good advice above, I just want to add that the developer I successfully thwarted for a few years (and who threatened to sue me for loss of money) got his permission by fighting dirty.

                      He put in several applications, each slightly modified, but refused. He started off with plans for a 4 storey 5-bed house, then downscaled and downscaled. I and a few others opposed him on all the above grounds, environmental impact, drainage, overlooking etc. etc.

                      His penultimate application was submitted in late November or early December, and was then withdrawn suddenly. He immediately resubmitted just before Christmas, and it was stamped "APPROVED" on Christmas Eve. We never managed to track down the person who approved it, and yes, I am suggesting that there may have been bribery. It caught us out as we assumed his application had been refused again.

                      So three of us then had a battle to either stop him building, force him to make it smaller, or pay us compensation, that's a whole other story. I ended up getting ?15k and my costs paid, should have held out for more, and he had to make the building slightly smaller and further away from my property. All through that battle he pulled tricks like removing documents from the files in the Planning library.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        On MsD's point, the key here is to make sure the local councillors for your ward nobble the chair of the planning committee, and make it clear that they want the Chair to advise that the planning decision must come to the committee and can't be agreed to by officers. Sometimes the Chair is closer to the planning officers than they are to their fellow councillors, so they need to make a judgment as to how far they need to raise it - ideally, it would be something that the leadership group would insist upon, but if the council is a Cabinet and Scrutiny model as opposed to Committee-led, then your mileage may vary, and if the council is dominated by inner-London Labour sensible apparatchiks, then your mileage will definitely vary.

                        Asset of Community Value - See here for your Borough

                        ACV's are great things. You need three things:

                        1) A legitimate nominating group. If you have a group, great. If not, either create a company limited by guarantee for ?40 online (I can email you a basic set of governing articles that will pass muster, or create a not-for-profit group (again ask me for a model constitution) or else get an existing group to nominate. If speed and time are of the essence, I'd be tempted by the first option, frankly, as the second is slightly fraught and the third relies on having a group happy to act as a proxy for you and your campaign.

                        2) You need to demonstrate that the asset has been used for a) community benefit in the b) recent past.

                        a) Get local people to post to your FB group with pictures of them using the site for community events then make a PDF and submit that as evidence. You need to show that the use is 'non-ancilliary' which is to say that the use that provides the benefit isn't a tangential one but directly relates to what the site is at present. For example, if it was a demolished building site which kids used to play on, that's not a legitimate use. If the site is cleared and landscaped and used as a park or open community space, then you're in business.

                        b) Each council is free to determine what it understands by 'recent' so maybe check the Greenwich Council list of assets nominated and not-nominated, to see if there's an identifiable pattern.

                        3) You demonstrate how the site can remain useful to the community as long as the council are yet to award planning permission; once this is awarded, the site ceases to be an ACV but until this happens, it's plainly able to provide community benefit in the next 5 years.

                        The critical test is 2, really. Happy to look over any docs you produce for this before submitting if that's any help?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Really good advice there, NHH.

                          BTW, probably not relevant to the OP, but may help other people: my compensation of 15k was for loss of light. To claim for loss of light to a non-main room (my bathroom) you have to prove that the property (not the person) has enjoyed light for 20 years. Dirty trickster removed the paper plans showing my window from the time of the conversion in the 1970s, but I found them on microfilm in Hackney archive and luckily the resident before the one before me was a solicitor, who happily vouched for the window being there and its providing much light to the property.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by NHH View Post
                            On MsD's point, the key here is to make sure the local councillors for your ward nobble the chair of the planning committee, and make it clear that they want the Chair to advise that the planning decision must come to the committee and can't be agreed to by officers. Sometimes the Chair is closer to the planning officers than they are to their fellow councillors, so they need to make a judgment as to how far they need to raise it - ideally, it would be something that the leadership group would insist upon, but if the council is a Cabinet and Scrutiny model as opposed to Committee-led, then your mileage may vary, and if the council is dominated by inner-London Labour sensible apparatchiks, then your mileage will definitely vary.

                            Asset of Community Value - See here for your Borough

                            ACV's are great things. You need three things:

                            1) A legitimate nominating group. If you have a group, great. If not, either create a company limited by guarantee for ?40 online (I can email you a basic set of governing articles that will pass muster, or create a not-for-profit group (again ask me for a model constitution) or else get an existing group to nominate. If speed and time are of the essence, I'd be tempted by the first option, frankly, as the second is slightly fraught and the third relies on having a group happy to act as a proxy for you and your campaign.

                            2) You need to demonstrate that the asset has been used for a) community benefit in the b) recent past.

                            a) Get local people to post to your FB group with pictures of them using the site for community events then make a PDF and submit that as evidence. You need to show that the use is 'non-ancilliary' which is to say that the use that provides the benefit isn't a tangential one but directly relates to what the site is at present. For example, if it was a demolished building site which kids used to play on, that's not a legitimate use. If the site is cleared and landscaped and used as a park or open community space, then you're in business.

                            b) Each council is free to determine what it understands by 'recent' so maybe check the Greenwich Council list of assets nominated and not-nominated, to see if there's an identifiable pattern.

                            3) You demonstrate how the site can remain useful to the community as long as the council are yet to award planning permission; once this is awarded, the site ceases to be an ACV but until this happens, it's plainly able to provide community benefit in the next 5 years.

                            The critical test is 2, really. Happy to look over any docs you produce for this before submitting if that's any help?
                            Thank you for this.

                            I think we'll use the next few weeks to get comments against the application and then once the deadline has passed look at this.

                            The appeal is with the Planning Inspectorate not Greenwich Planning Committee from what we have been told. The original application was refused and the developers are appealing.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Be advised that an ACV can take 8 weeks to be awarded, so you can bash it in, and wait.

                              Comment

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