The contents of the website
The use of the Council’s website to publicise planning applications offers advantages for the many parties involved in the planning process; for applicants, for the statutory consultees, as well as for other interested parties, including local residents who may wish to support or object to a particular planning application.
The website gives quick access for members of the public and enables them to understand what a particular planning application involves. Use of the website:
enables anyone with internet access to inspect the relevant plans and reports accompanying an application without the need to visit Council officers in Bexhill, Battle or Rye,
gives the opportunity for comments about an application to be made online.
To this end the essential information about applications published on the website will include:
the application forms, all plans and reports as well as any other information received subsequently clarifying or amending the original proposal;
all consultation replies and other representations received by the Council as a result of publicity given to the application.
However the website is not the formal Planning Register and it will not include every piece of information relating to the processing of the application.
Notes in respect of correspondence submitted
The Council advertises planning applications in a number of ways:
By the posting of public "Pink Notices" on and around the application site.
By advertisement in the local press where there is a statutory requirement to advertise particular applications.
On a published Weekly List of applications posted on the Council website and sent to all Parish and Town Councils.
By way of the "My Alerts" system used to notify those residents who subscribe, of any planning application within 400 metres of their property.
The Council’s public notices advise that where people comment on planning applications no acknowledgement will be sent or correspondence entered into. This is essentially for practical reasons as while the majority of applications generate little or no public interest, more controversial schemes may attract significant numbers letters of objection or support, which makes individual dialogue impractical.
It should also be noted that while the website is updated regularly, correspondence will not always appear immediately it is submitted.
Additionally the website is not a social media forum. It provides a record of comments made on planning applications for public information. In due course all representations relating to the particular application will be assessed and the material planning issues arising will be considered by the Council’s planning officers before a recommendation or final decision is made. Additional information as to what constitutes a material planning consideration can be found here: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/faqs/faq/4/what_are_material_considerations
Negotiation with applicants and amended plans
Under the Town & Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 the Council as the local planning authority must, in making a planning decision, include a statement explaining, whether, and if so how, in dealing with the application it has worked with the applicant in a positive and proactive manner based on seeking solutions to problems arising in relation to dealing with the planning application. To this extent the planning application is part of a process of which negotiation is and has always been a part. As the Council encourages pre-application discussions (in line with paragraphs 188-195 of the National Planning Policy Framework), the extent of any later negotiation with an applicant will be a matter for the Council to decide and negotiation on a current planning application is not a right.
Those who are objecting to a particular planning application must recognise that planning officers may be involved with negotiations with developers after the application has been first publicised and often as a result of comments received. However such negotiation will always be on a ‘without prejudice’ basis in respect of any final decision of the Council.
If changes to a proposal are requested or negotiated during the course of a current application this may then result in new or revised plans or new reports being submitted. While there is no statutory requirement for the Council to re-advertise amended plans or additional information, the Council will decide each case on its merits. Irrespective as to whether such matters are re-advertised any revised plans or other additional information will always be published on the website.