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Planning Help

Planning Information and Help Page


Do I need to request permission of the Parish Council if I have a planning requirement/application?

In short NO!  Requesting permission from a Parish Council is not a legal requirement, although informing the Parish Council is expected and could help your case in certain circumstances. Parish Councils may be consulted by the Planning Authority for clarification of certain local detail or for their views/opinion on perceived related issues which could influence the decision. (Our planning authority is Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council) The Parish Council’s opinion/view, as an official consultee of the Borough Council, will usually be taken into account before a decision is made. Where a decision is reasonably clear cut with regard to planning law the Borough Planning Department can then make a decision to either approve or refuse an application under their ‘delegated powers’. If however a planning proposal has potential to impinge on other local conditions/situations or despite a proposal complying with planning law there has been substantial public objection the decision will very likely be escalated to the Borough Council Planning Committee of Borough Councillors.

Either way the final decision to approve or reject will always be determined by SMBC as the Planning Authority, not the Parish Council.

When consulted the Parish Council will only comment on how a proposal might affect the general parish situation and will usually refrain from commenting on or getting involved in specific neighbour disputes, such as boundaries or outlook etc.

In Summary

  • The Parish Council is not a Planning Authority. Parish Councils are only statutory consultees in the planning process.
  • This means that they only have the right to be informed of planning applications within the parish, although in practice this does usually happen prior to the public being notified where commercial developments are concerned.
  • The Parish Council cannot approve or reject planning applications.
  • They can only comment on planning applications in the same way that individual residents can but as representatives of the parish their comment can be expected to carry some additional weight.
  • The length of time taken to determine a planning application is governed by the local planning authority not the Parish Council.
  • Provided that an adequate reason can be demonstrated a Parish Council can request extra time to construct a written representation on behalf of the community.
  • The final decision is solely the responsibility of the local planning authority and they will determine their own timescale depending on the level of complexities involved.

How do Parish Councils comment on planning applications?

This will largely depend on the complexity of the proposal. In the first instance the Parish Council will submit a written comment. However when a decision has been escalated to a planning committee meeting which the public can attend, the Parish Council may consider that the community issues are significant enough for a spoken representation in order to address the committee directly. In such circumstances only three or four minutes are allowed to get your points across, therefore a well documented submission is necessary as this will also be placed before the committee.

The Parish Council’s comments will usually be agreed at one or more of the monthly parish council meetings and submitted in writing to the planning authority by the Parish Clerk . The submission process for the Parish Council’s written representation is very much the same as that for written comments submitted by individual residents. However the Parish Council’s written representation can often be more involved as there is often the need to capture as many majority views raised by the community as is possible/practical.

Parish Councils are statutory consultees and as such have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment on behalf of the community after first taking measure of public opinion at monthly public meetings. Conversely if there is no public interest displayed then as representatives of the community it is very likely that the Parish Council will take no action for or against.

Valid reasons for comment on a Planning Application

Comments that are clear, concise and accurate stand more chance of being accepted than those that are not. When planning applications are considered, the following matters can all be relevant. These are sometimes referred to as ‘material planning considerations’, examples as follows:-

  • The Solihull Local Development Plan – and any review of the Development Plan which is underway.
  • Adopted supplementary guidance – for example, village design statements, conservation area appraisals, car parking standards.
  • Replies or comments from statutory and non-statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Highways Authority).
  • Representations from others – neighbours, amenity groups and other interested parties so long as they relate to land use matters.
  • Central Government policy and guidance – Acts, Circulars, Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) etc.
  • Effects on an area – this includes detrimental changes to the street scene, the skyline or character of an area, availability of a suitable infrastructure, density, over-development, layout, position, design and external appearance of buildings and landscaping, mass of a structure especially if close proximity. Overlooking windows/invasion of privacy. Light obstruction. overshadowing, noise, disturbance or smell.
  • The need to safeguard valuable resources such as green spaces, trees especially those with TPOs, wildlife threats such as protection of badgers, great crested newts, barn owls, bats etc. .
  • Highway safety issues – such as traffic generation, road capacity, means of access, visibility splays, car parking and effects on pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Public services – such as drainage and water supply, disturbance of land which may have a history of pollution.
  • Public proposals for using the same land
  • Effects on a specially designated area or building – such as green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas of special scientific interest.
  • Effects on ancient trees or ancient hedgerows.
  • Public rights of way
  • Flooding or pollution.
  • Planning history of the site – including existing permissions and appeal decisions.
  • A desire to retain or promote certain uses – such as playing fields, village shops and pubs.
  • Need for the development – such as a post office or indeed a self contained service infrastructure, such as doctors, dentists, chemists etc.
  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Presence of a hazardous substance directly associated with a development
  • Precedent – but only where it can be positively shown that there would be a real danger that a proposal would inevitably lead to further inappropriate development.
  • Degradation/destruction of a public visual amenity, such as a pretty woodland or green space
  • Emergency services access restricted or not properly catered for.

Irrelevant reasons for objection

There are certain matters which do not amount to ‘material planning considerations’ under current legislation and guidance. These matters cannot be taken into account in when considering a planning application and should not be included in objections as they weaken your case:

  • Unfounded speculation over what future use might or could become
  • Disapproval of the applicant or occupant
  • Unfair competition
  • Boundary disputes
  • Breach of personal property rights, including personal (not Public) rights of way
  • Loss of a private view
  • Devaluation of property
  • Other financial matters
  • Matters controlled by other legislation – such as internal space standards for dwellings or fire prevention
  • Religious or moral issues – such as betting shops and amusement arcades.
  • The fact that the applicant does not own the land to which the application relates
  • The fact that an objector is a tenant of land where the development is proposed
  • The fact that the development has already been carried out and the applicant is seeking to regularise the situation. (People can carry out development at their own risk before getting planning permission)
  • The developer’s motives, their record or reputation.