Planning application, objection query

  Blackhat 23:22 30 Jul 2007

Has anyone got much experience with objecting to planning permission?

I received one of those local council letters regarding a planning application inviting me to have a chance to comment. It concerns a high street shop being turned into a restaurant/take away about 100 yards from my property.

I do wish to comment but having gone on line to fill in the form and also having read the notes in the letter I am very restricted in what sort of comment is acceptable.

I can only comment on planning issues relating to; loss of light or privacy, highway safety, traffic and parking, noise, pollution, conservation, wildlife or design and appearance.

I cannot comment on; developers motives or morals, effect on property values, private rights, covenants or boundary disputes.

My situation is this, I live in a busy suburb of Birmingham in a side street off a high street. Within 100 yards I have 2 chip shops, a pizza shop and a deli. Within ½ mile I have a Chinese restaurant, Chinese take away, 2 Indian restaurants (with take away), Subway, and an Indian take away. Within a mile I have another Indian restaurant/take away, MacDonald’s, soon to open KFC, and another chip shop!

The rear of the proposed development will be close my rear garden which currently suffers from the smell of the nearest chip shop.

Question is; can I raise an objection based on being overwhelmed by fast food and restaurant businesses?

(Yeh, OK, I don’t have to go far for something to eat but this it getting a bit too much)

  Woolwell 23:37 30 Jul 2007

There are others on this forum who know more (much more) about planning than I do but try objecting on the grounds of:
Pollution - smell and litter
Noise - loud queues.
Lack of privacy - close to your garden.

Speak to your councillor.

There should be a local area plan and it would be worthwhile consulting with that.

  Tim1964 23:41 30 Jul 2007

I could only say "Give it a go by the formal channels" but I wouldn't hold out much hope. How many housing estates/phone masts have gone up even with local MPs getting involved. I firmly believe that the decisions are already made well before the 'public enquiry' bit and that it's just lip service to appease the peasants.

Near my house is a patch of grass about 150 sq foot that the council want to erect a 'temporary' pharmacy as the 4 storey high medical centre around the corner doesn't have one in it???? This means that those driving to the medical centre will have to re-park (where there are no spaces) to get their prescriptions and completely block access to about 100 homes for the emergency services. Also, once word gets out that there may be drugs inside you can guess how many times a night it will be broken into and when the 'little darlings' have no luck you can bet they'll look to the houses around it for items to sell off !!!

We (at work) had a 'temporary' building put up that was standing for 10 years and would still be there if the site hadn't been sold off.

I have appealed against this but you can be sure someone's making something out of it and those that have any say in the issue won't have to suffer.

  Blackhat 23:47 30 Jul 2007

Thanks, I will be talking to my coucillor but what concerns me, as Tim1964 says, is that the formal channels put up so many barriers that things go through before any objection is considered.

I have about 14 days to object, what chance of a meeting with my councillor in that time?

  Spark6 23:51 30 Jul 2007

First things first. Your local council have notified you of this application because you live close to the address involved in the application.

Ignore the so say limitations implied by their conditions and state your objections as clearly as possible. As you live 'just around the corner' from a proposed restaurant I'm sure you will suffer from additional short term parking at the very least. You will probably be able, not only to lodge your objections on their website, but also to view the plans and proposals plus other objections. Even if you don't succeed you'll feel better for having tried. I know I did!

  Woolwell 23:56 30 Jul 2007

When viewing the on-line planning application there should be the case officer listed. I have found that it can be worthwhile ringing that person up and talking through the problem - being polite throughout. You will also see the timescale of the planning process. It is important to note the dates by which objections have to be in by. I note you state 14 days which seems tight.
I think that you are being a little cynical about plans being pre-approved. Try e-mailing your councillor. Most councils have the addresses listed on their website.

  Kate B 23:57 30 Jul 2007

You'll do much better to stick within the boundaries for objecting - any other objections such as noise, effect on property prices etc, while very relevant to you, aren't relevant under planning regulations and you're wasting your time and breath. You're much more likely to be taken seriously as an objector if you write a simple, clear letter setting out your objections under the guidelines.

So you can comment on noise (noise from the increased level of customers and their cars); pollution (presumably there will be more litter, which is pollution, and the smell might count as pollution, too) and parking (bound to be an issue with a takeaway). I'd also, as suggested, get in touch with your councillor who will be able to raise broader issues such as density of development. But I have a suspicion you might be out of luck: it sounds as though you live in an area where there are already a lot of food outlets and you might well find that the application goes through on the grounds that one more isn't going to make it any worse than it already is.

If you know anyone on the planning committee, now is the time to take them to the pub. Also you might try the local paper: they love angry residents looking glum outside a parade of takeaways saying "We don't need or want another one". But above all, come up with valid objections, not ones that could be construed as boiling down to nimbyism. Good luck ...

  Blackhat 00:23 31 Jul 2007

Thank you all for your time and comments, you have given me a few ideas to follow. I don't expect that any objection I raise will change much but having a go will give me some satisfaction.

Next stop, my local councillor, time will tell!

  WhiteTruckMan 00:47 31 Jul 2007

at the seemingly endless parade of fast food outlets I see in towns. Kebabs, pizzas, burgers, chicken, indian, chinese, korean, all of them repeated endlessly and being a constant source of litter and free food to vermin. Unfortunately there seems to be no end of cretins willing to raise money somehow to open yet another food outlet, seeing it as their ticket to the good life, only to go bust 3-6 months later because they cant recognise a saturated market when they see one. Sadly, commercial viability is not part of the application process. As I sit typing this I can think of 19 food outlets within a mile of me that opened up, only to go bump within the last 12 months. (admittedly, one of them is on its 3rd re-opening).


  Forum Editor 09:04 31 Jul 2007

Normally you may only object to a planning application on a point of planning law - you can't just say "I don't want the work to go ahead because it will lower the tone of the area". That's a matter of opinion, and if planning committees worked on the basis of refusing applications on those grounds hardly any applications would be approved.

Bear in mind that in law all planning applications must be approved by default - a refusal can only be issued if the application fails to comply with the local and national planning rules.

  anskyber 09:19 31 Jul 2007

I am a planner and much of the advice given above is perfectly sound. Planning decisions cannot be influenced by things like property values or a loss of view. the Human Rights Act can sometimes be used to influence planning decisions and Local Planning Authorities are required to consider any human rights implications of applications.

Based on your pen portrait I am not sure the HRA will help you. The problem with arguments about the concentration of takeaways or other such uses is the need to show that the extra provision is the "straw which breaks the camels back" In other words the incremental addition is so significant in impact terms that enough is enough. Adequate provision of something already is not in itself a reason to refuse permission, that is for the market to decide.

Noise, smell, (including the positioning of flues/vents) general disturbance, traffic generation (particularly if near a junction of double yellow lines, other uses like schools) are all relevant, give it a go. Your Councillor should be approached and any local community group. ask for the application to go to the Planning Committee, some are dealt with by officers only, you stand a better chance at Committee and it's good practise to allow members of the public to speak at such meetings.

The only other thing I did not see above is the opening hours of the shop, they should be the subject of a planning condition (usually) to help prevent antisocial behaviour late at night.

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