We sometimes receive requests from members to intervene over plans submitted by neighbours for changes to their homes, extensions or other planning issues. Our role in this was highlighted by our recent survey and questions asked as to our role. In order to clarify our position on this we are therefore publishing the policy which we follow and this will remain on our website as a permanent resource.
It is fair to say that many people think that we have more authority than we do! As the document clarifies (below), we are able to comment to CWaC planning department on developments and our observations are treated by them as those of a consultee, but if the application falls entirely within the allowed parameters defined by the CWaC policy it is extremely unlikely that we would attempt to object, or indeed by successful if we did so. We are always prepared to be consulted informally over planning issues, whether these be ones that members may be planning themselves or applications that other residents have submitted for approval. We have on occasion brought involved parties together to agree reasonable compromises that have led to a mutually acceptable outcome and we do have the facility to escalate issues of concern in conjunction with our councillor.
If you have any questions about planning issues, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will do our best to answer your enquiry and help where we can.
Planning Guidelines (Approved 13/02//2023)
Any new development within our area is in general governed by the requirements of the Cheshire West and Chester (CWaC) Local Plan plus the associated government National Planning Policy framework. These are supplemented by additional guidance documents which, for example, provide more detailed information on how house extensions within the green belt might or might not be acceptable. The Conservation Area of Burton is subject to more strict rules to preserve and enhance its character and appearance.
In the absence of a Parish Council, Burton Residents’ Association (BRA) is normally given notice of planning applications lodged with CWaC for developments in the Burton area and invited to lodge a comment which will be published on the CWaC planning website.
The documents associated with each such application are reviewed by the BRA committee members. In making their assessment they would normally consider the lists published on the CWaC planning website of “Matters taken into account” and “Matters not taken into account” in reaching decisions on planning applications.
The committee strives to be fair in taking into account the likely points of view of applicants and other residents, particularly those of neighbours. It is immaterial whether they are members of BRA or not. Committee members would not normally approach neighbours or applicants for comment, although occasionally BRA is approached by them for advice and assistance.
On most applications reviewed BRA advises CWaC that it has no objection to the application. Where it considers there may be grounds for objection further research is conducted. In particular, published correspondence between the applicant and planning officers is reviewed. BRA recognises the importance of consistency and tries to identify any relevant precedents. If it finds such precedents it will consider quoting the previous decisions of planning officers (and of planning inspectors if the application has gone to appeal). Using the above, BRA will seek to construct and submit a logical objection for publication on the CWaC planning website.
In the case of some applications where BRA considers no objection is justified, it may submit a comment containing suggestions for CWaC and the applicant to consider amendments or conditions.
It is important to recognise that, whereas BRA hopes that CWaC will give due consideration to its submissions, the final decision to accept or reject an application rests with CWaC (or with a planning inspector if the application goes to appeal). Also BRA cannot give legal advice.