Middlesbrough Council has a public consultation process on planning applications submitted by householders and developers. The consultation allows the submission of comments or objections over a 21 day period commencing from the date the planning officer validates the application. Nearby neighbours are sent letters through the post advising them of the consultation. The application is also displayed on the Council planning website. Parish Councils and Community Councils are automatically sent a copy the applications via post or the Internet e-consult arrangement. Regardless of any delays in the post or in placing the application on the website the consultation is still a 21 day period from the date of validation.
If you are opposed to an application or any aspect of it, you can make an objection to Middlesbrough Council. Before making an objection it is advisable to discuss the application with the Council planning officer to discuss your grounds for objection. It may be something that can be changed during the application process. If this is not possible (usually not) then you have the right to submit your objection:
- Submit your objection in writing or submit it electronically via the Council planning website to the Council’s planning department.
- Contact other people affected by the proposal and encourage them to write letters of objection. This is more effective than a petition – even a petition with 1,000 names will only count as one objection.
- Contact your local Ward Councillors and ask them to support you. Meet the Ward Councillors on site and put forward your grounds of objection. Speak with or write to the Parish Council or Community Council and put forward your objection for their support.
- After the public consultation is finished the Planning officer will prepare a report to the Planning Committee advising their recommendation on either refusal or approval of the application based on existing planning policies and the input from objectors. This report is usually available for viewing on the Council planning website ten days before the Planning Committee meeting.
If you wish to speak at the Planning Committee meeting you can submit a request via the Planning Committee coordinator.
It is important that you object only on planning grounds. Objection on the grounds of devaluation of property, effects on a view or disturbance during the building work are not planning issues.
- Substantial damage to the amenities of residents caused by noise, disturbance, smell or loss of light.
- The visual impact of a development – what it will be like to look at, loss of significant natural view (e.g. Roseberry Topping), Highway traffic flow and safety including the need for effective parking.
- Any contravention of the approved policies of the Local Authority and central Government policies as set out in a wide range of Government circulars and planning policy framework/guidance notes.
- Precedents set by decisions already taken, granting permission to applications of a similar nature elsewhere in the area (cumulative effect).
- The existing use of the site, or any previous planning permission already granted for the site.
- Design, materials, amenity space of the scheme etc. although the degree of control in these areas is restricted.
Planning Conditions applied to approved applications
You may agree with the application but disagree with just some of its aspects. In this case, when responding to those aspects you could ask for planning conditions to be attached to the approval for planning permission. Not necessarily objecting to a planning application but asking for any of the standard planning conditions (discuss with the Planning Officer) to be applied is known as making a representation.
The Appeal Process
There is no right of appeal by the public on a decision if the council approves a planning application with which you disagree. It is essential you must object during the 21 day consultation period. If planning permission is refused by the Planning Committee or conditions are imposed which the applicant considers are unacceptable, then the applicant has six months to appeal to the Secretary of State.
An independent Planning Inspector is then appointed to listen to both sides of the case and will either make a decision or provide a recommendation to the Secretary of State who, in some cases, will make the final decision. Appeals can be heard in three ways:
- Written representation – This involves the exchange of written correspondence by all parties and the opportunity to comment on each other’s case. The inspector will visit the site and usually makes a decision relatively quickly.
- Informal Hearing – This allows both parties to present their case to the Inspector in person, in a relaxed and informal setting.
The hearing usually takes the form of a round table discussion, followed by a site visit. A decision letter will then be issued. This usually takes a few months to complete.
- Public Inquiry – This follows a clear set of procedures and allows all interested parties to give evidence and cross-examine the evidence of others in a formal and “courtroom “- like setting. The Inspector will make a site visit and may either issue a decision letter or report to the Secretary of State for final decision.
At any Inquiry the local authority will seek to defend their decision that is being appealed against. The local community does have an important role to play. If you initially objected to the application you will be invited to support the local authority either in writing to the Inspector or by addressing the Hearing or Public Inquiry. This process could take a considerable number of months to complete.
If you wish either to object or to support the applicant you can put your view in writing to the Inspector and ask to attend the inquiry to give evidence. If you do speak you are likely to be questioned about your evidence, but the Inquiry is not intended to be intimidating. You would be required to just state your case simply and clearly.
Checking planning applications on the Middlesbrough Council website
From your computer enter the following weblink into your Internet browser bar http://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/?articleid=2276
This will bring you to the Council planning ‘Search and Track’ page. Go down to the ‘Parish’ box, click on the arrow and select your Parish from the pull-down menu. Click on the ‘Search’ button. The new page will display planning applications for that particular Parish going back to the start of the computerised planning application process. There are 20 applications per page, click ‘Next’ to view previous pages.
To examine the milestone dates (consultation period and expected date for the Planning Committee meeting) and documents of a particular application click on the ‘Reference’ number. If you wish to contact the relevant planning officer for further information click on the ‘Officer’ button for the telephone number and e-mail address.
This page also allows you to comment or submit an objection electronically on the application, click on ‘Comment on this application’ and complete the electronic form.