Procedural rules for making and determining planning applications, including consultation requirements, are defined in legislation and regulations and in Council approved guidance.
Do I need permission?
For anyone coming to the process for the first time this is most important question, and one which is quite often addressed to the Society. It is a simple question, but often with a complex answer, especially in the Conservation Area. As a first step there is a useful guide on the national online Planning Portal service.
There is more information on the Council’s website about its application procedures and the advice it can offer, including its professional pre-application advice service.
What planning policies will be taken into account?
Anybody considering making a planning application in the Oxton Conservation Area will need to have regard to the national and Council planning policies which will be taken into account by the case officer when considering the application. More information can be found in the ‘Planning Policy’ and ‘Useful Documents’ sections of our website.
From the Oxton Society’s experience as a consultee, one of most important, and often overlooked, aspects of making a planning application is the completion of a Heritage Statement. The Council’s policy is that every application in the Conservation Area must be accompanied by a Heritage Statement and it has published Heritage Statement Guidance on what should be included.
It should be emphasized that the large majority of householder applications are relatively minor and the requirement is that the amount of information in the Heritage Statement needs to be proportionate.
Consultation on applications
The Council is required to consult on applications before making a decision. This includes consulting on neighbours in the vicinity of the application, to allow for any concerns to be raised on the possible adverse effects of a proposed development on their amenity, or for representations to be made in support of the proposals.
The Oxton Society is consulted on all applications in the Conservation Area. Its role is different to that of neighbours and a fuller explanation of this can be viewed in the document ‘Role of the Oxton Society in the Planning Process’.
How decisions are made.
The power to determine planning applications is vested in the Council’s Planning Committee. However, the Committee has given delegated powers to the chief planning officer to take decisions on the majority of minor and non-controversial applications. The scope and exercise of these powers is closely defined in a “scheme of delegation”. A significant aspect of this is the opportunity for the delegated powers to be suspended if a reasoned request is made by a local councillor or if representations on a planning application are submitted in a petition signed by at least 25 local residents.
A full description of these procedures is available on the Council’s website. https://www.wirral.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning/planning-decision-process/about-decision-process)