What powers does a Parish Council have with respect to planning applications?

The Parish Council is consulted by the relevant Planning Authority (Wiltshire Council) on all planning applications. Any views expressed by the Parish Council will be taken into account by the Planning Authority before a decision is made, providing the points made are relevant to the determination of a planning application.
The final decision is made by the Planning Authority, not the Parish Council.
The Parish Council will only comment on what are known as “material considerations” – issues, for example, such issues as boundary disputes between neighbours or loss of views will not be considered.

Do parish councils grant planning permission?

Parish councils are not Planning Authorities. 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.
They cannot approve or reject planning applications.
They can only comment on planning applications in the same way that individuals can comment.
Consequently the length of time taken to determine a planning application is governed by the local planning authority not the parish council.
A parish council can request that it be given extra time to comment on an application.
The decision whether this is granted rests solely with the planning authority and it’s own deadlines for decision making.

How do parish councils comment on planning applications?

The comments agreed by the council are submitted in writing by the parish clerk to the relevant planning authority.
The process is exactly the same as that of an individual wishing to comment on a planning application.
Parish councils are statutory consultees and have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment or not on applications.

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.
As a Parish Council we always encourage individuals to submit their opinions, opinions should be based on planning issues. It is important that people do not use a standard letter for all the neighbours to submit as they will not be counted by Wiltshire Council. Petitions are also discounted to one submission.
Planning Applications can be found on the Wiltshire Council website, comments can be submitted directly onto the application – Planning Applications
Or or in writing to the assigned planning officer.
Guidance on commenting on planning applications and reasons to object is available at:
Commenting on an application
Planning applications will be determined by taking into account Central government policy and guidance – National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
Along with Wiltshire Council’s policies which are known as Core Policies. – Wiltshire Council Core Policies

The Planning Process

This is where an official planning application is submitted to Wiltshire Council. Applications are checked to make sure all documents and fees required have been submitted. Any missing information will be requested before processing can start. Notifications are sent to various departments to obtain their expert view. This is also where Yatton Keynell Parish Council are involved. The Parish Council can ask our Unitary Councillor (Nick Botterill) for the application to be “called in” to the Area Planning Committee for a decision. If this is agreed, then it is assessed by councillors and the final decision not delegated to an officer. This also means that members of the public can attend the meeting to explain their feelings to councillors. The Parish Council will also usually attend to explain its decision to the Wiltshire Council Councillors. (See below)

Consultation & Publicity
This is the official consultation and advertisements where required, are placed in the appropriate local paper and on site and indicate how to view plans and how to comment on them, usually 21 days from the date of publishing. For large, complex and contentious applications, a longer consultation period is used up to 56 days.
At this stage, members of the public may write in to Wiltshire Council with their objections.
The site is inspected and the application assessed by the planning case officer, taking into account planning policies, consultation responses and public representations.
If problems are identified with the application which there is scope to address through alterations to the proposal, the officer will contact the applicant to seek suitable amendments Steps 2 and 3 may require to be repeated if amendments which significantly change the application are made. This is often called a “resubmission of plans”.

The planning officer will make a recommendation, via the officer’s report, if the application has been “called in” the officer’s report will be taken to an Area Planning Committee for a final decision. Objectors and the applicant will be contacted to be advised of the time and venue of the meeting. All meetings are held in public and all interested parties are free to attend and observe how a decision is reached. These can also be viewed online. A Parish Councillor along with up to three members of the public for and three members of the public against the application can speak for up to three minutes at the meeting.

If the application is refused the applicant has up to six months to submit an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate which is a central government agency:
Planning Inspectorate
The planning inspector will determine whether Wiltshire Council correctly interpreted its Core Policies and NPPF when coming to its decision to refuse. The Planning Inspector will not consider any new information but will only consider the information presented to the Officer or Planning Committee.