We routinely examine the planning applications published each week across the province and the online ePIC system makes it easier for the public to view plans and consultation responses. Given the pressure placed on the Society’s limited resources, we appreciate threats to the built heritage being brought to our attention.
Our letters set out the architectural and/or historic merits of the building affected and cite the local plan and other policy and guidance documents (material considerations)where relevant. The most important of these is generally Planning Policy Statement 6 : Planning, Archaeology and the Built Heritage.
The Society also appears at planning appeals when important conservation issues are at stake. It is not just listed buildings that merit this attention: the Society’s campaigns often highlight the importance of the integrity of conservation areas and suggest ways of strengthening legislation to reduce losses in the future. We engage with the media on both positive and negative issues, keeping the importance of the built heritage as a vital springboard for community cohesion and regeneration in the spotlight.
On a number of occasions the Society has been forced to judicially review a number of damaging decisions through the High Court in the absence of Third Party Right of Appeal. This is a very onerous, resource–intensive onerous process and we continue to lobby the DoE Minister for this important measure to be introduced to ensure that a level playing field is created for developers and objectors.
Take Action on Planning
Check the planning applications in your local paper every week. Don’t let the Society be the only objector to a damaging proposal. You may have knowledge of the history or legal background of a site that can be relevant, or you may simply believe that an application would have a negative impact on our environment.
You might wish to consider setting up a residents’ group if you are not part of one already. They demonstrate that local people really care about their area and can respond to applications affecting buildings of merit, supported by the Society. Do remember that petitions are regarded as a single objection, so do encourage individual responses.
Send in your comments or queries about an application to your area planning office, not forgetting to quote the application number and location of the proposal. CC UAHS at the bottom of the letter and send a copy of the letter to us. It may add more weight to the letter and we will be aware of your efforts.
Get the issue on the political agenda. Contact your local Councillor to let them know your view. They do not determine applications (though they will assume hat responsibility after April 2015) but they are consulted. Ask your Councillor or the Town Clerk if you can make a deputation to the Council’s Planning Committee Meeting.