Coronavirus (Covid-19): important information about changes to our service
Following the recent government announcement in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, we are having to deliver some of our services differently. The Planning and Development service is continuing to operate as effectively as it can in these circumstances, but we will need to make some changes to how we work.
About Development Management
Development Management deals with processing planning applications in Trafford, taking into account borough policies and briefs, expert advice (from conservation and design officers, transport planners, etc.), government guidance and the individual merits of each scheme, in order to manage development in the public interest.
How do I find out what is planned in the Borough?
The Council produces a long term plan for the borough called the Local Plan which sets out Policies and proposals for how land is to be used and developed in the Trafford area over the next 15 to 20 years. The Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 introduced a new system for the preparation of spatial development plans across the country. This is known as the Local Development Framework.
Most new buildings and new uses of land, both from private individuals, companies and the Council require planning permission. A weekly list of received applications is available to view, and you can search the planning register through the Planning Explorer website or view the planning register as a map.
The list of applications received tells you what development from small house extensions to large supermarkets is planned for the borough.
As a resident of Trafford you are affected by any new development in your area, to a greater or lesser extent. You could be:
- The applicant (homeowner, business or developer who wants to carry out development).
- An eventual user of the development (customer, employee, occupier etc).
- A neighbour who feels that your property/ life will be affected.
- A member of a group with an interest in particular parts of Trafford or particular issues throughout Trafford.
Whatever your role, you'll want to know what development is planned for the future or is already in the pipeline and how you can get involved in the decision-making process.
How does the Council decide whether to give planning permission?
More than 1,500 planning applications are submitted to the Council each year ranging from small house extensions to major employment and shopping schemes.
When we get an application for planning permission we:
- Consult organisations such as the Highway Authority and the Environment Agency.
- Tell neighbours by letter and other publicity (giving you three weeks to comment).
- Visit the site to assess the implications of the development.
- Test the proposal against the policies in the Borough's Local Plan and documents within the Local Development Framework.
- Take into account other things, including the responses from neighbours and others.
- Take into account various planning constraints.
- Issue decision notices either approving the development subject to conditions or refusing it for planning reasons.
If the application is for a large and possibly controversial development, the Planning Development Management Committee will make the decision. Its members, elected Councillors, have the often difficult task of deciding whether development should proceed in the face of competing views from applicants, consultees and residents.
The Council believes that the process by which such decisions are made should be:
- Accessible to all the people of Trafford
- Transparent and democratically accountable
How can I influence the planning decision?
- Speak to the Planning officer dealing with the application who will advise you and take your views into account when making a recommendation on the application.
- Attend special Area boards when presentations on major development proposals are made.
- Write to the Chief Planning Officer who will take your views into account when making recommendations to the Planning Development Management Committee
- Ask your local councillors if they will write to Planning or "call in" the application for consideration by the committee. Planning and building control can let you have the names of your ward councillors
- Speak (by prior arrangement) yourself at the Committee if the application which concerns you is one of the larger and more controversial ones considered by the Committee
Why does the Council propose so much development in the Borough?
In the vast majority of cases it is individuals and private companies who propose new development, not the Council.
The Council's job is to set development policy in Trafford and then to decide whether to grant permission after taking into account that policy, as well as often opposing views from the community on the merits of the proposal.
The Council's policies are contained within a Unitary Development Plan, the Local Development Framework and in Planning guidelines.
Why are Development Proposals kept secret?
When a Planning Application is submitted to the Council, it becomes a public document open to all people to look at. The Council notifies neighbours of proposed development (we send out about 25,000 letters each year direct to neighbouring residents) and for larger proposals carry out wider publicity in the form of site notices, newspaper advertisements and special Area Board presentations and meetings. A list of planning applications received is available for download.
The Council takes account of the views expressed in coming to a decision and you can address the Committee on the larger and controversial applications which come before it, a procedure not offered by all Councils.
However, the Council must decide applications in the context of Government Guidance the Unitary Development Plan and it's own planning guidance. It cannot refuse an application simply because a large number of objections have been made, unless the objections are on strong planning grounds. If the Council took such action, it could face costs at a subsequent appeal.
A common issue relates to individuals private rights such as a right of way/a covenant on the land/their boundary/devaluation of property and whether the council can refuse permission because the development affects these rights.
The Council cannot take such matters into account when deciding an application or become involved in resolving such legal disputes. These are private or civil matters and granting planning or building regulation permission will not override your (or your neighbour's) legal rights in this respect. But you should consult a solicitor if you think that your private rights will be affected.
Planning service performance
In order to ensure that our service is delivering on time and effectively, we closely monitor our performance in key areas of our work. This includes, for planning applications, measuring our performance against national targets and the number of appeals dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.