The Neighbourhood Plan is submitted to Blaby District Council
By Cllr. Roy Denney
Chairman Neighbourhood Steering Group
The final tidied-up version was approved by Glenfield Parish Council in June and formally presented to Blaby.
The District Council now check it against the policies of higher authorities and unless there is something found incorrect, it will then be the subject of a further consultation organised by Blaby itself and then there is still to be a submission to an inspector and a formal referendum.
You may think this is bureaucracy gone mad and I don’t think I need to comment any further but we are one step closer to having some influence over our own affairs as far as planning goes
The plan can be inspected on request at the Parish Offices or online but it runs in total to 250 pages
As I am a long-standing member of the planning committee at Blaby and the prime mover in creating this plan, I will of course have to step off the committee when this one comes before it. Councillor Nick Chapman also provided local knowledge in the production of this plan and sat in on many of the meetings with our consultants so he has a similar problem in that he is Vice Chairman of Planning at Blaby
Despite neither of us likely to be able to vote for this plan I am happy that it will stand up to scrutiny and be accepted by our colleagues
I often get asked about planning matters and residents are often upset by decisions, but the room to be flexible is very limited and there is a presumption that applications will be approved unless they fall down on a narrow range of issues. Sometimes a case will fall foul of one policy but be okay under another, as there are situations where local policies conflict with each other. In those cases, it is down to us on the planning committee to balance all the considerations before deciding. Our officers always advise as to whether to approve or not, but we not infrequently disagree with their view and on balance decide not to follow their advice.
The rules are complex but there are a few basic tenets which might help you form opinions. We cannot take into account matters which are sometimes raised but are not planning issues, like the perceived loss of property value, ownerships, potential loss of trade or increased competition or the strength or volume of local opposition, loss of a view or opinions about the applicant. Petitions cannot.
We can though weigh everything from a remarkable wide range of issues all of a similar nature. For example, loss of light or overshadowing, loss of privacy, adequacy of road access/parking/loading/turning/waste collection, highway safety and traffic generation, noise and bad smells and disturbance resulting from use, contaminated land, destruction of trees, effect on listed buildings, conservation area or archaeological interests, layout and density of buildings, design, appearance and materials, landscaping, local, strategic, regional and national planning policies, nature conservation and biodiversity issues.
Then there are issues which are not necessarily material considerations such as disturbance during the construction stages. We cannot turn things down for that reason but if other considerations are finely balanced such matters might tip the balance and one thing we can do is approve, with conditions attached about such matters
As you see it is complex and where there is a neighbourhood plan in place, we also have to consider that. From a resident’s point of view though it does mean having a Plan might just tip the balance your way.