Community Right of Appeal
A community right of appeal
This would strengthen community involvement in local planning by introducing a community right of appeal against decisions which conflict with local objectives for development. It would be a new legal right that could be exercised by a parish councils or, where they don’t exist, by a formally constituted neighbourhood forum against planning decisions which conflict with an emerging or adopted neighbourhood or local plan. It is anticipated that the right would not be used widely but would act as a backstop to avoid perverse outcomes and give local communities greater confidence that planning decisions will be in line with local objectives.
There are three key practical dimensions to determine:
- The time limit. In order to stop the Community Right of Appeal acting as a brake on development the time limit should be as short as possible, even as short as one month and maybe no more than six months
- The geographical scope of petitions. There is a balance to be struck between considering the view of the community at large and recognising those living in the immediate area.
- Restricting to situations were a Local Planning Authority had departed from their own strategic policies i.e. Local Plan/Neighbourhood Plan or where it could be demonstrated that the consent was contrary to the National Planning Policy Framework. By restricting the grounds of appeal in this way we believe it would cut out the majority of frivolous or "spoiling" appeals which we know the Government regard as a barrier to CRA becoming policy.
It could benefit the town and parish councils and neighbourhood forums in unparished areas. It would be of particular benefit to those that have embarked on the preparation of a neighbourhood plan: one of the more forward looking aspects of the government’s recent planning reforms.
A community right of appeal, appropriately defined, will help to give people greater confidence that their involvement in the planning system is worthwhile, by encouraging development in line with locally defined objectives. Experience shows that such an approach need not be anti-development but can help get the right kind of development in the right place. There will always be a need for local areas to accommodate major infrastructure in the national interest, but the starting point for better decisions on major development should be more community involvement in the hundreds of thousands of planning applications for smaller scale development that incrementally shape the places we live in.
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