Planning applications made by your neighbours, or by developers, can affect you greatly.
Most of us in Hampstead live in one or other Conservation Areas, but this in itself does not prevent potentially damaging applications being made.
Building work next door to you, or nearby, can lead to your house or garden being overlooked, its light or view being harmed, its trees or gardens being endangered, or the appearance or character of your street being changed. Traffic or parking issues can arise, or you could be affected by undue noise, structural disturbance or obstruction during construction work.
The Planning (Development Control) system is designed to guard against many, but not all, of these matters. In Hampstead, this is the responsibility of Camden Council, and you have a right to see details of any Planning applications made – actually anywhere in the Borough, not just near you and object to them if you think they harm your interests, or the character of the area.
How can you know if any such application has been made, and how can you then make your views known?
Camden advertises all applications it receives in 4 ways:
The actual documents – drawings and forms – can be viewed on-line on Camden's planning website.
If, on examination, you think you would be adversely affected by an application – and you may need professional help in reading drawings etc to be sure about this – you should e-mail comments or objections to the Planners at www.camden.gov.uk.planning and /or by writing to:-
London Borough of Camden
Development Control Team
London WC1H 8ND
It is important to quote the application reference number (e.g. 2017/xxxx/P), and if possible the Planning Officer’s name. Both of these will be on the application information you see.
You may also like to consult and copy objections to your local Councillor. This can be helpful, although there are situations where he or she cannot intervene directly.
You may need advice on what constitutes a valid objection in Planning terms, and what does not—but whatever your views, let them be heard!
Involve your neighbours, too, if they are likely to be affected: 2 letters are better than one; 25 better still.
The Society scrutinises all planning applications in the Hampstead area and assesses them, with particular reference to their impact on our Conservation Areas; the character and appearance of our architecture, streets, trees and other urban detail; traffic and parking issues are always looked at, too. Objections are also raised if individual householders’ interests would be harmed on such issues as overlooking, intrusion, obstruction etc. The Society makes comments and objections on many applications-perhaps about a quarter of the total number submitted.
The Society regards this as one of its major responsibilities to members and the community generally.
It is unfortunately not the case that the planners will think that every objection carries weight, and that they should refuse an application. The presumption they have to make is that an applicant’s wishes have to be granted, unless they run counter to Council or National policy. These policies, and their associated guidance documents, are not as stringent, or protective of our Conservation Areas, as we would wish. Consequently many applications to which you or the Society objects are granted permission.
It's also a regrettable fact that whereas an applicant whose proposals are refused has a right to appeal, to the Planning Inspectorate, neighbours and other objectors have no third-party right of appeal.
However, this does not mean that you should be discouraged from giving your views, as robustly as you wish. Decisions can be influenced by local opinion.
If, as members of the Society,you are starting a campaign to stop or amend a planning application please contact us for further information and advice.