Haddington and District community council have a statutory right to be consulted on applications for planning permission and the community council has a special role, representing a broader yet still local view which can be set alongside the comments of those with more individual interest. HDCC is one of many bodies involved in the planning process and do not have final say on any planning applications being approved.
Haddington and District community council have appointed two people to liaise on planning matters, one person as the primary point of contact for the planning authority on all planning matters, and another person to provide cover and assist where needed.
Our appointed planning liaisons check the Planning applications from the East Lothian council every month before each meeting and submit any major planning applications for discussion at those meetings.
As part of their commitment to the effective and efficient operation of the consultation arrangements, East Lothian Council occasionally provides training sessions for community councillors. This helps us to make informed comments and gain a better understanding of how the planning system works. We also have the option to co-opt planning specialists or external help when looking at complex planning applications.
There are 2 main methods of consultation,
First is the Pre-Application Consultation (PAC) this is for communities to be better informed about major and national development proposals and to have an opportunity to contribute their views before a formal planning application is submitted to the planning authority. This helps to: improve the quality of planning applications; mitigate negative impacts where possible; address misunderstandings, and to air and to address where practicable any community issues.
Secondly is studying the Planning applications (also known as the Weekly Lists) which allows us to view particular applications in detail. we then have the right to request formal consultation within 7 working days of the issuing date of the weekly list.
Haddington and District Community council will not expect to be consulted on minor applications or when there are changes made to applications either while they are being considered or after they have been approved. These ‘non-material’ amendments and variations carry no statutory provision for consultation. But where an application is to be amended in any material or substantial way, it will normally be submitted afresh and a new opportunity for consultation will arise.
After the PAC, and once a planning application has been submitted to East Lothian Council, HDCC will ensure that any representations we wish to make on the proposal are submitted to ELC as part of the process of considering the planning application. Under planning legislation, there are certain timescales within which a planning authority cannot make a decision on a planning application. These are either 14 or 21 days from the date of notification or advertisement, depending on the particular circumstances of the proposal. If there is a consultation laid on by the Local Authority HDCC will advertise this on Social media and other outlets although this is rare.
Haddington and District Community Council meet monthly and have a dedicated agenda item to discuss any Licencing and Planning applications of note. We will take into account any community, personal or group representations made to us on a particular application bearing in mind the Material and Non-material conditions. If a planning application is made and to be decided between these monthly meetings HDCC members will discuss and make any comments necessary. We will of course mention this and the outcome of the discussions at the next meeting do it is minuted and documented.
- Material Conditions such as appearance, increased traffic, parking and access problems, change of use, Residential amenity (noise, overshadowing, overlooking, developing too much garden space) the effect on Listed Buildings and the Town Conservation Area.
- Non_Material Conditions such as loss of a private view over someone else’s property, Loss of the value of your property, competition amongst shopkeepers, construction disruption are often considered but these shouldn’t influence the Local Authorities decision on the application.
It is important that we as a community council only consider bringing forward representations that are based on material planning considerations only.
Haddington and District Community Council will always seek the local views on any planning matters, whether this is verbally or written. Our community councillors are all approachable for comment and you can always contact us with your views on each planning matter. We will consider these views as part of our formal representations to the East Lothian Council planning authority.
An individual representation to the Haddington and District community council is not a formal representation to the East Lothian Council Planning department. we also cannot accept or present any petitions on planning applications.
We highly encourage anyone to lodge any comments directly with East Lothian Council as well as your personal view may differ from the publicly agreed views reached by the Community Council and it is important that the planning authority get all views on each application.
East Lothian Council will not consider verbal comments on applications, so if you want to make representations on an application, you must do it in writing. The usual ways of making representations are by letter, petition, email or on their website East Lothian Council Planning Site.
You should note that any comments you make will not be kept confidential: anyone will be able to see your letter of representation. Anonymous letters of representation will not be considered. Petitions although useful in making the authority aware of the community sentiment may be regarded as a single objection by planning officials regardless of the number of signatures gathered.
There are various ways you can get help in understanding the planning process and making your views known about an application. For general advice on the planning process, you should contact East Lothian Council.
Free advice on planning matters, you might also wish to consider contacting Planning Aid for Scotland (0131 220 9730). This organisation is staffed by planners but is independent of your council. Planning Aid has a website, at www.planning-aid-scotland.org.uk