Listed buildings, conservation areas and planning

Planning decisions are a matter of balance, weighing up the positive benefits of a proposal against any negative consequences – called “the planning balance”.

Until a couple of years ago, there was a tendency to give insufficient weight to heritage and conservation assets in judging this balance. This was despite the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Section 66 of the Act[i] says:

In considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority or, as the case may be, the Secretary of State shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses. Continue reading “Listed buildings, conservation areas and planning”

On birds and trees, planning and police – when can developers chop down trees?

Update May 2016

PC David Hart, mentioned below, is no longer a member of the West Mercia Wildlife Unit. See the West Mercia police website for the latest Shropshire contact.

Main article 25 May 2015

When can developers chop down trees? The short answer is anytime. Unless they disturb nesting birds, fall foul of Tree Preservation Orders or the work is extensive enough to require a licence from the Forestry Commission.

This article is about disturbing birds. It follows two recent incidences of tree cutting on developments in Ludlow during the nesting season. I am making no suggestion that birds or their nests have been harmed during these operations but I thought it would be useful to clarify what the rules are. I can’t comment on specific cases until I get further information from officers.

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Commenting on planning applications

I thought it might be useful to add a note about making comments on planning applications for housing and other developments.

Formally, there are 21 days to object or support from notification of an application. In practice, Shropshire Council, like most other councils, will accept comments up until shortly before the application is decided. Often it takes months for an application to progress through the system and developers frequently submit revised plans and specialist reports late in the day. The officer report recommending approval or rejection is published one week before the planning committee meets. New objections might arise from the report and residents and other parties can submit supplementary comments.

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