Public consultation and the Planning and Licensing Committee
Most major planning applications submitted to Nottinghamshire County Council are considered by the Planning and Licensing Committee. Meetings are held every six weeks at County Hall in West Bridgford.
Decisions are considered impartially by the committee of 13 Councillors using the information presented by council officers from the Planning team. The Planning and Licensing Committee acts in a quasi-judicial capacity. This means it makes decisions on an impartial basis taking into account the relevant facts and applicable law.
In the event where there is no majority vote, the Chair of the Planning and Licensing Committee, Councillor Chris Barnfather, has the casting vote to decide the outcome of a planning application.
Members of the Committee are selected by the County Council’s different political groups. Membership reflects the number of ward seats each party has across the county. View the current membership of the Planning Committee.
The County Council wants to make sure that communities affected by any proposals for shale gas development are given the opportunity to respond with their comments.
Any application for shale gas development is subject to a statutory three week consultation period although the County Council may agree to extend this to help maximise public feedback.
Planning applications are publicised in a number of different ways including:
- sending letters to people who live near the site informing them about the application and how to make comment
- involving local district, town and parish councils
- erecting site notices
- public notices in the local media
- updating information held on the County Council’s website.
How to comment on a planning application
The County Council encourages people to submit their views in writing about any planning applications that might affect them by writing to people who live close by and advertising the application by site and press notices.
It’s easy to register comments about a planning application. You can do this in a number of different ways:
Online: by viewing the current list of applications.
Nottinghamshire County Council
Always include your name and address to validate the views expressed.
The County Council will take comments into account that address the criteria used to determine planning applications for shale gas development. These include comments about:
- whether the proposal is an acceptable use of the site
- the visual impact of a new building or structure (location, size, and appearance) on the local area and on the wider landscape (including designated landscapes)
- the impact on neighbours and the surrounding area resulting from overshadowing, overlooking, loss of privacy, and disturbance caused by noise and lighting
- the impact on the local environment including water resources, dust and air quality
- whether new roadways, accesses, and parking are adequate and the impact on highway capacity and road safety
- the impact on the rights of way network
- the impact on historic environment, including archaeological and heritage sites or features
- the impact on ecology and biodiversity, including designated wildlife sites, and protected habitats and species
- the risk of contamination to land and impact on soil resources
- the risk of flooding
- land stability and subsidence
- site restoration and aftercare and
- consistency with national and local planning policies.
The County Council cannot take into account issues that are not legitimate considerations of the planning process. This includes:
- the number of letters or petitions received about an application as a reason to refuse permission
- the demand for, or alternatives to, onshore oil and gas resources
- emissions, control processes, or health and safety issues that are matters to be addressed under other regulatory regimes
- loss of views
- boundary and other disputes between neighbours, for example, private rights of way or covenants; or
- loss of property value.
Speaking about an application at the Planning and Licensing Committee meeting
To speak at a meeting, you must have provided a written submission about the planning application as part of the pubic consultation. This can be in support of or in objection to the application.
You must confirm if you would like to speak at a committee meeting by 4pm, two clear working days before the meeting date by completing the registration form. For example if the committee is held on a Tuesday, speakers must register by 4pm on the preceding Thursday. Recipients of a neighbour notification letter may also return apply to register by returning the tear-off slip.
For each application, up to three speakers are entitled speak in opposition, and up to three in support. These speakers are chosen on a first come, first served basis. Early registration of a request to speak is therefore encouraged.
Where a group of representatives wish to speak, it is recommended that they nominate a spokesperson to address the Committee on their behalf and that person registers their wish to speak as soon as possible.
Each individual has a maximum of three minutes to speak at the planning committee meeting.
What happens if planning permission is refused?
If a planning application is refused by the County Council, it has to give valid planning reasons why it has done so. The applicant has the right to appeal the decision and a Planning Inspector is appointed by the Government to decide whether permission should be granted.
If an appellant considers that the County Council has acted unreasonably, e.g. that there is insufficient evidence to support a reason for refusal, they can also seek to recover the costs of the appeal; the Inspector would determine whether costs should be awarded against the County Council.
Who can appeal against a decision made?
Only the applicant has a right of appeal. Therefore, if an application is refused permission, the applicant can lodge an appeal but if a third party objects to a planning application and it gets approved, they do not have a right of appeal.
Objectors may challenge a decision to approve a planning application by seeking to have the decision judicially reviewed. However, this can only relate to a ‘point of law’ and is a costly process. Parties are strongly advised to seek legal advice in the first instance. A legal challenge must be made within six weeks of the decision.