Horsham District Council is the planning authority for the area. Southwater Parish Council is a statutory consultee in relation to all planning applications, whether this be a small extension or a major development within the parish boundaries. Planning regulations are currently changing allowing a greater amount of permitted development (development - where permission is not required). For further information as to whether such permission is required see web site www.planningportal.gov.uk.
As a Statutory Consultee the Parish Council may make recommendations on such applications to the District Council. The District Council in turn and where a Parish Council has objected will ensure that this is referred to the relevant District Council Planning Committee. Members of the public are welcome to both the District and Parish Council planning meetings and may speak at these meetings provided that they have registered to do so.
All Parish Councillors attend regular training sessions in relation to planning law, guidance etc.
When a Parish Councillor is issued with a planning application, they are asked to make contact with the applicant, the agenda and the neighbouring properties to gauge their opinions and to look at the plans on site. There is no legal requirement for them to do so, nor is there a legal requirement for the applicant to allow the Councillor on site, although this is helpful when discussing the application. Should the Parish Councillor visit the site, then they will produce identification stating that they are indeed a Parish Councillor, this can be verified by contact the Parish Clerk's office on 01403 733202.
Parish Councillors will then complete a written report, and will then discuss this at the Parish Planning Committee at which the application is to be heard. All plans are notified to the public by way of a Meeting Agenda, and post on various notice boards (10) within the parish boundary. The Parish Council's Planning Committee normally meet either on the first/second Thursday of each month and the last Wednesday of each month with the exception being August when the Council is in recess. In August, planning applications are then delegated to the Clerk, Chairman of Council, Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Planning Committee, and it is this group who will make the recommendation, which will be ratified at the next Planning Committee in early September.
If a resident wishes to speak for or against an application, they may do so at the Parish Council's meeting as stated previously, although we would ask that they register with the Clerk's office to do so.
Once a recommendation is made, this is notified to the District Council's planning department within two working days.
If the Parish Council has an interest in a planning application, it will always declare this (when known) and make no recommendation nor comment, other than where necessary take legal steps to protects its interests in any build or land.
For further information and advice on planning related matters please contact www.planningportal.gov.uk or alternatively, www.horsham.gov.uk.