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Tips and Guidelines for Planning Applications in Riddlesdown - Updated 26/10/17


 Introduction

 If you want to alter or improve your home

 Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) Schedule 2, part 1 (Class A.1(ea)


 Hardstands


 Improvement or development by others

 If you don't like the proposed improvement/development

 Reasons for objecting to a planning application

 If you like the proposed improvement/development

 Some things Planners won't take into consideration for planning purposes
 so don't say


 Involvement of Riddlesdown Residents' Association (RRA):

 Why is Riddlesdown now getting applications for new flats?

 What can happen after a planning application is refused


Introduction:


Riddlesdown is now under threat from developers and owners who wish to profit from the over development of the area, from back land development and more recently, demolishing detached houses to build flats. We also abut a large area of green belt wood and farmland, which national house builder Bovis in 2016, have signed an “option agreement” with the land owner. Under current planning laws/government policy, all this agriculture and woodland is safe from development.


Croydon Council (our Local Authority) base most of their planning decisions on the “Croydon Local Plan”, Strategic Policies (CLP1) which was adopted by the Council on 22 April 2013. All planning applications will be considered by the Council against the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies, as part of the Borough Development Plan. In addition to the Croydon Local Plan: Strategic Policies (CLP1), the Mayor's London Plan, and the saved policies from Croydon's Replacement Unitary Development Plan (UDP) 2006 (The Croydon Plan) and the South London Waste Plan are also considered. The 2006 Croydon Plan is currently being updated and a new Croydon Local Plan (CLP”) is currently being reviewed. A Planning Inspector held public meetings in May 2017 and the results are currently going through the final stages of consultation, and the new Croydon Local Plan: detailed policies and proposals (CLP2) is expected to come into force, in early 2018.


Croydon Council are governed by planning laws and they take advice from their professional planners. Planning controls are used to arbitrate in these situations. Deciding to grant or refuse a particular application requires various competing needs to be weighed against each other and each case is usually based on merit. However, this must be done so that the area is not overdeveloped making Riddlesdown too urban. Generally most applications for residential dwellings in Riddlesdown are extensions to existing buildings. However, we do very occasionally come across new larger developments but we are now experiencing more applications for flats.


If you want to alter or improve your home:


The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 states that development, which includes all new buildings, building extensions, changes of use and residential conversions, requires planning permission. The Council’s SPD2 (Residential extensions and alterations) is quite a useful document to consult.


For house extensions, planning permission will not be required for many alterations and extensions to your house if they don't exceed a specified cubic capacity. However, there are limitations as to size, which vary depending on the type of house, its location and the situation of the property. For example, more stringent limitations apply within conservation areas and particular rules apply to porches. Likewise, many works within the property boundary (curtilage), such as garden sheds and detached garages are permitted, subject to limitations relating to their size and position.


Householders have over the last few years been given more leeway in building extensions without planning permission with the introduction of various General Permitted Development Orders. To give an indication of what can now be built, view an interactive guidance for householders on the Planning Portal website


Also since 30 May 2013, the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) Schedule 2, part 1 (Class A.1(ea)) secondary legislation was laid before Parliament which increased the size of single-storey rear extensions which can be built under permitted development. It also introduced a light-touch neighbour notification scheme.


For a period of six years, between 30 May 2013 and 30 May 2019, householders will be able to build larger single-storey rear extensions under permitted development. Town & Country Planning (General Permitted Development (England) Order 2015)


The size limits will double from 4 metres to 8 metres for detached houses, and from 3 metres to 6 metres for all other houses. These new larger extensions (i.e. if they extend between 4 and 8 metres, or between 3 and 6 metres) must go through the following process:


1. A homeowner wishing to build a larger single-storey rear extension must notify the local planning authority and provide:

a. a written description of the proposal which includes the length that the extension extends beyond the rear wall of the original house, the height at the eaves and the height at the highest point of the extension

b. a plan of the site, showing the proposed development

c. the addresses of any adjoining properties, including at the rear

d. a contact address for the developer (the householder) and an email address if the developer is happy to receive correspondence by email.


A plan drawn to an identified scale will assist the authority in assessing your development proposal. There is no fee in connection with this process.

2. The local authority may ask for further information if it needs it to make a decision about the impact of the development on the amenity of adjoining properties.

3. The local authority will serve a notice on adjoining owners or occupiers, i.e. those who share a boundary, including to the rear. This will give the address of the proposed development and describe it, including the information in 1(a) above. It will also set out:

a. when the application was received, and when the 42-day determination period ends

b. how long neighbours have to make objections (which must be a minimum of 21 days), and the date by which these must be received


A copy of this notice must also be sent to the developer.


4. If any adjoining neighbour raises an objection within the 21-day period, the local authority will take this into account and make a decision about whether the impact on the amenity of all adjoining properties is acceptable.

No other issues will be considered.

5. The development can go ahead if the local authority notifies the developer

in writing either:

a. that as no objections were received from adjoining neighbours it has not been necessary to consider the impact on amenity, or

b. that following consideration, it has decided that the effect on the amenity of adjoining properties is acceptable


Note: restrictions on permitted development for extensions continue to apply.


6. If the local authority does not notify the developer of its decision within the 42-day determination period, the development may go ahead.

7. If approval is refused, the developer may appeal.

8. The extension must be built in accordance with the details approved by the local authority (or, if no objections were raised or the local authority has not notified the developer of its decision, the details submitted), unless the local authority agrees any changes in writing.

9. The development must accord with all other relevant limitations and conditions which apply to other rear extensions allowed under permitted development..

These are set out in Class A, and include for example, the requirement that the extension must be constructed using materials of a similar appearance to those used in the construction of the rest of the house.

10. To benefit from these permitted development rights, the extension must be completed on or before 30 May 2016. The developer must notify the local authority in writing of the date of completion.


Further details and full guidance on these changes can be viewed on the Planning Portal website  


Hardstands


Hard surface (primarily for off road parking) situated between a wall forming the principal elevation of a house and highway that exceeds 5sq m, then the hard surface must be made of porous materials or the rainwater directed to a lawn or drain naturally. These regulations apply only to houses and not flats.


However you will NOT need planning permission if a new area, uses permeable or porous materials - Sustainable Drainage Systems (or known as SuDS), which allows water to drain through, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or earth border to drain naturally. If the surface to be covered is more than 5 sq metres, planning permission will be needed for laying traditional, impermeable materials that do not control rainwater running off onto roads. Building Regulations will not generally apply here. However you will need to make sure that any alterations do not make access to the house, any less satisfactory than it was before. So for example, changing levels to introduce steps where none existed before would be a contravention of the regulations.


If you are making a new access into the garden across the Council's footpath, then you will need to obtain permission from the Highways Department and pay their costs for a dropped kerb. In some instances, if the new dropped kerb is made onto a main principal road, then planning permission may be required. The Council have also stipulated in 2015 that a householder can no longer have more than one vehicular dropped kerbs to their property (see condition 3 on the application form). This is to minimise the loss of kerbside parking!


If you want to alter or improve your home, put up a building in the garden or build an extension, and you are not sure whether it is permitted, it is best to always check with the Planning Department first on 020 8726 6800.


Improvements or development by others:


When an application is submitted, Croydon Council will write to all immediate neighbouring properties (and directly opposite) to the proposed site, if they consider an adjacent property will be influenced by nearby development. However from August 2017, only immediately adjoining owners/occupiers will be notified by letter from the Council. They are no longer posting street notices at the front or at the rear of the site. But if there is no postal address at the rear or the side of the site they will post a street notice. If you don't receive a letter but find out about the planning application from the internet, newspaper, neighbour, the RRA or a site sign, it is still permissible to write and object if you don't like the proposed scheme.


All residential planning applications submitted to the Council in our area are listed by weekly, street name or for nearby non residential and can be viewed from our homepage. The Council will post street notices for a “major” application and write to adjoining neighbours. But we are unlikely to get “major” applications in Riddlesdown!


If you don't like the proposed improvement/development:


If you disagree with the improvement/development, write to the Planning Department expressing your reasons (see below for some valid reasons). There is a time limit for comments, usually 21 days after the date the public consultation (the date will be specified on the Council’s website), although they may accept all comments up to the date when a decision is made. However, it is better to raise your concerns sooner, rather than later.


Contact the surrounding neighbours personally, or by flyer/letter to gauge their feeling and/or to gather support. If the general attitude is to resist, then start to form a group and share the work that is involved. Contact the RRA for advice.


The more individual letters the Planning Department receives, the more notice they may take of local opinion before Officers expresses their recommendation to the Planning Committee.


However, a word of warning; Petitions are useful to show the Planners the strength of feeling but they are not always effective. Planners usually take on board the arguments being made against the application and these have the greatest weight. Say 100 people, sign a petition and make the wrong argument. This carries very little weight with the Planners, but one person proposing the right argument carries a lot more weight. It is therefore about the issues. So do your homework and once you have got the right issue(s), then the number of people becomes a factor. Make sure the arguments are clearly stated at the top of the petition.


Croydon Council have two Planning Committee’s. The “Planning Committee”, which deals with larger applications and the “Planning Sub Committee” which deals with smaller, mainly residential schemes. These meeting are usually held every 2 to 3 weeks for each committee.


Most planning applications submitted to Croydon Council are dealt with under “delegated” powers by senior Planning Officers. Usually they either grant, or refuse the application. If Officers are minded to refuse permission, then an application will not be submitted to either of the Planning Committee(s).


Under revised procedures brought in by the Council in 2017, to get an application to either of the Planning Committees, residents should note that:


Individuals


Petitions


Ward Members, Greater London Assembly Members and MP’s


Resident Associations and Conservation Area Advisory Panels


At either the Council's Planning Committee or Planning Sub Committee meeting:


The Chairperson of either of Planning Committee’s will allow only 1 objector and the referring Councillor to speak for a maximum of 3 minutes each, stating their reasons for objecting.


The applicant or their representative, can if they wish put forward their reasons for the application, again for a maximum of 3 minutes.


All parties who wish to address the committee must notify the committee clerk by 4pm on the Tuesday prior to the day of the meeting. Email or telephone should be used for this purpose. This communication should provide the name and contact details (email address and/or phone number) of the intended speaker so that changes in arrangements can be communicated.


On the night of the committee meeting, anyone who has notified the committee clerk that they wish to address the committee must register their attendance at the Town Hall with the committee clerk at least 15 minutes before the meeting starts.


Where more than one objector has registered to speak and the arrangements have not been resolved in advance, the committee clerk will inform the parties involved as they register so that they can decide either who will address the committee or how they will divide up the three minutes allocated to them. Objectors are expected to come to an agreement between themselves on this. Where objectors cannot come to an agreement, the chair will decide who will be accorded the right to speak. Preference will normally be given to those who are potentially most affected by the planning application and particularly those closest to the application site.


All those involved in public speaking are restricted to a verbal presentation only. The distribution of additional material or information to members of the committee is not permitted once the meeting starts. If a speaker, or any other member of the public, wishes to bring material to the committee’s attention they need to either supply it to officers, if it is written material, by noon on the day of committee to include in the Addendum Report (see below for procedures, limitations and deadlines) or send it direct to members before the meeting.


This is the full transcript of Croydon Council’s Planning and Planning Sub Planning Committee Procedure Rules


In 2012, the coalition Government brought in this advice National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for all Local Authorities in England and it sets out the Government’s planning policies for and how these are expected to be applied.


Reasons for objecting to a planning application:


You should include as many of the following as appropriate to the planning application (this list is not exhaustive).


1. Density:

Are the proposals in excess of the densities reflected in the adjoining properties? Are the new building(s) being crammed in across the site with a loss of spacing. Is the density out of character with the area? The coalition Government’s NPPF policy in 2012, encouraged a higher density of residential development within existing settlements than might have been considered acceptable a few years ago. This included infilling within existing residential areas. The effect of the development on the character of the neighbourhood has always been and remains, a factor which may lead to the refusal of planning permission, so you and neighbours should not hesitate to raise issues of density and possible overdevelopment of the site as well as the adverse impact which the proposed development might have on the character of the neighbourhood.


2. PTAL (Public Transport Accessibility Level) and Optimising housing potential; Linked to point No 1, Transport for London (Tfl) has a standard model which indicates a PTAL rating for all of London. The map can be found on this link and type in the address. The London Plan is also part of Croydon’s development plan, and the guidance for density is on this link (Table 3.2). Riddlesdown is mainly a “suburban” setting. These figures are for guidance only and can be exceeded by Councils. But the applicant should supply good evidence to the Planning Department to support the level of intensification proposed, especially when there is a low PTAL rating of 0.


3. Formula for establishing the density/habitable rooms in an application - Linked to points 1 and 2 above, to establish the habitable rooms to the hectare, count up all the habitable rooms in the application site. A habitable room is usually; bedroom(s), living room(s), and dining room(s). Bathrooms, kitchens, garages and utility rooms are not habitable rooms. For a flatted development, add all the habitable rooms together. Find out the site area of the application site, in sq metres or hectares. This should be on the planning application form, or in the Planning and Design and Access Statement. Then work out the hr/ha.


As an example, for a 9 flat development with 2 bedrooms and 1 living room to each flat (3 in total for each flat), would be 27 habitable rooms in total. It has a site area of 962 sq metres.


9 flats x 3 = 27 habitable rooms (hr)

962 sq m = 0.0962 hectares (ha)

1 / 0.0962 = 10.395

27 hr x 10.395 = 280.66 hr/ha in total. Rounded up to 281 habitable rooms/hectare.


Look up the Transport for London map and type in the address, for the PTAL rating. Then look up the density guidelines in the London Plan for the PTAL rated area. Most of Riddlesdown is rated between 0 and 2. So take an example of a PTAL of 1. The guide says for suburban it is between 150 - 200 hr/ha. So 281 hr/ha would be well above the guidelines. These figures are not fixed and Croydon Council treat them as being flexible. However the applicant does need to justify the reasons for an increased figure of habitable rooms. It is not essential to submit this information, as the Planning Officer will need to establish the density of the site themselves.

4. Bulk, scale and massing:

Will there be loss of character in the area that affects the street scene with the proposed development. If the application is for flats and there are mainly houses in the close proximity, then say so. The Council's own planning policy (H5- 2006 Plan) says that 'residential development on back garden and back land sites will only be permitted where it respects the character and protects the amenity of adjoining residential areas. The form, layout and site area should respect the existing character'.


5. Parking facilities on the site or on public roads and effect on through traffic:

The development may have insufficient consideration for the number of cars that will be parked at the site or use the public highways. There are detailed rules for calculating the minimum number of parking places and access onto public roads. Although the Council's own Planning Car Parking Standards say developers should allow a maximum of 2 spaces for detached and linked houses, 1.5 spaces for terraced houses and flats and 1 space for flats, this criteria is not always met and approvals are sometimes given with less parking. Is there visitor and delivery parking ? On traffic flows and highway parking and highway safety, the Council will consult their own Highways Engineers, so any objections here need to be detailed and carefully worded and if necessary photographs/detailed surveys supplied, to back up your argument.


6. Trees:

A dim view is taken with loss of trees especially mature ones. This includes the consideration of earthworks during the construction. This is usually unacceptable in an area such as Riddlesdown where trees are a major feature in the landscape and should be retained where possible. Some trees on the site may already have Tree Preservation Orders (TPO's) on them. Check with the Planning Department (Tree Section) to see if this is the case.


7. Will you be overlooked (from windows/balconies etc) and have a loss of privacy?

If the development is large or inappropriate with windows/balconies/patios that may overlook adjacent property owners, with a subsequent significant loss of privacy, then say so.


8. Wildlife:

Riddlesdown has much wildlife including many bird, fox, deer, bat, dormouse and badger populations and it is crucial to retain this invaluable habitat that is essential to the survival of wildlife.

9. Loss of light and overshadowing:

Will the new building take any prescriptive rights of light from any existing doors and windows, particularly to habitable rooms. Will there be extensive loss of sunlight to habitable rooms. If so, say so.


10. Noise and disturbance:

If the application is for a commercial change of use and is next to or close to existing residential dwellings then highlight the possible noise disturbance from the trade use and the additional traffic movement that might take place. Indicate any possible smells that may emanate from the proposed site/application. Note: the Planning Department cannot take into account, the noise or nuisance or disturbance that the building work will cause.


11. Loss of view:

A fair number of buildings in Riddlesdown are built on slopes. One point which could be relevant in planning terms, is the loss of a view. It has been said that “there is no right to a view”. Whilst that is correct in legal terms, it does not mean that the loss of a view is necessarily irrelevant to planning. The enjoyment of a view could be an important part of the residential amenity of a neighbouring property or properties, and its loss might therefore have an adverse impact on the residential amenity of that property or properties. Loss of a view from a public viewpoint might also have a wider impact on a neighbourhood, and such matters ought to be taken into account when they are raised, although the decision can often be at the discretion of the Planning Officer. There is no hard and fast or legal rule here.


12. Croydon Council’s and Government Planning Policies:

And finally, study the Council’s “Croydon Plan” and Government planning policy on the Planning portal website (the links are above in the Introduction). Try and ensure that the proposed development submitted, complies with those policies. If you don’t think it does, then say so.


If you like the proposed improvement/development:


If the proposed development is acceptable then either support it by writing to the Council's Planning Department, or make a comment on line via the Council's Planning page website, or do nothing.

Some things Planners won't take into consideration for planning purposes, so don't say:


1. “I don't like the look of the proposed building or structure” - give your reasons from some as outlined above.

2. “It will depreciate the value of my property” - Planners are not concerned with the monetary value of any proposed development or the effect on existing dwellings as this doesn't come within planning laws. So don't bother mentioning it.

3. “There have been repeated planning applications on the site” – an applicant/owner can make as make applications as they like and multiple applications are quite common. In some respects developers try to 'grind down' local residents', who object to their scheme(s).

4. “The development is purely for financial gain and the dwellings might remain un-sold” - again this is not a planning consideration.


5.  “I don’t like the applicant or business”, (unless a previous complaint about noise has been made to the Council). The Planners will also not consider any racial or ethnic origin of the applicant, religious, political, or any other personal vendetta against the applicant, so don’t both mentioning it.


Some other tips from Croydon Council’s website - How to comment on a planning application


Involvement of Riddlesdown Residents' Association  (RRA):


The RRA review the planning application, and decision list weekly so the chances are, we will have picked up the planning application and posted it on this website.

Weekly Planning List

Streets A- L

Streets M- Z


It is normally the RRA's policy NOT to intervene in disputes between neighbours, or to raise objections to the Council, regarding each and every residential application, unless the Committee consider it will have a detrimental effect on the neighbourhood. This is usually left for adjoining residents to make comments to the Planning Department. However, we are contacted, on a number of occasions by residents asking us to intervene in disputes regarding planning, boundary walls and hedges. We normally refuse this request, as it should be something that neighbours should discuss between themselves. We do NOT give advice to third parties about house purchases and/or associated planning applications.


We only intervene if the RRA Committee considers it is in the best interests of many residents in the locality. If you are thinking of extending your property or erecting a new structure within your garden, then please do discuss and talk it through with your neighbour, as discussions at an early stage can alleviate many problems and the ill feeling that can subsequently develop.


It is the mandate of the RRA, to maintain a watching brief and to ensure that any development merges with, or is complementary to, existing housing or surrounding areas.


If it is a major development or a telecommunications mast, the RRA Committee will consider the application and if necessary write/e-mail the Council on behalf of residents, particularly if the occupiers of surrounding properties have contacted us. In some instances we will involve the Ward Councillors (both Purley and Sanderstead Wards cover our area) to obtain their support.


Why is Riddlesdown now getting applications for new flats?

So why is Riddlesdown (and other areas in the south of the Borough) suddenly getting all these planning applications to demolish detached houses and build new flats? The reason is probably that the coalition Government (Minister; Greg Clarke) changed the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012.

It was stated by him then, “our reforms to planning policy have three fundamental objectives:


The NPPF sets out a presumption in favour of sustainable development, requiring that development which accords with an up-to-date Local Plan should be approved without delay. Croydon has a Local Plan and a new Plan is currently being considered by the Planning Inspector/Council. The intention of that Government was to make more housing affordable for most, especially the younger generation. This is usually done, by building flats. There is also more profits in flats for developers rather than small houses on the same site.

The coalition Government also wanted to simplify and speed up the planning process. It was also made clear by the Minister at that time that relevant policies - such as those protecting the Green Belt, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National Parks and other areas - cannot be overridden by the presumption. So the Green Belt land in our area should be safe.

In addition the Government, in February 2017 also published a white paper on Housing (fixing our broken housing market) and their determination to build more homes. The Prime Minister Theresa May stated “I want to fix this broken market so that housing is more affordable and people have the security they need to plan for the future.” For private developers, the Government is offering a planning framework that is more supportive of higher levels of development, with quicker and more effective processing and determination of planning applications, and is exploring an improved approach to developer contributions. Croydon’s Planning Department have also gone along with this Government policy, which basically goes along with the basis of the current Croydon Plan.

In Riddlesdown, the RRA believe there is an inevitability that there will be more re-development of detached houses for flats, which is as much down to market forces in London as it is to Government planning policy. In fact, the former is definitely driving the latter!

We also probably have to accept that the growing population means that more homes are needed, but this needs to be done in an appropriate way which doesn't have a detrimental impact on the residential environment. Central Government and Local Authorities must also ensure that all the necessary infrastructure is in place to accommodate this additional population growth. Unfortunately the Government is part of the problem in that it sets challenging objectives but then doesn’t provide Councils with the tools, or advice on how to build sustainable homes. But equally, when the RRA and residents make valid objections, a good planning authority should address these concerns when considering this type of housing applications!


What can happen after a planning application is refused

For the Applicant

Sometimes if Croydon Council refuse a planning application, the applicant or his/her agent have the right of appeal to the Planning Inspector. This appeal normally has to be lodged within 6 months of the Council's decision date. Unfortunately there is no right of appeal for adjoining owner(s), if they disagree with the Council's decision in granting approval to a scheme.


The Planning Inspector (based in Bristol) appointed by the Government's Secretary of State, can then decide how the appeal will be heard. In most cases this will be in writing with the Council submitting all the paperwork to the Planning Inspector. If it is a large development then the Planning Inspector may call a Local Public Inquiry normally held in the Croydon Town Hall and this can last a few days or a number of weeks.


If you are not the Applicant

Currently there are no third party rights of appeal through the planning system against a decision of a Local Planning Authority. Therefore, if you have concerns about a planning application and permission is granted, you cannot appeal that decision. Any challenge under current legislation would have to be made outside the planning system through a process called Judicial Review (JR).


A ‘claim for judicial review’ includes a claim to review the lawfulness of a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function, in this case, a planning decision. The court’s permission to proceed is required in a claim for Judicial Review. A claim for Judicial Review is dealt with by the Administrative Court and if leave to judicially review a planning decision is granted, the Judicial Review will be decided by a judge at the High Court. Since July 2013, an application to Judicial Review a decision must be made within 6 weeks of the decision about which you have a grievance being made.


Leave to proceed with a Judicial Review will not be granted by the Court unless there is evidence that a legal mistake has been made – this might include, for example, that the Local Authority failed to take into account opinions put forward (this does not mean that the Council has to agree with them), that the procedure in dealing with the application was flawed, that a Councillor failed to declare an interest, etc. A Judicial Review will not succeed if it is based solely on a difference of opinion with the decision that has been made. You will also need to show that you have a clear interest in the decision that has been made.


If you think that you may wish to pursue a Judicial Review it is strongly advised that you seek your own legal advice as soon as possible after the decision (about which you are aggrieved) has been made.


For further information on judicial review and the contact details for the Administrative Courts, then go to; http://www.justice.gov.uk/


In some instances, some planning appeals can be “recovered” by the Secretary of State, even where the Planning Inspector has “dismissed” the appeal. This means that the Secretary of State, rather than a Planning Inspector, will rule on them and make the final decision. This is usually only done in cases where the development is of strategic importance, has significant implications for national policy or raises novel issues.


The Secretary of State can sometimes “Call In” an application after a Local Authority has approved it. However, this is very rare occurrence and is usually only for “major” schemes. This happened in 2017, for the 16 storey development in Purley town centre which has been “Called In”. A Planning Inspector is due to hold a Public Inquiry in 2018.




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