Planning Applications

How Planning Applications for Ashurst Wood are determined

All applications for planning permission must be submitted to Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC), which is our local planning authority. MSDC consults with a number of bodies, including the Village Council, and with neighbouring residents. Any member of the public can make representations to MSDC about a planning application.
MSDC’s planning officers determine the majority of applications. Larger or more contentious applications will be sent to its Planning Committee.

In making its decision on an application, MSDC will consider all representations received; but can only take account of material planning considerations.

Material planning considerations include:
• The National Planning Policy Framework and Government Planning Policy Guidance
• The Mid Sussex District Plan and supplementary planning documents
• A Neighbourhood Plan that has been through a Referendum and is ‘made’.
The Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan has been ‘made’ and carries full
legal weight
• Overshadowing or loss of outlook – but not loss of or change of a view
• Overlooking and loss of privacy
• Visual character of the area and need to protect high Weald Area of
Outstanding Natural Beauty
• Highway issues, including access and highway safety – the local highways
authority will be consulted and its advice will usually be followed by MSDC
• Noise or disturbance resulting from the proposed use
• Effect on trees, nature conservation or biodiversity
• Design and appearance of proposal

Matters that are not classed as material planning considerations include:
• Matters relating to Building Regulations
• Private issues between neighbours, such as boundary disputes or private
access rights
• Disruption during building works – although planning conditions can be used to mitigate the impact of the construction period
• Concerns about property values
• Loss of a private view
• Motives, financial or otherwise, of the applicant

The Ashurst Wood Neighbourhood Plan (pdf) was formally ‘made’ on the 29th June 2016 and now forms part of the local development plan, together with the Mid Sussex District Plan

Where a planning application conflicts with policies in the Neighbourhood Plan, permission should not normally be granted. However, if the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan conflict with policies on the District Plan, then the District Plan’s policies will prevail as it is the most recent Plan.

The Village Council’s Role in deciding Planning Applications

The Village Council receives notification of all planning applications and makes a recommendation to MSDC as to how it considers applications should be decided. The recommendation is based on the Village Council’s local knowledge and perspective and on material planning considerations.

The Village Council holds regular Planning Committee meetings to consider
planning applications sent to it by MSDC. Applicants and objectors are always welcome to attend the Committee meetings and make representations during the period set aside for public participation at the start of the meeting. Members of the public are welcome to stay and observe the Council’s deliberations, but may not take part in them.

Representations about any planning application may be made at Planning Committee meetings or by letter or email to the Village Council or Mid Sussex District Council. Please note that correspondence must include a name and address as anonymous letters cannot be considered.

The Planning Committee takes account of all representations made, but must base its recommendation on relevant planning considerations. Inevitably there will be occasions when applicants or objectors disagree with the Committee’s recommendations. MSDC does not always follow the Village Council’s recommendation.

It is important that Councillors do not predetermine any application before they have had the chance to see all the application documents and before they have discussed the issues at a Planning Committee meeting. Until then, they can discuss the matter in general terms and comment on any potential relevant issues, but must be seen to approach the deliberations at the Committee with an open mind. Councillors who have expressed a firm view one way or the other before the Committee meeting might have to declare an interest and not take part in the meeting, although they could still send their own individual representations to MSDC.

Discussions and Consultations about planning Proposals

MSDC, as local planning authority, gives pre-application advice about potential applications. This includes advice about the policies and material considerations against which a proposal will be judged, what sort of information will need to be provided, and preliminary views about whether a particular scheme might be suitable. This can help ‘weed out’ unsuitable applications or ensure that applications don’t have to be sent back as they are incomplete.

The District Council’s website offers lots of useful guidance, or call for further information 01444 477566 .
Building Control assist in the building process to meet the minimum standards set out in the Building Regulations and to safeguard the community from bad building practice.  Telephone 01444 477570.
The Planning Portal website can help you ascertain whether a project needs planing permission.

For more local information, applicants may request a pre-planning meeting with the Village Council. Pre-application guidance for Councillors and Developers (pdf)
Members of the Village Council are not professional planners, but are occasionally asked to discuss informally a proposed or submitted application, or an objection to an application. In such cases, it is always made clear that, while Councillors are happy to listen to what the person has to say and will point out any issues they consider might be relevant, they cannot and will not discuss the merits or otherwise of the matter until the Council’s Planning Committee meeting.

Developers wishing to build residential developments of 10 units or more must submit with their application a Statement of Community Involvement. This must demonstrate that the views of the community have been sought and taken into account and should include reports of discussions with the local Council and feedback received from public exhibitions and advertising.

How to comment on a planning application (MSDC website)
Campaign to Protect Rural England – How to respond to planning applications (pdf)

National Planning Policy Framework, July 2018
Planning Practice Guidance