Forum Topic

Failure to Display Public Notice on Planning Application

Ever since Ealing Planning Department stopped sending out Notification Letters giving 21 days in which to respond to planning applications nearby, the system of putting up the yellow Public Notices on lampposts has been less than perfect.Disregarding instances where developers have likely pulled them down, the Planning Department itself has not always acted sensibly to ensure that affected neighbours know what it being proposed at close proximity.In a case in Rotherwick Hill (part of the Haymills Estate in Ealing W5), an unneighbourly play tower & platform was erected without planning permission.  Eventually, planning applications were made but the Council did not put up any Notices in the road where the adjoining back garden of an Ashbourne Close neighbour would be badly affected and where the neighbour had previously complained about the unauthorised structure overlooking their garden.Because no yellow Public Notice was put up in Ashbourne Close, the most affected neighbour was unaware of the latest application and therefore did not write in within the usual 21 days - only finding out that an Appeal to The Planning Inspectorate (PINS) had been lodged months later.   Because the neighbour had not filed an objection at first instance, the rules did not allow her to respond to the Appeal!The writer contacted PINS to explain the situation which was made worse as the Appellant's Planning Consultants were stressing that the neighbour had not objected at first instance and therefore there was no problem!PINS however were not satisfied that natural justice was being observed and ruled that the affected neighbour should be allowed to make her objections.The Appeal was dismissed by PINS yesterday  - please see at:https://www.dropbox.com/preview/AppealDecisionDismissedByPINS.13thMay2021.pdf?role=personalThis result vindicates the objection of the neighbour in Ashbourne Close - the road in which the Planning Department failed to put up a Public Notice!V.Mishiku  - "The Covenant Movement" vmfree@madasafish.com

Victor Mishiku ● 124d20 Comments

I originally referred to the absence of Public Notices informing adjoining residents of planning applications very close by and gave an example of a case on the Haymills Estate in Ealing W5 where a development affecting neighbours in Ashbourne Close to the rear was not publicised and which nearly deprived them of their right to make representations to The Planning Inspectorate when the case went further.Now another disturbing issue has arisen.  This is the contentious matter of developers seeking "pre-application advice" before submitting their applications to the Council.I have been informed of several cases involving the same Planning Agent (of Chalkline) where the Planning Application Form has either not been completed properly or if it ever was, the details have been hidden by the Planning Department as relate to "pre-application advice".Under planning law, there is a requirement for the Council to maintain a Public Register of Planning Application documents.  The 2015 legislation provides full details - The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.  Application Forms must be truthfully completed including details of Ownership of the land to which the application relates.In a very recent case at 98 Gordon Road, Ealing W13 (which has already lost part of its grounds to new development), the Planning Application Form enquires in section 36 of the form: "Pre-application Advice - Has assistance or prior advice been sought from the local authority about this application?"  The answer states "yes".  The next questions ask for the title & full name of the Officer giving such advice; the date, reference and details of the advice received.  In the Gordon Road case, the Application Form is missing all details bar the date and the word "Miss" (indicating a female officer).  The Form also states re. the details of the advice received "refer to design and access" (a 16-page document from the agents). However, I cannot see any details of the advice received in that document and I have been told that the same agent has done similar in another case in Ealing Common.It should be noted that applicants' information supplied to the Council in the Application Form that is inconsistent and/or incorrect is rendered voidable according to existing planning law.  In particular, Section 327A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended) makes it clear that the local planning authority must not entertain such an application.The question is:  Are these developers' agents withholding information on the Application Forms or are Planning Officers deliberating hiding the details from the public and  other interested parties?  If so, is this by some kind of private arrangement thus attempting to bypass planning law? Victor Mishiku  13/6/2021

Victor Mishiku ● 94d

Before the Yellow Notices system, individual Notification Letters would be sent out by the Planning Department to neighbouring properties back and front or opposite where sensible giving 21 days in which to make comments to the Planning Department.Cases frequently take more than a month or more to be dealt with especially if there are defects in the Plans or the Ownership Certificates (rendering the application voidable) - the latter usually arising when an applicant (or by their agent) falsely claims to own all of the land to which the application relates.Residents can continue to submit comments by e-mail or letter after the 21 days has elapsed.  In one of our cases to save the "Haven Stables" (1877) from being demolished and  redeveloped as a huge 4-Storey Block of Flats, we were submitting objections and Petition sheets long after the 21-day period since the application took many months to be considered.  It was finally sent to Committee fully recommended for granting by the Planning Department - however it was refused by the Planning Committee and a subsequent Appeal to The Planning Inspectorate was also dismissed.I recall cases in Creswick Road/Pierrepoint Road, Gibbon Road all in Acton where next door neighbours did not know about applications as the Yellow Notice had either never been put up or otherwise taken down (in one case taken down twice!).  In Studland Road in Hanwell, when attending a Committee Site Visit, a resident from just down the road came up to me and told me that there was another development being proposed next to his house and he only found out about this by chance when a neighbour from another street informed him about it.In Mount Park Crescent (a Conservation Area), a resident told me that Public Notices were twice taken down within one day of their being put up.In the Rotherwick Hill case at No.9 where the most affected neighbour was in a house in Ashbourne Close that backs onto No.9, it was important that a Notice be put up in the latter road because by not responding to the usual 21-day Notice (if it had been put up), the neighbour was debarring herself from responding to the Householder Appeal process to PINS. Fortunately, as mentioned in my original posting, PINS departed from their very strict rules because of the circumstances in this instance and the neighbour was not only able to make her objection but also received a Site Visit from the Planning Inspector (as can be seen from the Decision Letter of 13th May 2021).Two very detailed letters to the Chief Planning Officer informing him about the failure to put up a Yellow Notice were sent to him in February and March this year - the neighbour concerned still awaits a reply.V. Mishiku  "The Covenant Movement"  16/5/2021

Victor Mishiku ● 122d