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Have your say on planning applications, public rights of way and certain highway matters

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Find out about the arrangements Colchester Borough Council has put in place to enable anyone who wishes to object to or support a planning application, an order to create, divert or extinguish a public right of way, or certain other highway matters, and to speak at the meeting at which the application or other matter is being considered. This information describes exactly how you can have your say.

Have your Say! on planning applications, public rights of way and certain highway matters

Colchester Borough Council has put in place arrangements to enable anyone who wishes to object to or support a planning application, an order to create, divert or extinguish a public right of way, or certain other highway matters, to ask to speak at the meeting at which the application or other matter is being considered.  This information describes exactly how you can have your say.
You may also like to read our information on:
Have your say!
Objecting to planning applications
Guides for householders, businesses and listed building owners

How are planning applications and public rights of way decided?

When the council receives a planning application, neighbours and other people affected will be notified by letter, inviting comments or objections.  Straightforward applications and those without material objections will be decided by the Assistant Director Policy and Corporate. Larger and more controversial applications will be considered by councillors.

Meetings of the Planning Committee are held on a two or three week cycle, usually on Thursdays at 6pm in the Town Hall. Use this link to check the date of Planning Committee meetings.  You are welcome to come to any of these meetings to hear the debates and, usually, one person for and one person against each application is permitted to make a comment about any planning application or highway matter which is being considered at the meeting.

To find out when an application or public right of way order is being considered, please telephone the relevant number shown at the end of this page.  You can see agendas at council offices and by using this link to minutes, agendas and reports.

From being told about a planning application, you will normally have 21 days to make your views known in writing.  Any views given in writing will be summarised as part of the officer's report to committee.

How can I have my say on a planning application?
Important note:  we can only allow one objector and one supporter to speak on each application.  If more than one person wish to speak in support or more than one person wish to speak against a single application or public right of way order, they will be asked to jointly agree before the start of the meeting which one person will speak on each behalf of all. If this does not happen, or agreement can't be reached, then it may not be possible to let anyone speak on that application.

You will be allowed to speak for up to three minutes only so aim to make your views very concise.  Material planning considerations are the issues which the committee can take into account in reaching a decision and they can be found further below.

What happens when my item is considered?
The officer presents his or her report, adding to, updating and illustrating the written report already circulated to committee members
The chairman will invite one objector to sit at a place close to the meeting table. They will be introduced by name and whom they represent and invited to speak for up to three minutes
The applicant or a representative or supporter, if present, will then be invited to speak - also for up to three minutes
Any attending councillors not members of the committee will be invited to speak - for up to five minutes
The councillors who make up the committee will then debate the matter, and may ask for further information from the officer, before coming to a decision
Speakers will not be allowed to ask questions, and committee members will not be able to ask questions of speakers
Consideration of an application or highway matter will not be delayed simply because someone who wishes to speak is unable to attend the meeting, or is not called on to address the meeting.

What can I say at the meeting?
Please limit your views to the planning application, public right of way or highway matter.  The chairman may disallow or terminate any public participation which is scurrilous, vexatious, improper, irrelevant or otherwise objectionable.

You will be allowed to present a petition to the chairman, but you will not be allowed to distribute photographs, illustrations or written material at the meeting.  It is best to send these as part of any written objection.

For planning applications, please confine your comments to material planning issues which may be taken into consideration in reaching a decision.  They are:-
Planning policy such as the Local Plan and structure plans, other local planning policies, government guidance, case law, previous decisions of the council
Design, appearance and layout
Impact on visual or residential amenity including potential loss of daylight or sunlight or overshadowing, loss of privacy, noise disturbance, smell or nuisance
Impact on trees, listed buildings or a conservation area
Highway safety and traffic
Health and safety
Crime and fear of crime
Economic impact - job creation, employment market and prosperity.

The following are not 'relevant planning issues' and the Planning Committee cannot take them into account in reaching a decision:-
Land ownership issues including private property rights, boundary or access disputes, restrictive covenants, rights of way, ancient rights to light
Effects on property values
Loss of a private view
Identity of the applicant, their personality, or a developer's motives
Competition
The possibility of a "better" site or "better" use
Anything covered by other types of legislation.

Will a decision be made at the meeting?
Most planning applications, public right of way or highway matters considered by councillors are decided at their first hearing at the Planning Committee.  However, some decisions may be deferred:
For a site inspection by councillors
For more information to be obtained, or for negotiations to take place
For a determination by the Secretary of State in cases where the application is contrary to the current Local Plan or if the application affects a Grade I* or 2* listed building.

Apart from applications which are subject to the Deferral and Recommendation Overturn Procedure (DROP), you can attend and ask to speak again if the issue is reconsidered at a future meeting.

HOW TO CONTACT US:
For planning applications and certain highway matters and matters of diversion or stopping up of existing public rights of way, please write to:
Colchester Borough Council
33 Sheepen Road
Colchester
CO3 3DZ

Telephone:  01206 282424

e-mail:  planning.services@colchester.gov.uk

For other public rights of way and highway matters, please write to:

Essex County Council
Highways and Transportation
E2 Customer Services
County Hall
Market Road
Chelmsford
Essex
CM1 1QH

Telephone:  0845 603 7631
 
Email: highways.enquiries@essex.gov.uk