Changes to the Vale's Planning System

The Vale District Council has with effect from 1 August made some changes to the way in which planning decisions are made by district councillors and officers of the Council. The intention is to strengthen links between the District Council (DC) and parish councils *, to make sure that people at the heart of the community can help the DC make informed decisions on planning applications.


*It is understood that these changes will apply to parish meetings as much as to parish councils.


The DC also wishes to cut the costs involved in taking planning applications to the planning committee as a result of a parish council objection; in the majority of these cases the decision goes with the officer’s original recommendation, but on average, a planning application considered at committee takes three times the officer’s time and three times the cost of an application delegated for decision.




1.  The DC to appoint “Parish Champions” amongst the planning officers – a member of the Vale planning staff who will get to know individual parishes and be a particular point of contact with parish councils.

2.   Members of parish councils to be better informed in the relevant planning issues, to ensure that concerns raised are “material planning considerations”. (See below).

3.   Enhanced dialogue between planning officers and parish councils to support the above.  A parish council raising objections to an application would be asked which matters need resolving, to gain their support; they would be consulted again before the committee report was written to determine whether their objection(s) still stands. If they do, there would be a firm expectation that parish councils would attend the planning committee and explain their concerns. 

4.   Large major applications of over 200 homes would automatically be referred to planning committee. In these situations, parish councils would act as consultee and have speaking rights at committee.

5.   All major applications (i.e., 10 or more houses, commercial space of over 1,000 square metres, or any site a hectare or more in size) would be referred to the planning committee when the view of the parish council is contrary to the officer’s recommendation.

6.   Minor applications (i.e. fewer than 10 houses, commercial space of less than 1,000 square metres and other applications such as household extensions, change of use) could be called in by the ward councillor, chairman of the planning committee or head of planning; failing that, applications would be delegated for decision.  Parish councils with outstanding concerns would liaise with their ward councillor.

7.   Support from the planning department in developing neighbourhood plans to put parishes at the heart of strategic local planning and making planning policy.


Pre-application discussions


There is no change to the way in which individual applicants may request a preliminary discussion with planning officers; this has the potential to sort out problems and errors before an application is formally submitted.  All planning applications within the parish of Uffington are referred to the Parish Council for comment, and are usually discussed at the next monthly meeting; it would therefore be helpful to us if we could be included in pre-application discussions. 


Material and Non-material Planning Considerations – in brief




Loss of privacy, loss of light

Loss of value to a property

Car parking space

Loss of an attractive view

Traffic generation

Personal disagreements

Noise & disturbance

Boundary disputes

Character of the area


Green belt

Commercial competition

Conservation Area

Construction disturbance

Design, appearance and layout

Sunday trading

National and local policies

Matters controlled under other legislation – e.g. Building Regulations



Site Updated

25 February 21

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