Response to Planning Concern Letter in Wendover News

A recent letter in Wendover News raised concerns over the planning process in Aylesbury Vale and I wanted to respond to some of your reader’s points. Planning decisions for the Vale are decided either by elected councillors at committee, or by planning officers, depending on the size and complexity of the proposed development. Importantly, however, although some influence can be exerted by local policies and neighbourhood plans, the essential criteria against which any planning decision must be made, is set in law by government. This applies whether the decision is made by councillors or officers.

For planning applications there is a statutory presumption in favour of development, that any challenges must overcome. As your reader mentions, where the council refuses an application, the developer has a legal right of appeal to the planning inspectorate. Not only can they overturn the council’s decision, but also award the developer costs and these must be met by local council taxpayers. Conversely, where applications are granted, objectors cannot appeal to the planning inspectorate and the only possible remedy is judicial review, which is restricted to matters of law.

There is a local and national shortage of homes and Aylesbury Vale is required by the government to accept major growth over the next few years, as well as to meet the ever-growing housing needs of our community. But councillors and officers alike always work to get the best deal they can for local residents, while operating within the confines of planning legislation.