By law, we must take into account the following:
- Government advice set out in circulars, planning guidance notes and ministerial statements
- Our local planning policies - our Local Plan sets out most of our planning policies. There are also supplementary planning guidance notes which set out certain policies and standards in more detail.
- Other planning issues for example, written comments of those we must consult about proposals, including local residents and businesses. We can only take account of facts that are directly relevant to the planning process (for example, the effect on light, privacy, noise, pollution, traffic and parking). We can't consider issues such as loss of view or the effect on property values.
We consider each application on its merits, but if a proposal meets our policies and standards, we will usually grant planning permission, even if we receive objections from neighbours.
Who decides whether or not to grant planning permission?
The decision is taken by the following people:
Planning Officers. If the application is straightforward and meets our policies and standards, planning officers can decide most applications, even if objections are received.
The Planning Committee. If the proposal is a major scheme or a councillor asks for the application to be considered by the Committee, planning officers will prepare a report for the committee meeting. The agenda is available five working days before the meetings, so committee members (who are elected councillors) can make an informed decision.
How do I have my comments considered?
You may want to support an application or object to it. If you want to make any comments on an application, you can:
- Present a petition. It is possible for you to submit a petition in support or against a proposal. If you do this, and get the petition endorsed by a Sefton councillor, the application will then be determined by the Planning Committee. The councillor cannot be a member of Planning Committee. Your petition must be signed by 25 or more Sefton residents who object to or support the proposal. If you do this, you/a representative will be able to address the committee for up to 5 minutes to put your case forward.
Our Democratic Services Team must receive your petition no later than 10 am on the Friday before the Planning Committee meeting. In advance of this you must also inform the Planning Department in writing that you intend to present a petition before the expiry of the neighbour notification period for the application. You can contact our Democratic Services Team on 0151 934 2046 who can advise you of times, dates and venues of committees or alternatively you can view committee information on our website.
If you do not get the support of a councillor, the petition will be treated as a written comment.
- Contact a councillor. The councillor can ask for the application to be considered by the Planning Committee. Councillors on the Planning Committee will not be able to give an opinion on the application before the committee meeting.
You may attend the Planning Committee meeting, but you cannot speak to the Committee (unless you are representing a petition as in the bullet point above).
What decision can be made?
Applications can be:
- Approved, usually with conditions attached (for example, that brick samples are approved by us before the work begins).
- Refused, in which case the reason for the refusal must be a planning reason. The applicant can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against a refusal. By law, neighbours have no right to appeal against a planning decision they disagree with; or
- Withdrawn by the applicant.
How can I find out about a decision?
Decisions are available to view on our website.