Wealden District Council
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How You Can Be Involved In The Planning Process

We encourage public involvement in the planning application process and there are a range of ways in which you can be involved by:

  • Commenting on planning applications during the consultation period
  • Making your views known to your Town/Parish Council
  • Talking to your local Wealden District Councillor
  • Registering to speak for applications determined by Planning Committee
  • Viewing Planning Committee Meetings on-line

The Planning Hub is a new portal that we have created where the community can come to:

  • view major applications and discuss the merits of the application informally through a dedicated forum
  • learn about how to engage with planning services and keep informed
  • provide feedback on the service received through our customer satisfaction survey

We wanted to create a more engaging portal than our current application search. Learn more about the Planning Hub by using the ‘in this section’ menu. 

We would love to know what you think about the portal! You can report any issues you have or provide feedback by contacting us at planning@wealden.gov.uk 

Visit the Making Effective Comments on Planning Applications page for information on how your comments can better engage with the planning system.

We use a number of different methods to publicise applications. You can be alerted to a planning application in your area from:

From 1st November 2020 we changed how we notify on planning applications, for more details see the Update on how we notify on Planning Applications page.

You can provide your comments on an application that is currently open for consultation.

Most planning applications have a period in which you can make comments.  You may comment on an application until the latest of these dates:

  • The expiry of the site notice
  • The expiry of the advert (where relevant)

The expiry date will be displayed on the main details page of the planning application on our Planning Applications Online System.

Submitting Comments

When submitting a comment we ask that you quote the planning application number in your correspondence and include your name and full postal address.  If you do not include your name and address your comments will be classed as anonymous and may not taken into consideration by the planning officer.

To submit comments:

  • Click on the ‘Comment on this application’ button on the details page of the planning application.  The button will be shown only during the consultation period during which comments can be made.
  • Email your comments to planning@wealden.gov.uk

Important notes about commenting on a planning application

  • Comments received will be made available for public inspection through our website. This means that the Council cannot treat any comments made on a planning application as confidential. In the case of a Planning Appeal your comments will also be passed to the Planning Inspectorate. Every effort will be made to remove personal details such as telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures prior to the information being published online, although wherever possible please do not include these details. Please Note: your name and address will be published on the internet until a decision is made on the application (whether by The Council or The Planning Inspectorate).
  • Late comments will be taken into consideration by the case officer. Where applicable and for those applications determined at Committee late comments may not be considered if they are received too close to the date of Committee.
  • All comments received on an application will be considered prior to a decision being made. We do not respond to individuals who have submitted comments due to the volume of correspondence received.  We also do not enter into correspondence received after a decision has been made.
  • Some applications including Prior Notifications there is little or no public consultation required by the Council either to local residents or Town/Parish Councils.

When making a comment you will need to give detailed reasons about why you support or oppose a proposal and be aware of what we can and can’t take into consideration.

It is worth remembering that it is not the number of responses that may affect a planning decision, but the planning issues raised. 

What planning issues we consider:

  • Local and national planning policies. 
  • Government circulars, orders and statutory instruments.
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions).
  • Design, visual appearance and materials.
  • Overshadowing, loss of outlook (but not loss of view).
  • Noise and disturbance from use.
  • Smells.
  • Light pollution. 
  • Highway safety issues.
  • Traffic generation.
  • Vehicular access.
  • Adequacy of parking. 
  • Impact / loss of trees / hedgerows. 
  • Landscaping.
  • Nature conservation and effect on protected species.
  • Intrusion into the open countryside.
  • Risk of flooding.
  • Effect of listed buildings and conservation areas.
  • Archaeology.
  • Hazardous materials and ground contamination.

What planning issues we cannot consider:

  • Loss of view including over other land
  • Rights to light.
  • Loss of property value.
  • Breach of restrictive covenant.
  • The level of profit a developer might make.
  • Personal circumstances of the applicant (in most cases).
  • Objections based on race, religion or sexual orientation of the applicant. 
  • Moral objections e,g, to uses such as betting offices
  • Matters controlled under building regulations or other non-planning laws, e.g. structural stability, drainage, fire precautions, environmental protection etc.
  • Private issues between neighbours e.g. land/boundary disputes, loss of ability to maintain property, damage to property, private rights of way, covenants etc.
  • Problems arising from the construction period of any works, e.g. noise, dust, construction vehicles etc.
  • Retrospective nature of approval sought i.e. if development is already built or started without permission. It is still necessary to look only at the planning merits.

Offensive, racist, discriminatory, threatening and other statements that are not appropriate will not be published.

  • Offensive statements lower a person’s reputation personally within their trade, profession or business.
  • Racist statements are those that are offensive or discriminate against individuals on racial grounds, including their race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins. Gypsies and other minorities are racial groups.
  • Statements that discriminate on grounds of religion, sexuality or disability will also not be published.
  • Comments that include such statements will be rejected and returned back to you but can be resubmitted in a more acceptable form.

The Council is bound by the Equality Act 2010 which applies to those providing services and public functions and prohibits direct and indirect discrimination and harassment all of which these types of remarks might amount to.

The council reserve the right not to publish comments. 

To make sure you do not miss any information that is added to a planning application you are interested in, you can subscribe for email alerts. The Council use the website and social media to communicate any amendments (if made) to planning applications and you can also be alerted to when the decision of the application has been published. Registration for updates is free, though an active e-mail account is required. For more information on how to keep up to date with planning applications see our page dedicated to this.

There are two Planning Committees, North and South. Each of these two Committees generally meet every four weeks. 

The dates of forthcoming meetings can be found on the Council’s timetable of meetings.

The agenda for the forthcoming/current meeting is available five working days before the meeting with minutes of previous meetings made available online:

Both North and South Committees meet on a Thursday at 10.00am in the Civic Community Hall, Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham. 

Further information on the current public speaking arrangements can be found on the pages for Planning Committee South or Planning Committee North.

We are required to assess each planning application on its own merits, taking into account national and local Planning Policy as well as other material considerations.

Applications are allocated to a planning case officer, who is the point of contact for making enquiries about the application. The case officer is responsible for carrying out a site visit, assessing the merits of the proposal in terms of planning policy and the comments received as a result of the consultation process.

The majority of planning applications, approximately 90%, are dealt with by Council officers under delegated powers, If it is considered inappropriate for the application to be dealt with under delegated powers, the application will be reported to members of the appropriate Planning Committee in line with the Scheme of Delegation – Section 7.1,

The applicant has the right of appeal to the Secretary of State at the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions in the following circumstances:

  • if a decision has not been reached within 8/13 weeks of the application being received by the Council
  • upon receipt of a decision notice either for refusal or approval (where the applicant is aggrieved by any condition imposed)

Third parties, for example local residents do not have a right of appeal against any decision made.

Two teams of Planning Officers cover the North and South areas of the District.

North Team covering Buxted, Crowborough, Danehill, Fletching, Forest Row, Framfield, Frant, Hadlow Down, Hartfield, Isfield, Little Horstead, Maresfield, Mayfield, Rotherfield, Uckfield, Wadhurst, Withyham.

Team Leader: Stephanie Wood : Assistant Team Leader: Rob Bewick

South Team covering Alciston*, Arlington, Berwick*, Chalvington and Ripe, Chiddingly, East Hoathly, Hailsham, Heathfield and Waldron, Hellingly, Herstmonceux, Hooe, Horam, Laughton, Long Man*, Ninfield, Polegate*, Selmeston*, Warbleton, Wartling, Westham, Willingdon and Jevington*.

Team Leader: Caitlin Boddy : Assistant Team Leader: Scott Carey

The Major Applications Team covers all areas in the North and South except those that fall within the responsibility of the South Downs National Park.

Team Leader: Claire Turner : Assistant Team Leader: Matthew Taylor

The South Downs National Park* are the responsible Local Planning Authority fully responsible for applications in Alfriston, Cuckmere Valley, East Dean and Friston with partial responsibility for Alciston, Berwick, Long Man, Polegate, Selmeston, Willingdon and Jevington.

To contact the team or for general enquiries email planning@wealden.gov.uk. If you are contacting us about a specific application please provide the application reference number and the case officers name if known including your contact details. Cases officers will be available by email and this is the preferred method of contact.

You can visit our X feed (formerly known as Twitter) @WDC_Planning for service updates, news and information from planning.