How You Can Be Involved In The Planning Process

Wealden District Council’s Planning Service encourages public involvement in the planning application process.  You can be involved by:

  • Commenting on planning applications during the consultation period
  • Making your views known to your Town/Parish Council
  • Contacting your local Wealden District Councillor
  • Registering to speak where an application goes before the Planning Committee
  • Viewing Planning Committee Meetings on-line

You may become aware of a planning application in your area from:

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

  • The expiry of the site notice
  • The expiry of the advert (where relevant)
  • The expiry of the letter sent to neighbouring properties.

The dates above will be displayed on the details page of the planning application in our Planning Applications Online System.

Submitting Comments

Please ensure 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 not taken into consideration by the planning officer.

To submit comments on an application you can;

  • 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 (the later of the three dates given above) during which comments can be made.
  • Email your comments to planning@wealden.gov.uk
  • Write a letter and post your comments to The Planning Department at the Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham BN27 2AX. Please note that from the 19th March 2020 the post received into the Council to Planning is only being checked intermittently due to staff working remotely. Regretfully this will slow down your comments being received and we would urge you to use electronic correspondence where possible instead.

Important notes about commenting on a planning application

  • Any representations received must be made available for public inspection, (in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Access to Information Act (1985)) and this means that the Council cannot treat any comments made on a planning application as confidential. Any comments you make will form part of the background papers to the planning application and will be available for public inspection both on the planning file and on the Internet. Every effort will be made to remove personal details such as telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures prior to the information appearing on the Internet, 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).
  • Whilst late comments will be taken into consideration by the case officer, where applicable, it may be too late to report these in full to the relevant Committee.
  • All comments received on an application will be considered prior to a decision being made, however we are unable to respond to individual comments within letters owing to the volume of correspondence received.  Unfortunately we are also unable to enter into correspondence received after a decision has been made.
  • There are also applications including Prior Notifications, where there is little or no public consultation required either to local residents or Town/Parish Councils.

When commenting on a planning application there are certain relevant issues that can be taken into account.

The following are relevant issues to comment on:

  • whether the proposed use is a suitable one for the area
  • whether the appearance and size of a new building is in keeping with its neighbours and the surrounding area
  • whether the external alterations to an existing building are in character
  • whether any neighbouring property will suffer any overshadowing, overlooking or loss of privacy
  • whether there will be any increase in noise and disturbance, for example from the movement of any extra traffic
  • whether new public buildings have satisfactory access for the disabled
  • whether new access road and vehicle parking areas will be safe for road users and pedestrians
  • whether, in the case of an application for an advertisement, the proposed sign is too large, unsightly and/or is likely to give rise to any highway safety issues
  • whether a public footpath is affected
  • whether there is any visual impact upon the landscape i.e.. loss of trees and hedgerows
  • whether the proposal conflicts with the Council’s planning policies

The Department for Communities and Local Government – Planning, building and the environment  provide further advice.

The following are not considered to be relevant issues to comment on:

  • loss of view
  • boundary and other disputes between neighbours e.g. private rights of way, conflicts with covenants
  • health and safety and party wall matters
  • loss of trade from individual competing businesses
  • loss of property value.

To make sure you do not miss any information that is added to a planning application you are interested in, then you must subscribe for email alerts for that application. The Council will use the website and social media to communicate any amendments (if made) to planning applications. This is also how you can find out the final decision on the application. Registration for updates is free, though an active e-mail account is required. For more information see our page dedicated to this.

There are two Planning Committees, North and South. Each of these two Committees generally meet every four weeks. Due to the Government restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, certain changes have been made to the arrangements for the Planning Committee meetings.

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. This is also available for public inspection at the Council Offices.

Minutes of previous meetings are also available for public inspection at the Council Offices or online:

Both North and South Committees meet on a Thursday at 10.30am in the Civic Community Hall, Council Offices, Vicarage Lane, Hailsham.  As a temporary measure, the Committee will be meeting remotely and may meet more frequently than the usual four weekly cycle. However, prior notice of any additional meetings will be shown on the Council’s website and in the calendar of meeting dates. The meetings will still be live streamed and viewable by the public by clicking on a link that will be provided on that particular meeting page on the website.

Unfortunately, there is a backlog of cases awaiting committee decision. This relates to both area committees though is most pressing in the South of the District. We are working hard to clear this work though priority will be given to new housing and employment floor area generating applications. We recognise that any application is important, but residential and new employment cases will assist the Council’s land supply and also the economic recovery from Covid-19.

It is still possible to register to speak at the Planning Committees, please see the next section for more information. (UPDATE 01.07.2020)

Due to the Government restrictions imposed as a result of Covid-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom, certain changes have been made to the arrangements for the Planning Committee meetings. For more information please view our page regarding Covid-19.

It is possible to still register to speak on planning applications that come to Committee, however our speaking rules have been amended during this pandemic.

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

If you have registered to speak on a committee agenda item, please note that any video file lodged must not contain drawings, images or banner around the frame of the clip. It should be a straight forward ‘piece to camera’ of no more than 2 minutes (3 minutes for major applications). Any text, video or audio file considered to contain offensive, aggressive or otherwise derogatory comments will not be accepted. (UPDATE 01.07.20)

The Council operates a scheme of public speaking at these Committee meetings prior to consideration of any application being reported on the agendas, where up to 2 people for, and 2 people against an application may address the meetings for up to 2 minutes each.

Once the Planning Officer has evaluated all the information received on an application, it is assessed against the Council’s approved planning policies and other relevant matters. If it is considered inappropriate for the application to have a decision issued under delegated powers, the application will be reported to Members of the appropriate Planning Committee for decision. See the Lifecycle of Planning Application for a flow chart explanation and view details of the Council’s Scheme of Delegation – Section 7.1, from page 35)

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)

Please Note: Third parties (ie local residents) do not have a right of appeal against any decision made by the Planning Authority. Correspondence with third parties following the decision will not be undertaken due to workloads.  If you do have any concerns regarding the decision making process, please refer to the Council’s Complaints Procedure.

Development Management is split into two teams of Planning Officers that cover North and South Teams within Wealden.

N.B. South Downs National Park  are the responsible Planning Authority for the following Parishes/Towns;

  • Fully responsible for; Alfriston, Cuckmere Valley, East Dean and Friston
  • Partially responsible for; Alciston, Berwick, Long Man, Polegate, Selmeston, Willingdon and Jevington

General enquiries should be made through planning@wealden.gov.uk. In order for us to respond easily, a valid email address should be provided as limited post is now being sent from the Planning Service.

Case officers will be available by email, and this is the preferred method of contact. Contact by phone is still available although please bear in mind that we will be prioritising calls for the council’s critical services, and therefore we would ask that wherever possible you communicate with officers via e-mail. Officers will be able to phone you back, if required and contact details are provided.

Our twitter feed @WDC_Planning provides news, updates and information from the Planning department, though please send all messages to planning@Wealden.gov.uk (UPDATE 01.07.20)