Planning Applications

Cambridge 2000 memos

July 2001

The Cambridge City Council guidelines on planning applications (based on rules laid down by central government) says that if you wish to object to a planning application then the Council can only take into account "planning matters", i.e. whether:

Most planning applications from ordinary citizens are to do with house extensions or houses built on sub-divided plots, and in this case normally none of the above is ever a serious issue, except loss of privacy, which is often an issue for the neighbours. So it is very difficult to argue against any planning application.

More interestingly, the Council explicitly says that when deciding planning applications it cannot take into account:

Needless to say most of these are serious matters (much more so than the relative trivialities one is allowed to mention) and it is hard to believe that these are not taken into account in planning applications. In particular the potential "loss of value to your property" is very serious and would indeed normally follow as a particular consequence of all the other examples listed above.

What does it really mean that "loss of value" cannot be considered? If your neighbour sells off their garden for a new house they might well make 50000 pounds net profit (value of new plot minus loss of value to existing property). This would almost inevitably affect the value of your property. It could easily decrease the value of your property by 10000 pounds. You cannot use this fact to object to your neighbour's application.

So what it really means that "loss of value" cannot be considered is that the government is forcing you to write a cheque for 10000 pounds to your neighbour. This is one reason that gardens are so often sold off in Cambridge, there is no redress available for those affected.

Normally those affected also have insult added to injury by having six months or more of builders creating great disruption.

Cambridge 2000 memos