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Publicity and consultation

How we consult on planning applications  

We are legally required to publicise all planning applications and therefore take a number of steps to publicise the receipt of applications. These include notifying adjoining neighbours and neighbours we consider may be affected by the development, placing site notices where details of land ownership is not available, publishing press notices, and notifying Parish Councils. 

 Search and view applications  

Our online search and view planning applications facility allows you to view applications received since 1 January 2005. This facility is also available at the council offices 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk, or the Concourse, Skelmersdale. Our offices are open 9.00am to 5.00pm Monday to Thursday and 9.00am to 4.45pm on Friday.  

If you require further information about an application you can speak to the case officer.  If you wish to meet with a Planning Officer an appointment will be necessary.     

The Development Management offices are open to the public on Monday to Thursday from 9.00am-5.00pm and Fridays from 9.00am-4.45pm. 

How to comment on planning applications  

Comments can be made by anyone whether in support of, objecting to, or  expressing a general view on an application, although comments relating to 'material planning considerations' can only be taken into account.      

Representations should relate to the proposed development and any comments of a personal nature against an individual / group or containing offensive content will be returned to the sender.  Representations without a name or address will not be considered.      

You are advised to view the details of the application and plans before submitting any opinions. 

You have 21 days to comment on an application from the date notification was made and can only comment on an application that has not yet had a decision.

How we use the information  

Comments on planning applications form part of the statutory register and the local planning authority has a duty to make this information available. The Council will therefore publish on its website a copy of your comments including your name & address.      

Comments you make must include your name and address but do not include any personal information such as your telephone number, mobile number or signature.  When submitting comments by email you are advised to send them as an attachment to the email if you wish to avoid publication of your email address.      

We may be required to release your comments to the Planning Inspectorate for use during planning appeals that have been lodged with them. The Planning Inspectorate may publish your comments in full on their website.      

How we will safeguard the information  

The information you provide will be will be kept in a secure office environment and will be held on computer databases that can only be accessed by authorised members of council staff. 

All staff undergo training and understand the importance of data protection. Access to the Council's systems is via password control so that only people who need to access your information in order to provide Council services are able to.      

Data Protection Act 1998  

For further information on the Council’s Data Protection Policy contact Andrew Leyland Planning Support Team Leader tel: 01695 585115      

Freedom of Information Act 2000  

The Council is required under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to pass on certain information if requested by third parties or government departments unless the Act allows us to withhold that information.      

There are a number of ways you can comment on planning applications.      

Online  

 Comment on a planning application  (this is limited to maximum 2000 characters)      

Email

to plan.apps@westlancs.gov.uk   (enables you to submit additional information with your comments such as photographs, plans, etc).  Please make sure you provide the application reference and address of the proposal.      

By Post  

to Directorate of Development and Regeneration Services, West Lancashire Borough Council, 52 Derby Street, Ormskirk, West Lancashire, L39 2DF.  Please make sure you provide the application reference and address of the proposal.      

What is a valid objection?  

We can only take into account 'material planning considerations' when considering your comments. The list below is not exhaustive, but is designed to show the most common examples:  

  • Loss of light/overshadowing  
  • Loss of privacy/overshadowing  
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)  
  • Adequacy of parking/loading/turning  
  • Highway safety  
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use  
  • Hazardous materials  
  • Traffic generation  
  • Smells  
  • Loss of trees  
  • Landscaping  
  • Road access  
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area  
  • Design, appearance and materials  
  • Conflict with planning policies  
  • Disabled access  
  • Nature conservation  
  • Archaeology  
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)  
  • Proposals/policies in the development plan  

What cannot be considered?  

We cannot take into account matters which are not planning considerations. Again, the list below is not exhaustive but includes:  

  • Loss of property value  
  • Private disputes between neighbours  
  • Loss of a view  
  • Impact during construction  
  • Restrictive covenants  
  • Fence lines  
  • Personal morals or views about the application  
  • Ownership disputes over rights of way  
  • Boundary disputes  
  • Applicants motives  
  • Loss of trade and competitors  

Taking your views into account  

All letters of representation will be given full consideration in the determination of the application. It is not possible for our officers to respond to comments raised in individual letters. However, you can view the case officer's report (online or at the Council offices) which will set out the relevant planning policies and detail your comments so you can understand the basis on which the decision was made.      

The officer’s report and the decision notice will contain any details of conditions that have been placed on the approval or the reasons for refusal of the application. If the application is to be decided by the Planning Committee your views will be included in the report for them to consider. At committee, there is an opportunity for a limited number of parties to address the Members.  

Notifying you of a decision  

You will not normally be notified of the decision on an application, however you can view a full list of decisions using our Search and View facility.

Only the applicant can appeal against the decision. If an appeal is made and you commented on the earlier application you will be notified and invited to write to the Planning Inspectorate with your comments. Any previous comments are passed on to the Inspector.