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St Werburghs planning watch

for information about planning applications in St Werburghs

This is a new section for St Werburghs website put together by local resident Judy Preston (so all errors are down to her) It is intended to provide advice on responding to planning applications in your area, and also to encourage community involvement and working together on developments that affect our neighbourhood. Current planning applications are often discussed on the forum on this website or are included in the ‘latest news’ section on the homepage.

Current Planning applications include
Hazrat Bilal Centre 41 Sevier Street Bristol BS2 9QX The reference number is 09/00413/F and the details of this can be found at by tapping in the application reference number.


Detailed advice on how to respond to Planning Applications can be found on a number of websites …..

Planning Portal is a Government website that includes details of all planning apps being considered nationally, accessed by their database and also advice on how to make a planning application and respond to a planning application.

RICS this is a good site that explains the process step by step.

CPRE advice

Local support ….. St Werburghs do not have a planning watch group or a neighbourhood planning group as such, (YET) except for the Brooks Site group. Through this group, however, there are a number of planners who have identified themselves in the neighbourhood (me included) and also lots of residents who have worked over the years to prevent unwanted development in the area, eg Bill board campaign, Mary Seacole Court. If you have concerns about any specific development and want help to comment on it, there is help available therefore locally. Contact the website or

Planning Aid South West is a charity that provides advice and support to communities on planning issues.

READ the step by step guides as suggested above BUT HERE IS A SHORT EXPLANATION OF WHAT TO DO that I have put together.

A …There are a number of ways in which you can keep an eye on planning applications submitted anywhere.

1. You can check up on planning apps received on a weekly basis via this link on Bristol City Council Planning Website.

2. You can sign up to Planning Alert which ‘alerts’ you to newly submitted planning applications for the area that you specify.

3. As a local neighbour you may find that you receive a letter informing you of the planning application, or you may see a notice attached to a lamppost near to the site in question. These are statutory forms of notification. If there is a local community group or neighbourhood planning group that the Planning Authority is aware of it is possible that they may contact them to notify. St .Werburghs do not have a formal link such as this at present, except for the Brooks Site campaign group.

4. Pre application discussions. Community consultation can be carried out at a pre application stage. This policy is now adopted by Bristol Planning dept, whereby, a community will be notified of any pre application discussions that a developer/owner will have with the planning authority. This is usually for medium to large developments, such as the Brooks site. The Brooks campaign group will indeed be notified should the owner/developer have these discussions with planners, and would expect to then be consulted on the ideas that the development would entail. The process aims at a better community consultation process that leads to better and quicker planning applications in the end, because people’s concerns are taken on board before a formal application.

B … Finding out what the application says.

When you have got the Planning App reference number, it is possible to read the documents in full online, with all plans and drawings. Alternatively, all documents are available at the local planning office at Brunel House in City Centre.

For online viewing go to Where you can type in planning app reference and get all you need.
To find out more you are entitled to contact the planner who is responsible for determining a decision on the application. The name is included in the details of the application. The information included will be the closing date for the consultation,

C. … Responding to the planning application
The Planning Authority have to make a decision within a specific period, so there is a timetable in which to respond. This date will be included in the detailed information online, but planners usually permit comments to be made right up to the date of the planning committee meeting. It’s a good idea to check this out by speaking to the planner, ofcourse, but if you miss the deadline, the planner may not be able to take your comments into consideration in writing his/her report to planning committee if its submitted too late. However, your objections are still on record and can be used by you to make a statement at the planning committee. (more on this later) You are entitled to make comments, in writing, either in terms of supporting the application or objecting. Objections have to be related to planning policy, which is why it can be difficult to navigate. The websites above give more information on the kinds of issues that you can comment on eg. The scale, height and design of the building, access issues, whether there has been proper community consultation, change of use of a building, etc. But needless to say you should be writing more than ‘ I don’t like it”. Planners do not have to take into consideration residents objections if they believe that there are strong planning policy grounds for approving the application. Comments can be submitted online when you access the details, or sent to the Planning Office by letter. You will be notified of the Planning Committee meeting if you do this.

D. … Planning Committee
Not all planning applications will go to a Planning Committee ofcourse. It will state this on the details available online. Where planning apps DO go to a Planning Committee, this means that the planner recommends an application be refused, or granted or granted with certain conditions attached. The Planning Committee is made up of councillors who will determine for themselves whether the application is refused or granted, taking the advice of the Planner and often hearing a statement from the developer and community concerns. As an individual or as a representative of a community group you may request to make a statement of your objections/concerns or support, but there are strict rules on this, related to how much notice you must give to attend and how long you can speak for. If you have submitted comments in time you will be notified of how you can do this as a matter of course along with details of when the committee will meet, but otherwise, go to this link to check which applications are going to be determined at which Planning Committee. …. where you should look for Development Control meetings for the area concerned. St. Werbs comes under North and the next scheduled meeting is in May 2009.
The Planner’s report will be obtained on this link, or you can request this from the Planning Office at Brunel House. The report is usually available at least a week before the Planning Committee meeting, and states in detail the background to the recommended decision, the comments made by statutory bodies such as Police, Highways and Conservation/Urban Design team, and by community and the reasons for the decision. Planning Committees do not always follow the advice of the planner!! This can work for or against you ofcourse.

What happens if Planning App is granted?
Well, briefly it means that it goes ahead. You do not have a right to appeal. However, if you feel that there are strong planning policy grounds on which it should have been rejected, then, it may be possible to take the decision to a Judicial Review. There are organisations that will support you in doing this if you want. (see above) A developer has an automatic right however to appeal against a Planning Committee’s rejection. And an appeal can mean that the Planning Inspectorate determine that the planning application is approved, despite the Planning Committee’s decision. (See the more detailed advice on link below)

Judy Preston

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