Material Planning Matters

What are material planning considerations? The scope of what can constitute a material consideration is very wide and so the courts often do not indicate what cannot be a material consideration. However, in general they have taken the view that planning is concerned with land use in the public interest, so that the protection of purely private interests such as the impact of a development on the value of a neighbouring property or loss of private rights to light could not be material considerations.

All the fundamental factors involved in land-use planning constitute a material consideration. This includes the number, size, layout, design and external appearance of buildings and the proposed means of access, together with landscaping, impact on the neighbourhood and the availability of infrastructure. A material consideration is a matter that should be taken into account in deciding a planning application or on an appeal against a planning decision.

Material considerations can include, but are not limited to:

  • The Planning Policy
  • Context
  • Need
  • Power to impose conditions
  • Natural Justice
  • Public Opinion
  • Consultations responses
  • Existing site uses and features
  • Layout, Design and Amenity Matters
  • Resources and Economic Factors
  • Social and Economic Matters
  • Precedent
  • Alternative Sites
  • Issues affecting Human Rights
  • Planning gain
  • The Planning History
  • Overlooking/loss of privacy
  • The visual impact on protected landscapes such as the South Devon AONB

View, or negative effect on the value of properties are not material considerations.

What weight can be given to a material consideration?

The law makes a clear distinction between the question of whether something is a material consideration and the weight which it is to be given. Whether a particular consideration is material will depend on the circumstances of the case and is ultimately a decision for the courts. Provided it has regard to all material considerations, it is for the decision maker to decide what weight is to be given to the material considerations in each case, and (subject to the test of reasonableness*) the courts will not get involved in the question of weight.

*Wednesbury unreasonableness

A standard of unreasonableness used in assessing an application for judicial review of a public authority’s decision. A reasoning or decision is Wednesbury unreasonable (or irrational) if it is so unreasonable that no reasonable person acting reasonably could have made it (Associated Provincial Picture Houses Ltd v Wednesbury Corporation (1948) 1 KB 223). The test is a different (and stricter) test than merely showing that the decision was unreasonable.

Paragraph: 009 Reference ID: 21b-009-20140306 Revision date: 06 03 2014  FOR MORE INFORMATION:

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