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Planning Matters

Planning applications can be a stress and worry for both applicants and neighbours, and here are a few thoughts that may be helpful:

• The ‘planning authority’ to whom you apply and which makes the decision is West Somerset Council (WSC).

• West Somerset Council has a duty to either write to inform immediate neighbours about a planning application or to put up site notices. WSC usually seems to do both, but sometimes they don’t manage to write to every neighbour.

• Therefore, if you want to know when there is a planning application for a site near you, do look out for the ‘site notices’ which are an A4 sheet of paper with the WSC logo in a flimsy plastic sleeve, attached to a gate or fence, sometimes a distance from the site itself!

• Also read the West Somerset Free Press which each week lists the applications.

• You can search for, view and comment on planning applications here: https://www.westsomerset.gov.uk/online-applications/.

• If you didn’t know about an application until after the decision has been made, the decision cannot generally be changed.

• The Parish Council is a ‘statutory consultee’ which means that WSC have to ask the Parish Council what it thinks. In practice, the Parish Council’s response is taken seriously. While the Parish Council cannot reject an application, it makes comments and observations on applications.

• All applications are examined by the Parish Council at their monthly meetings. Details of these are published on the Council’s Agenda which is posted on notice boards at least two dats before the meeting

• The Parish Council meets every month on the second Tuesday of every month and you will be very welcome to attend and have your say during the “Deferment of Business” section of the agenda.

• If you have a view on a particular application, you can send your comments direct to WSC as well as telling the Parish Council.

• If you are contemplating making a planning application, or see that your neighbours have, it is recommended that you talk to all your neighbours first, even if you are not generally on chatting terms. It is almost always easier to hear and respond to concerns direct rather than both sides bellowing at the planning officer!

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