Parish Council comments on local planning applications

Parish councils are statutory consultees and have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment (or not) on applications.

From time to time the Parish Council may wish to make a comment about a planning application submitted to St Albans District Council (SADC).

When considering whether to comment, St Michael Parish Council may reflect on local feeling during the deliberation process. If a comment is approved, the Clerk will then submit it on behalf of the Parish Council, for publication through SADC’s planning portal, where it becomes part of the public record for that planning application.

Outside of Parish Council Meetings, our Councillors will frequently spend their own time to inform themselves of local concerns and opinions. They may fairly be said to be seeking information in their role as Parish Councillor, but they must remain objective and if they should express any views or opinions, for or against, they have to be clear that they are doing so in a personal capacity. They must not imply that their comments are, or are likely to be taken as, representing those of the Parish Council as a body. Parish Councillors do of course have a right, as any private individual would, to submit comments in their own name to SADC .

Whether there is support for or against any planning proposal, St Michael Parish Council urges members of the public to send their own written letters or e-mails direct to SADC as well – which are considered to be much more effective in an individual’s own words rather than a circular type or template.

It must also be made clear that any comment made in response to a planning application can only be based on planning matters. Conjecture and hearsay for example can never be taken into consideration. The specific points that can and cannot be included are set out in SADC’s helpful guidance on their website, at Home/Planning and building control/How to comment on a planning application