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Representations in Action!

Let’s start by explaining what a letter of representation actually is.

In terms of planning, a letter of representation gives an interested party the chance to detail their thoughts on an application – officially. This may be in support of the application, objecting to it or indeed, simply to comment on it publicly.

It is a common misconception that a representation is always in objection to the proposals. This is not always the case as, in some circumstances, there may be nothing wrong with the planned scheme in principle and the representation may simply draw attention to the case officer of a particular element of the scheme that there are concerns with.

Subsequently, there may be tweaks to a scheme or a design amendment agreed upon which may, ultimately, provide the community with a better scheme than that originally proposed. This could include having an influence of the finishing materials used in the proposed development, siting of windows etc.

A representation is useful pretty much across the board as it removes the personal element of ‘we don’t want it!’ when a new, local scheme is proposed. Quite often, it is not community members objecting per se, it literally gives them the chance to explain their thoughts, and maybe the results of their own investigations and research, more fully.

Recently, I have worked on representations which have seen, amongst others, one application withdrawn, and another refused. It is important to state that these decisions may not have been solely due to our representations, but they will have contributed.

Once instructed to act on an individual, a business, or a community group’s behalf, we begin by gathering as much information as we can on the proposed development. Systematically, we will delve deeper into each point and reference it with the proposal and the thoughts of the person, or people, who have instructed us. What would they like to get across and their reasoning behind these points. It is important to note however that we will only present those issues which are material planning considerations. We will not include non-material considerations such as; not liking the applicant, impact on house values and NIMBYISM to name but a few.

It is then our job to present the information in the way that we know the case officers are used to working - succinctly but with enough detail to ensure thoughts and points are clarified and supported with supplementary evidence, if applicable.

So, if you hear of a proposed development in your area and you need help navigating the rigours of the planning application process, please do feel free to get in touch and we will give you our honest opinion and, if you would like, act on your behalf too.


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