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The Belgravia Society

 Planning and Developments

Belgravia Society Planning Committee
Planning and development are major issues in all communities. Although the Society’s interests cover a wide spectrum of life in Belgravia from bees to blue plaques, from licensing hours to Crossrail 2 our planning team are well qualified due to their personal or professional knowledge and experience to deal with these issues.

Since the Society was founded in 2009, we have received the weekly lists of all planning applications in the area. In this week’s list, we counted 18 applications in Belgravia. Most were minor matters dealing with changes to windows, air conditioning units and the like. Some were of more consequence. However, any one of them could adversely affect our residents.

Although planning applications are required for alterations and additions to a property where they are of some substance, and because we live in a conservation area where there are many listed buildings, more controls apply. Indeed, Grosvenor has considerable control, in some cases even more than the City of Westminster.

Legally, there is a presumption in favour of planning applications. If an application complies with planning regulations, the local planning requirements and the other policies that apply to it, planning consent will normally be granted. It is not our policy to object to minor applications unless our residents want to object and ask for our help. The reason is that very often we cannot tell from an application whether there will be any adverse effect. For example, a new window may be innocuous, but it may cause some problem to a particular individual. An air-conditioning unit may look perfectly alright, but it may cause a noise nuisance. Only you can tell us.

Residents living near a property where planning permission is being applied for, should be notified by the local authority. This gives you the opportunity of considering whether it adversely affects you and whether you should object to it. The Society is well-placed to advise you.

In respect of larger developments, our policy is to engage with developers in order to try to ensure that applications are carefully considered and matters affecting local people are taken into account at the very earliest stages. These discussions will take place before an application is actually made. We also monitor what is going on after the development starts, by participating in the consultative process. The larger developers accept that this is necessary to ensure they have local community support. The consultative process is helpful to ensure that the developers do not cause undue nuisance and that they act within the terms and conditions of the planning consents, codes of building practice and in compliance with the building management schemes agreed with the City of Westminster.

Unfortunately, not all builders behave responsibly or considerately. Complaints are quite frequent

However, Belgravia has its own dedicated Enforcement Officer employed by The City of Westminster. The job is funded from the ward budget that your Councillors can direct and for which we thank them. The current officer is Laura Besly. She can be contacted through the Planning Enforcement Team at Westminster City Hall on the following telephone number:- 020 7641 7268. We are in contact with her and know that she does sterling work to ensure that the problems are minimised and where appropriate, eliminated.

Information is available on how to object to planning applications and is available to our members by sending an email to

Planning@BelgraviaSociety.org

John Walker Presentation