I wonder if your readers are aware of the recent change to the Notice of planning applications, which regularly appears on page two of the Property Section of your newspaper.
For a great many years the Notice (which is inserted and paid for by the Planning Department) contained a list with brief details of all planning applications received by Horsham District Council, thus informing your readers of any possible development in their locality.
Now, however, only a very small number of applications are listed - those relating to major development, or to listed buildings, or to development in a conservation area. This means that applications for permission to build fewer than five houses, extensions etc, are no longer shown.
I am not aware that the Planning Department has given any publicity to the change and I fear that your readers may well have continued to believe that, as in past years, the list is comprehensive. I would guess, however, that possibly 80 per cent of all applications are now no longer mentioned at all.
The Planning Department maintain that it is under no statutory obligation to provide a comprehensive list and it says the change has been made in the interests of saving money.
Winterpick Corner, Mannings Heath
A Horsham District Council spokesperson said: “The purpose of publicising planning applications is to provide members of the public with notification of development which may affect them so that their views can be taken into consideration when determining applications. For this reason all applications are publicised on our website.
“However, in order to continue to provide best value for residents, we have reviewed our expenditure on advertising public notices in the local press which currently costs in excess of £20,000 each year. As a result we will be publicising only those applications which we are required by law to do so by way of a press notice.
“These will be for: a major development; development within or affecting a conservation area; development affecting a listed building; development not in accordance with the provisions of the development plan; development affecting a right of way to which Part III of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (Public Rights of Way) applies; development which is subject of an EA Schedule 1 or 2 application accompanied by an Environmental Statement.
“We are currently inviting tenders from organisations interested in advertising public notices and we expect this process to be complete by early September. We will publicise the change to the public notices at the appropriate time. In the meantime, residents can continue to view all planning applications online.’’