Protecting the quality of our local environment is one of FBWRA’s key objectives. Members of the Committee monitor planning applications made to the Council, and, when considered appropriate, will lodge comments or an objection to an application.
The Council receives a large number of applications and we receive a weekly list of applications from the Council.
Our general approach is that we do not have the resources to review every application, and so we focus on applications for change of use ( for example for permission to convert a house into flats, which can be the start of a process of fundamental change in the character of a road or area) and for new buildings. Usually we do not look at what the Council categorise as “Householder Applications”- applications for extensions and the like, because first these are very numerous and secondly to properly review them requires a level of detailed knowledge of the property concerned and its immediate neighbours that we do not possess.
When we do review an application we will generally focus on whether we consider it complies with the Council’s published planning policies- for example, those relating to provision of outdoor amenity space and off-street parking, although we have neither the resources or the technical knowledge to review an application against all of the Council’s policies- which are very extensive ( and which is the job of the Council).
In making representations with regard to an application we will usually do so by way of an email to the planning officer responsible for dealing with the application, and sometimes to Councillors as well, rather than by using the Council’s on-line facility for public comments ( often what we want to say will be too long for the on-line facility to accommodate).
The Council’s on-line facility is https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/planning-conservation-and-building-control/submit-a-planning-application/view-or-comment-on-a-planning-application.html The Council Planning home page is https://www.barnet.gov.uk/citizen-home/planning-conservation-and-building-control.html
We also look at and comment on proposed changes in the Council’s planning policies- for example in 2017 and 2018 we ( working jointly with the Finchley Society) were heavily involved in reviewing and commenting on the “North Finchley Town Centre Framework Supplementary Planning Document” (which the Council adopted in February 2018) When it is published in 2019 we will be looking at the draft of the new Barnet Local Plan.