The Planning Representative(s) of the FRA receive notification of all applications for the Maidenhead area for information.
Householders are automatically notified by RBWM of planning applications for properties in their immediate area (usually next door and opposite). Plans can cover extensions, new external facilities such as garages or swimming pools, change of use of the property, or merely tree treatment requiring approval.
Within the Estate, the FRA only really comment on planning applications when approached by a number of residents significantly affected by a particular development, and /or when the property is in the conservation area, and of course if any redevelopments have caused issues with any of the estate roads and verges. The Committee use the following criteria to assess whether the FRA should make representation:-
- Is there a significant number of neighbours who wish for an objection to be made?
- Are the grounds for an objection justified against local and national planning guidelines, and local development strategies?
- Possibly in the absence of 1), does a development represent a precedent which, if repeated would change the nature of the area for the worse in an identifiable manner?
- Is the property within (or adjacent to) the Riverside Conservation Area, and does it comply with the extra criteria required?
Typical grounds for objection would be footprint size (flooding risk); proximity of building to neighbouring properties; height relative to surrounding buildings and positioning of windows/terraces; infringement of statutory angular views from windows; encroachment onto verges; impact on driving lines of sight; etc
This is not an exhaustive list, but hopefully one that our residents find reasonable, given the nature of planning request conflicts that arise regularly. As a guiding principle we wish to see everyone living here having the freedom to enjoy their own property, without impinging in unacceptable ways on the rights of their neighbours to live in, and access, their property.
Flood Zones and what they mean for development
Flood zones have been created by the Environment Agency to be used within the planning process as a starting point in determining how likely somewhere is to flood. The most important thing to remember is a flood zone is predominantly a planning tool and doesn’t necessarily mean somewhere will or won’t flood.
Different types of development have been classified as being either acceptable or unacceptable for each of the flood zones based on the vulnerability classification it’s assigned. This is based on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
The Council are best placed to advise on the constantly-changing rules that govern the process of determining planning applications. At the Town Hall appointments can be made to meet the designated Duty Planning Officer without much notice. The Planning Officer should be able to give you all the guidance you need to conform with the latest local regulations.
Notwithstanding the legal position, it is always good practice to discuss your plans with your immediate neighbours, and the local FRA planning representative.
One piece of advice that we would issue as a generality is that it is “your responsibility” to ensure that any approval received conforms with all regulations, not just those of the planning function. Highways aspects are not always dealt with by planning approval, so plans passed by the Planning Department my fall foul of Highways restrictions. Likewise, the Environment Agency should always be consulted about riverside development work, as they can override the local authority.