Frequently Asked Questions

These questions primarily relate to the SWDP Proposed Submission Consultation that is running from 11th January to 22nd February 2013.

1 Can representations on a development plan document be made confidentially?

The local planning authority cannot treat the representations it receives as confidential as the examination is a public process. This will also help to make sure that you have a chance to identify other people who may have made a representation similar to yours.

2 What is the nature of the legal right to be heard?

You only have the right to be heard if you are seeking a change to the document. If your representation is in support of the development plan document, you cannot speak to the inspector unless invited. The inspector will decide how you will be heard.

If you want to use this right, you should consider how going to the examination, rather than setting out your case in writing, will help the inspector decide whether the document is sound. Written representations are treated with equal importance to examination appearances.

3 Do representations opposing a development plan document have to be related to the tests of soundness?

No, but it will help the inspector considerably in the examination process if your representation seeking a change to the document focuses on the tests of soundness. Your representations should aim to show why the document is unsound and what changes you think are needed to make it sound.

4 Will the inspector help me to make my representation at the examination?

Inspectors will make sure that people who are not familiar with an oral hearing are properly guided though the process. However, the inspector must be fair to other people who might not share your views and can only offer limited help.

5 Who will pay my costs if I go to the examination?

Everyone who goes to a discussion or hearing will be responsible for meeting their own costs.

6 Will I be able to identify specifically how my representation has been dealt with in the inspector’s report?

The report will not summarise any representations considered at the examination. It will focus on whether the development plan document is sound overall, which the inspector’s conclusions will cover.

7 What if I want to challenge the adopted development plan document?

Any person may challenge an adopted development plan document if they do not think that it meets the conditions of the relevant legislation. Applications must be made to the High Court within six weeks of the date of the authority advertising that the development plan document has been adopted.

You should get legal advice before starting this process.

8 How can I find out more information?

Please either contact the SWDP team directly or follow the web links that can provide further helpful information:

Planning Portal                   www.planningportal.gov.uk
Planning Advisory Service    www.pas.gov.uk
Planning Aid                       www.rtpi.org.uk/planning-aid

The SWDP authorities are not responsible for the content of external sites. Inclusion of links here should not be read as endorsement of any advice contained on external sites.