The planning system involves a range of organisations who each have a level of responsibility of development in a given area.
A hierarchical system operates amongst the planning system. The Secretary of State sets national planning policies. Regional planning is carried out by the South East Regional Assembly, with an important input from the local authorities, especially the County Councils.
East Sussex County Council prepares minerals and waste planning policies across the county. The Regional Plan sets the context for the local planning policies for Lewes District, prepared by us. Town and Parish Councils have a consultee role.
The main organisations involved in our planning system are:
Considerable power rests with the Secretary of State. Their key functions are to participate in preparation of European planning policy directives, prepare and publish national planning policy and keep it under review.
To approve regional planning guidance, consider, and if required, intervene in development plans prepared by local authorities. They intervene in major planning applications where necessary.
They determine planning appeals although most are delegated to the Planning Inspectorate. They put new planning legislation before Parliament and also confirm, or stop, statutory notices referred by local planning authorities.
The Secretary of State is also assisted by several executive agencies who carry out work on their behalf.
East Sussex County Council's planning work focuses at the strategic level. Under old planning legislation, this concentrated on preparing a Structure Plan and keeping it up to-date. It sets out the strategic policy framework covering scale and pattern of land use for development across East Sussex, or where particular developments are of more than local importance. It provides a guiding framework for the preparation of more detailed local plans by the five district councils in East Sussex.
The County Council prepare plans for minerals and waste development and to handle all planning applications related to them. They handle planning applications for their own operational development of schools, roads, fire stations, libraries and other services. We are a consultee during this process.
We focus on the local planning level. We apply relevant national and regional policies to Lewes District.
We also provide a detailed framework for the consideration of planning applications. This gives local businesses, public services and the general public with a basis for long term planning. We bring planning issues before the public and give them the opportunity to shape planning policy.
The majority of planning applications are determined by us as the Local Planning Authority. These can include house extensions up to major commercial and industrial developments. In some cases these are determined by East Sussex County Council as the Planning Authority. Here our role is only one of consultee.
From 1 April 2011, The South Downs National Park Authority becomes the planning authority for part of the district. Whilst they will delegate the power to determine applications back to us, the Park Authority may call-in some applications and make the final decision in some instances.
We handle applications related to listed buildings, trees, outdoor advertisement displays and are involved in a range of conservation and enhancement initiatives. Our Code is incorporated in the Council's Constitution, for Councillors and Officers involved in operating the planning system. This sets out the arrangements for probity and propriety in handling planning matters.
Town and Parish Councils are consultees, indicating views to the District and County Councils, rather than making planning decisions themselves. There is a statutory right for Town and Parish Councils to be informed by local planning authorities of any planning applications in their area.
The Town or Parish Council/Meeting then has a statutory 14 day period in which to make their views known. However, we extend our response period to 21 days to give more time for local views to be submitted.
The Town and Parish Councils are also consultees on draft planning policies affecting their areas, and many of them are active in local conservation and enhancement works.
Lewes District Council and the Lewes District Association of Local and Parish Councils have an agreed code of practice with a number of protocols concerning liaison over planning matters.
There are also a range of Government executive agencies that also have special roles within the system. These include:
The Planning Inspectorate determine most planning appeals and make recommendations on others. It also run inquiries and examinations on Development Plans, Compulsory Purchase Orders and Footpath Diversions.
English Heritage give specialist advice on listed buildings, conservation areas, ancient monuments, historic parks and gardens.
Promote high standards of design in new buildings and spaces and pride in the local environment.
Give specialist advice on nature conservation, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, National and Local Nature Reserves, biodiversity, National Parks, AONBs, Heritage Coasts, National Trails, and social and economic development in rural areas.
Sport England give advice on sport and recreation provision in the planning system.
Air and water quality, flood defence, water resource management, pollution control, fisheries, ecology and recreation.