Material Planning Considerations

When a decision is made on a planning application, only certain issues are taken into account; these are commonly referred to as 'material planning considerations'.


Issues that may be relevant to the decision (please note that this list is not necessarily exhaustive and there may be further material planning considerations not included here):


  • Local, strategic and national planning policies and policies in the Development Plan:
  • Emerging new plans which have already been through at least one stage of public consultation;
  • Pre-application planning consultation carried out by, or on behalf of, the applicant;
  • Government and Planning Inspectorate requirements - circulars, orders, statutory instruments, guidance and advice;
  • Previous appeal decisions and planning inquiry reports;
  • Principles of Case Law held through the Courts;
  • Loss of sunlight (based on Building Research Establishment guidance);
  • Overshadowing/loss outlook to the detriment of residential amenity (though not loss of view as such);
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy;
  • Highway issues: traffic generation, vehicular access, highway safety;
  • Noise or disturbance resulting from use, including proposed hours of operation;
  • Smell and fumes;
  • Capacity of physical infrastructure, e.g. in the public drainage or water systems;
  • Deficiencies in social facilities e.g. spaces in schools;
  • Storage and handling of hazardous materials and development of contaminated land;
  • Loss or effect on trees;
  • Adverse impact on nature conservation interests & biodiversity opportunities;
  • Effect on listed buildings and conservation areas;
  • Incompatible or unacceptable uses;
  • Local financial consideration offered as a contribution or grant;
  • Layout and density of building design, visual appearance and finishing materials;
  • Inadequate or inappropriate landscaping or means of enclosure.


The weight attached to material considerations in reaching a decision is a matter of judgement of the decision-takers, however, the decision-taker is required to demonstrate that, in reaching that decision, they have considered all relevant matters.

Generally, greater weight is attached to issues raised which are supported by evidence rather than solely by assertion.

If an identified problem can be dealt with by means of a suitable condition, then the Local Planning Authority (West Berkshire Council) is required to consider this rather than by issuing a refusal.


Issues that are not relevant to the decision (please note that there are additional non-material planning considerations not included in this list): 


  •  Matters controlled under building regulations or other non-planning legislation e.g. structural stability, fire precautions, matters covered by licences etc;
  • Private issues between neighbours e.g. land/boundary disputes, damage to property private rights of access, covenants, ancient and other rights to light etc;
  • Opposition to the principle of development when this has been settled by an outline planning permission or appeal;
  • Applicant's personal circumstances (unless exceptionally and clearly relevant e.g. provision of facilities for someone with a physical disability);
  • Previously made objections/representations regarding another site or application;
  • Factual misrepresentation of the proposal;
  • Opposition to business competition;
  • Loss of property value;
  • Loss of view.