Welcome to our introduction to the basics of planning and the role of local councils play as statutory consultees. 

The key purpose of the planning system is the control of development in the public interest.  This is governed by a range of legislation and guidance, including the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), local plans published by Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), and the Neighbourhood Development Plans created at parish level.

Over recent years the government has been taking steps to reform the planning system in England, including an update in December 2023 to the NPPF, which sets out government planning policies and a framework from which locally prepared plans can provide for sufficient housing and other development in a sustainable manner.

The NPPF update focussed on housing delivery as well as other matters and these revisions were in response to the 'Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill: reforms to national planning policy consultation.' 

Local development plans must include core strategies and policies, including a statement of community involvement, showing how and when the LPA intends to consult local communities and other stakeholders when preparing local framework documents.

Material planning considerations must be taken into account by the LPA which includes representations from statutory consultees, the public and precedents from previous planning decisions.  This is where local councils get their say but their responses must be limited to material considerations, which include things such as overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy, loss of trees, design and appearance and, proposals as in the development plan.    Use this link to visit the .GOV.UK webpage offering a plain English guide to the planning system. 

The National Association of Local Councils have this dedicated page on their website that provides information on local councils' planning powers, case studies highlighting how local councils have used the planning system to help their communities plus a range of valuable resources. 

Click on this link to view details of a series of four one hour webinars on planning being presented by Birketts Solicitors.

  • Overshadowing

  • Overlooking and loss of privacy

  • Adequate parking and servicing

  • Overbearing/nature of the proposal

  • Loss of trees

  • Loss of ecological habitats

  • Design and appearance

  • Layout and density of buildings

  • Effect on Listed Building(s) and Conservation Areas

  • Access and highway safety (highway authority views crucial)

  • Traffic generation (highway authority views crucial)

  • Noise and disturbance from the scheme

  • Public visual amenity (not loss of an individual's view)

  • Disturbance from smells

  • Flood risk (Environment Agency and Anglia Water views crucial)

  • Loss of value to provide individual's property

  • Loss of view

  • Boundary dispute

  • Private covenants or agreements

  • The applicant's personal conduct or history

  • The applicant's motives

  • Potential profit for the applicant or from the application

  • Private rights to light

  • Private rights of way

  • Damage to property

  • Disruption during construction

  • Loss of trade and competitors

  • Age, health, status, background and work patterns of objector

  • Time taken to do the work

  • Capacity of private drains

  • Building and structural techniques

  • Alcohol or gaming licences

Nationally Strategic Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs)

SALC have a dedicated webpage for information and guidance on the above - use this link to visit

Useful links

Probity in Planning

Use this link to the LGA webpage containing a publication called "Probity in planning: advice for councillors and officers making planning decisions".

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)

Use this link to the .GOV.UK webpage containing information on BNG.

Use this link to view the BNG event presented by Suffolk Wildlife Trust and Norfolk Wildlife Trust in collaboration with The Brecks Fen Edge and Rivers Landscape Partnership (BFER).

Use this link to view the slide presentation of the above event.

National Planning Policy Framework(NPPF)

Use this link to the .GOV.UK webpage containing information on the NPPF.

Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 (LURA)

Use this link to view LURA 2023  

CPRE - the Countryside Charity

Use this link to the visit their website  to find out more about their vision for a thriving, beautiful countryside for everyone

Plain English guide to the planning system

Use this link to the government page to read this guidance

Planning Advisory Service (PAS)

Use this link to visit their website to find out more about their support role in local government


Use this link to visit their website to find out more about their vision - understanding that local communities are best placed to transform lives and create a fairer society

My Community

Use this link to visit their website designed for people and organisations who are passionate about their communities.  The site includes a neighbourhood planning toolkit - access using this link

Local Planning Authorities in Suffolk


East Suffolk Council

Use this link to visit dedicated pages on planning on their website.  Please also note that East Suffolk Council hold regular parish and town council forums and publish newsletters to help parishes keep up to date.  Make sure your council is registered to receive these and updates on future forums.