Factors: Material considerations
Material considerations must be genuine planning considerations, i.e. they must be related to the purpose of planning legislation, which is to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest.
The considerations must also fairly and reasonably relate to the application concerned. Much will depend on the nature of the application under consideration, the relevant planing policies and the surrounding circumstances. All the fundamental factors involved in land-use planning constitute a material consideration. This includes the number, size, layout, design and external appearance of buildings and the proposed means of access, together with landscaping, impact on the neighbourhood and the availability of infrastructure.
The following are material considerations although this list is not exhaustive.
- The Planning Policy Context
- Power to impose conditions
- Natural Justice
- Public Opinion
- Consultations responses
- Existing site uses and features
- Layout, Design and Amenity Matters
- Resources and Economic Factors
- Social and Economic Matters
- Alternative Sites
- Issues affecting Human Rights
- Planning gain
- The Planning History
While initially it is for the Department to consider whether a consideration is material, it is ultimately a matter for the courts to decide. As regards the weight to be given to the various considerations, the courts have held that this is a matter for planning judgement.