PPS 1: General Principles
Development Control: Other Material Considerations
49. Material planning 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 planning policies and the surrounding circumstances. All the fundamental factors involved in land-use planning constitute a material consideration. This includes such things as the number, size, layout, siting, design and external appearance of buildings and the proposed means of access, together with landscaping, impact on the neighbourhood and the availability of infrastructure. Relevant considerations will vary from circumstance to circumstance and from application to application.
50. The Department's planning policy publications are material considerations and due regard will be paid to them. Emerging policies, in the form of draft statements and strategies that are in the public domain, may also be regarded as material considerations, although less weight will be ascribed to them than to final publications. Supplementary planning guidance may be taken into account as a material consideration in determining a planning application and the weight accorded to such guidance will increase if it has been prepared in consultation with the District Council and the public.
51. The Department will base its decisions on planning applications on planning grounds alone. It will not use its planning powers to secure objectives achievable under non-planning legislation, such as the Building Regulations or the Water Act. The grant of planning permission does not remove the need for any other consents, nor does it imply that such consents will necessarily be forthcoming. However, provided a consideration is material in planning terms, it will be taken into account, notwithstanding the fact that other regulatory machinery may exist.
52. The planning system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another, although private interests may coincide with the public interest in some cases. It can be difficult to distinguish between public and private interests, but this may be necessary on occasions. The basic question is not whether owners and occupiers of neighbouring properties would experience financial or other loss from a particular development, but whether the proposal would unacceptably affect amenities and the existing use of land and buildings that ought to be protected in the public interest. Good neighbourliness and fairness are among the yardsticks against which development proposals can be measured.