A material planning consideration is one which is relevant to making the planning decision in question (e.g. whether to grant or refuse an application for planning permission).
The scope of what can constitute a material consideration is very wide. However, in general planning is concerned with land use in the public interest, so that the protection of purely private interests such as the impact of a development on the value of a neighbouring property or loss of private rights to light could not be material considerations.
The most common material considerations include (this list is not exhaustive):
- local, strategic, regional and national planning policies
- Government circulars, orders and statutory instruments
- previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
- design, visual appearance, and materials
- layout and density of buildings
- loss of daylight or sunlight
- overshadowing/loss of outlook (but not loss of view)
- overlooking/loss of privacy
- noise and disturbance from use
- light pollution
- highway safety issues
- traffic generation
- vehicular access
- adequacy of parking
- loss of important trees
- nature conservation
- intrusion into the open countryside/ Green Belt
- risk of flooding
- effect of Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
- hazardous materials and ground contamination
- disabled persons access
Many concerns are not normally material considerations or, if they are, can be given little weight in the planning application process. These include:
- loss of view
- loss of property value
- breach of restrictive covenant
- loss of trade to a competitor
- the level of profit a developer might make
- personal circumstances of the applicant (in most cases)
- moral objections e.g. to uses such as amusement arcades and betting offices
- matters controlled under Building Regulations or other non-planning laws, e.g. structural stability, drainage, fire precautions etc.
- private issues between neighbours e.g. land/boundary disputes, Party Wall Act, damage to property, private rights of way, covenants etc.
- problems arising from the construction period of any works, e.g. noise, dust, construction vehicles, hours of work etc.
- the development is already completed