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The purpose of the planning system is to protect amenity and the environment in the public interest.
Within the framework of legislation approved by Parliament, West Oxfordshire District Council through the development control process try to ensure that development is allowed where it is needed, while ensuring that the character and amenity of the area are not adversely affected by new buildings or changes in the use of existing buildings and land.
It is not designed to protect the interests of one person over another. Decisions on planning applications will be based mainly on the policies and proposals in the Development Plan, which in this district, comprises the South East Plan and the West Oxfordshire Local Plan. There must be exceptional reasons for reaching a decision contrary to the Development Plan.
Development control includes processing planning applications, enforcing planning legislation and providing general advice on planning matters. It must not be confused with building control, which ensures that new buildings are properly constructed in accordance with Building Regulations. This is dealt with separately by the Building Control Section.
Overall responsibility for development control in the District lies with the Council's Development Control Committee. For administrative purposes the District is divided on a geographical basis into two areas - Uplands and Lowlands. To find out which parish is in which area, please view the 'Uplands and Lowlands' document.
For each area there is an Area Sub-Committee which undertakes responsibility for development control in that part of the District. For more information on the staff serving these Sub-Committees please view our contact details.
The District Council currently considers over 2000 planning applications per annum. These range from small householder extensions to new office units and other larger developments. In practice, approximately one third of all decisions on planning applications are taken by the Area Sub-Committees. The remaining more minor applications are dealt with under the Scheme of Delegation.
The task of professional planning officers is to carefully assess each application to make sure it complies with national, county and local planning requirements and policies. They also have to take into account all the representations made by technical consultees such as the Highway Authority and the Environment Agency and by the general public including neighbours.
The Area Sub-Committees meet on a monthly basis. A copy of the agenda and reports are available for public inspection five working days before the meeting.
For forthcoming meeting dates please go to the Council committee meetings section of our website located under Democracy in Your Council. By clicking on particular meetings you can view the agenda and individual reports in the 'schedule of applications for development'.
Finally, for more information on the outcome of recent planning applications please visit the Planning Application Decisions section.
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Last reviewed 02 December 2013
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