All decisions to grant or refuse a planning application in the Bedford Park Conservation Area are taken by the planning committees of Ealing and Hounslow councils or, for smaller schemes, under delegated authority by officers. Councillors have the right to request a call-in for further consideration although this is rarely exercised for residential applications.
Decisions are guided by a legislative planning framework, which lays down guidelines for appropriate development for listed buildings and conservation areas. This framework includes both national planning legislation and local plans drawn up by each borough.
Three of the Society’s Planning Committee members serve on the Conservation Area Advisory Panel set up by Ealing Council to comment on all new applications and in Hounslow the Society (through the same three Society members) is directly invited by the Council to comment on planning applications, thereby ensuring consistency of approach throughout the conservation area. The Society’s comments are always consistent with what is laid down in the national and local legislation and guidance.
Individual residents also have the right to comment directly to the relevant Council.
The local authorities refer all planning submissions for work in the conservation area to the Society. They may take account of comments from the Society but they are not obliged to do so. Applicants have the right to appeal against the refusal of their application.
The Society has always taken the view that some change is inevitable and indeed necessary, if Bedford Park is to continue as a vibrant community. It does not want to preserve the past intact, but is concerned to ensure that the estate’s unique architectural qualities are not compromised. It is continually monitoring developments in building technology – particular anything, which reduces the carbon footprint – which householders might be able to incorporate within these constraints. The members of the Society’s Planning Committee have unrivalled expertise and experience in Bedford Park buildings and are also able to draw on the advice or support of Historic England.
The Society’s aim is to protect the character of the area, to encourage the sympathetic design of alterations and additions, and to encourage owners to consider the importance of boundary fences, mature trees and open spaces in keeping the character of the street scene. Our intention is to assist sensitive analysis and decision making, not to prescribe a single solution. There is often a case for more than one design detail to be appropriate in particular circumstances.
Every proposal is looked at individually, with neighbours’ views also taken into consideration. In 2015 the Society commented on 38 applications to Ealing Council and 34 to Hounslow with responses having to be made within the tight timeframe of only three weeks.
The committee’s help is freely available to members who live within the conservation area and members are encouraged to contact the Society prior to making planning applications. To contact the Society email: firstname.lastname@example.org.