Covering the villages of Four Elms, Hever & Markbeech

What powers does Hever Parish Council have in planning applications?

What powers does Hever Parish Council have in planning applications?

Hever Parish Council acts as a consultee for all planning applications in the parish.  Sevenoaks District Council is the planning authority and will decide whether or not an application is granted, receiving comments made by the Parish Council (but SDC have no obligation to agree with or take these comments into account) and other consultees, such as Kent Highway Services and The Environment Agency and any member of the public.

The final decision is made by the Planning Authority, not the Parish Council.

  • Parish councils are statutory consultees and have no powers to approve or reject planning applications, they can only comment (or not) on applications.
  • Parish Councils are not obliged to respond to any application it is consulted on.


Hever Parish Council will only comment on what are known as “material considerations” *

If you would like to submit a comment to Sevenoaks District Council, either for or against an application, please send a copy to the Clerk of the Parish Council (clerk@hever.org) and we will take your comments into consideration whilst discussing the application.  If you would like to know when an application will be considered by the Parish Council to share further information or give us your views, please contact the Clerk.

To view applications on the Sevenoaks District Council website, see http://pa.sevenoaks.gov.uk/online-applications, then enter the application number without the SE prefix, for example Ref. No: 09/00009/FUL, in the search box.

A summary of each and every application commented on is included on the Agendas so that it is absolutely transparent to anyone who is interested what the council has commented on, on what planning grounds, which Cllrs. were involved in the consideration (if there is any conflict of interest then the relevant Cllr. must leave the room / zoom meeting so as not to influence the discussion) and what the outcome of the application was (if already decided by SDC).


Do parish councils grant planning permission?

  • Town and parish councils are not Planning Authorities.  Town and parish councils are only statutory consultees in the planning process (for some applications)*.
  • This means that they only have the right to be informed of planning applications within the parish.
  • They cannot approve or reject planning applications.
  • They can only comment on planning applications in the same way that individuals can comment.
  • Consequently, the length of time taken to determine a planning application is governed by the local planning authority not the parish council.
  • The decision whether this is granted rests solely with the planning authority and its own deadlines for decision making.
  • It is also worth mentioning that we have no duty to respond to applications we are informed about. The planning committee consists of volunteer Councillors who have a large number of applications to consider, in addition to major planning issues e.g Local Plan, affordable housing etc.




Valid reasons for comment on a Planning Application

Comments that are clear, concise and accurate stand more chance of being accepted than those that are not. When planning applications are considered, the following matters can all be relevant. These are sometimes referred to as ‘material planning considerations’:

  • Central government policy and guidance – Acts, Circulars, Planning Policy Guidance Notes (PPGs) etc.
  • The Development Plan – and any review of the Development Plan which is underway.
  • Adopted supplementary guidance – for example, village design statements, conservation area appraisals, car parking standards.
  • Replies from statutory and non-statutory agencies (e.g. Environment Agency, Highways Authority).
  • Representations from others – neighbours, amenity groups and other interested parties so long as they relate to land use matters.
  • Effects on an area – this includes the character of an area, availability of infrastructure, density, over-development, layout, position, design and external appearance of buildings and landscaping
  • The need to safeguard valuable resources such as good farmland or mineral reserves.
  • Highway safety issues – such as traffic generation, road capacity, means of access, visibility, car parking and effects on pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Public services – such as drainage and water supply
  • Public proposals for using the same land
  • Effects on individual buildings – such as overlooking, loss of light, overshadowing, visual intrusion, noise, disturbance and smell.
  • Effects on a specially designated area or building – such as green belt, conservation areas, listed buildings, ancient monuments and areas of special scientific interest.
  • Effects on existing tree cover and hedgerows.
  • Nature conservation interests – such as protection of badgers, great crested newts etc.
  • Public rights of way
  • Flooding or pollution.
  • Planning history of the site – including existing permissions and appeal decisions.
  • A desire to retain or promote certain uses – such as playing fields, village shops and pubs.
  • Need for the development – such as a petrol station
  • Prevention of crime and disorder
  • Presence of a hazardous substance directly associated with a development
  • Human Rights Act
  • Precedent – but only where it can be shown there would be a real danger that a proposal would inevitably lead to other inappropriate development (for example, isolated housing in the countryside)

Irrelevant reasons for objection

There are certain matters which do not amount to ‘material planning considerations’ under current legislation and guidance. These matters cannot be taken into account in considering a planning application and should not be included in objections as they weaken your case:

  • Speculation over future use
  • The identity of the applicant or occupant
  • Unfair competition
  • Boundary disputes
  • Breach of covenants and personal property rights, including personal (not Public) rights of way
  • Loss of a private view
  • Devaluation of property
  • Other financial matters
  • Matters controlled by other legislation – such as internal space standards for dwellings or fire prevention
  • Religious or moral issues – such as betting shops and amusement arcades
  • The fact that the applicant does not own the land to which the application relates
  • The fact that an objector is a tenant of land where the development is proposed
  • The fact that the development has already been carried out and the applicant is seeking to regularise the situation.  People can carry out development at their own risk before getting planning permission)
  • The developer’s motives, record or reputation

Other Matters – “concerns and issues”

The person making a planning application has to provide enough information for the application to be determined. They do not have to provide every single detail before an application can be approved because certain matters can be resolved by way of conditions included as part of the permission.

Because of this, certain issues may not be considered as ‘objections’ but it is entirely reasonable for you to raise concerns on such issues and to ask to be kept informed before they are approved. These include:

  • The proposed type and colour of the materials to be used
  • The exact nature of any proposed planting or boundary treatment




Applications where the Parish Council is not a statutory consultee

DETAIL – Submission of Approval of Details

ADJ or ADJAPP – Adjoining Authority Consultations

AGRNOT – Agricultural/Forestry Notifications

DEMNOT – Demolition Consultation Demolition Notification – Details

DEDET RG5, RG9, RG10 or RG1 – Environmental Impact Assessment applications

HEDNOT – Hedgerow Removal Notification

KCCRG3, KCCRG4, DIVERT or PROW – Kent County Council consultations

LDCLBC – Lawful Development Certificate Listed Building

LDCPR – Lawful Development Certificate Proposed

NMA – Non-Material Amendments

PAE – Prior Approval Extension

PAC – Prior Approval Change of Use

WTPO, WTCA, WTREE or W5DAY – Works to Trees


More information;



www.hever.org for minutes and agendas of the planning committee meetings.

Hever Parish Council meeting. Saturday 29th May midday, Four Elms Church. This is an additional short meeting to consider and approve the annual accounts and consider one planning application.

29.05.21 FE


Please note covid regulations – all attendees to note;


The room will be well ventilated (doors and windows open).

One-way access should be provided if possible.

  • Those attending to bring own hand sanitiser
  • Ensuring everyone wears face masks (unless medically exempt)

If unable to attend, please send comments to Clerk@hever.org by midday Friday 28th May


  • Staggering arrival and exit times for staff, councillors and members of the public
  • Placing seating at least 2-metres apart
  • If papers are provided, people should be discouraged from sharing with others and asked to take the papers with them at the end of the meeting to minimise how many people handle the papers
  • Arranging seating so people are not facing each other directly.
  • All attendees to register details on arrival (for track and trace)

Affordable housing consultation May / June 2021


Hever Parish Council – affordable housing consultation. May / June 2021
Any further comments to clerk@hever.org by end of June please. Please see
www.hever.org for information. All comments received to date are recorded and will be
included. Results of consultation will be considered at Council meeting in July.
Drop in sessions to find out more / leave written
comments – Four Elms village hall
• Thursday 24th June 4 – 8pm(English Rural Housing
Association also present)
• Sunday 27th June 2 – 4pm

If you would like to book a timed slot, please contact Clerk@hever.org

Hever Parish Council have a vacancy for the Parish Council Clerk – now closed to further appilication.

Are you an organised person, want to be paid to work for your community, from home, flexibly? Hever Parish Council have a vacancy for the Parish Council Clerk.

We would like to hear from you if you have excellent computer literacy skills, the ability to multitask and provide both written and numerical support to the council and have some knowledge / interest of the area. The Clerk provides independent support to the Councillors, who vote on decisions.

The post is interesting and varied and the successful applicant will be required to provide professional guidance in respect of all aspects of the Council’s work.  It is not essential to have experience of working in Local Government.

Evening meeting attendance will be required for ~ 6 evening parish meetings / year, the rest of the hours (16 hours / week in total) can be worked flexibly.

The salary will be in the range of £10.65 – £15.37 per hour depending on experience and annual appraisal.  There is a generous pension and working from home allowance.

The Clerk provides all the administrative functions of the Council and is the principal point of contact for Hever parish residents, other local councils, contractors and professional organisations. This includes preparing minutes, agendas and project plans, all correspondence and financial matters / annual audit and planning applications.  Maintaining the parish council website / noticeboards / social media also required. The Clerk is also the Proper Officer and Responsible Financial Officer of the Council.


The Council – Hever Parish Council has 10 Councillors, who make decisions and represent ~ 1,200 residents in Four Elms, Hever and Markbeech, Kent. See www.hever.org  The Council owns and maintains two play areas / recreation grounds, one closed cemetery, a pond and surrounding bank and a large “hut”.


The Role/ The Person

The ideal candidate will have previous office based experience with a good working knowledge of IT (emails, documents and spreadsheets and the internet).  Confidence in basic accounting / finance are also required.

We are looking for someone with a professional attitude, excellent time management skills together with flexibility and a can-do, hands on, proactive attitude and who is confident that they can work on their own and their own initiative.

The ideal candidate will be a good communicator, they must have good interpersonal skills

Whilst relevant experience is preferred, specific training will be provided where required e.g. finance, planning, local government. There will be a comprehensive handover and support from the Council members and experts.


The Offer

16 hours of work / week will be flexible.   All the work is from home so it is essential to have good broadband access.  A computer / webcam will be provided and there is professional IT support.  Interested applicants should contact the Clerk asap, Charlotte Cole (clerk@hever.org) with any queries and for a formal job description and subsequently send a brief CV and set out reasons for applying in a covering letter.

The closing date for Applications is 14th May – which may close early subject to interest, with interviews being held by Zoom.  Start date asap.

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