Policy consultations by Central Government: planning appeals inquiry process

Review of the planning appeals process

Update 19/09/2018

We have commented on the policy consultation by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government on the Planning Appeal Inquiries process. You can see what we have said here: Planning Appeal Inquiries process review

The review is designed to identify how processes can be improved so that “decisions can be made sooner but without compromising their quality”.

Revised National Planning Policy Framework

Update 09/05/2018

We have submitted our comments on the Government’s proposed amendments to the National Planning Policy Framework. This is an important document framing planning policies. Amongst a number of issues we have raised, we are seeking to ensure there is improved protection for the setting of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, particularly from insensitive developments which could affect its historic vistas. You can see our comments here: National Planning Policy Framework revision Kew Society comments

House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment

Update 22/02/2016

The Select Committee has now published its report, “Building better places”, which you can see here.

We are pleased to see that the Committee has picked up on several of our points, perhaps most notably recommending that financial viability assessments, often used to argue against the inclusion of affordable housing in schemes, should be published (see paras 324-336 in the report), We hope the Government will implement this recommendation – this is something we have been raising for some time, not least on the Brentford Football Stadium enabling developments where we have achieved partial disclosure through the Freedom of Information Act and appeal to the Information Commissioner.

The report also comments on delays by developers in implementing approved plans for housing development (see paras 312-323) which we raised, on the expertise needed in Council planning departments (see paras 375-376), and on the problems with allowing change of use from employment space to housing introduced by national Government which is causing problems in many parts of the country, including Kew (see paras 131-140).

Update 23/10/2015

We have taken the opportunity to submit evidence to the House of Lords Select Committee on National Policy for the Built Environment, drawing on our experience over the last few years. We have commented on the poor location proposed for the Deer Park School on the A316, difficulties in meeting affordable housing targets, the expertise we think is needed within the Council for optimal planning management, problems with loss of employment space because of Government policies on housing,  delays by developers in implementing agreed plans, and a lack of transparency in the evidence used in assessing the financial viability of schemes. You can see details of the Committee here and our submission on the questions most relevant to us here: Evidence for the House of Lords Select Committee.

You can watch the oral evidence given to the Committee by David Tittle, a Trustee of Civic Voice to which we belong here:Oral evidence

This is an important consultation drawn to our attention by the London Forum which will be featuring the Kew Society in its next Newsletter.

Superfast broadband

Update 26/3/2013

Together with the Richmond Society we drafted a response to the Government’s consultation on speeding up the process for roll-out of superfast broadband around the country. The Government proposed relaxing the current restrictions on deployment of overhead infrastructure in protected areas and removing requirements for prior approval of the siting of street cabinets. The Government’s view is that these relaxations in planning law are needed in order to speed up deployment, especially in rural communities. We do not think the relaxations are necessary and are concerned that they could mean unsightly deployment of street cabinets and overhead lines. Commercial providers should engage with communities through local authorities to demonstrate they have given due weight to environmental issues. The process of approval could be speeded up by the development of guidelines and a Code of Practice which Civic Voice, the national body of civic societies, has already offered to help develop. We submitted comments in a joint letter from the Richmond and Kew Societies on 4 March 2013.

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Event Information:

  • The Kew Society Policies


    The Society monitors all planning applications made in Kew as well as others in the surrounding area that could affect Kew. We comment as appropriate. We sometimes give evidence when required at planning appeals to the Planning Inspectorate. More information on planning


    The Society is aware of the risk to the local environment from noise, light and air pollution, over-development and litter. All green spaces have been listed and most of them have been given action plans in conjunction with the biodiversity plans of the Ecology department of Richmond Council. We are keen to ensure that Kew remains a pleasant and healthy place in which to live.


    The Society supports the campaign for strong local policing to ensure that crime and vandalism (especially graffiti) in Kew is kept under control.


    The Society supports the Transport for London policy to increase the availability and accessibility of public transport, in order to reduce our reliance on personal transport. The Society also supports Richmond Council's transport policies for enforcement of speed limits and the safety of all road users.

    The Society understands the need for a strong air transport industry, but will continue to lobby for a balance between commerce and the thousands of individuals who will bear the burden of increased air traffic in the Heathrow area.

    Leisure and Sport

    Kew and Richmond are relatively well provided with sports facilities, playgrounds, parks, walks and open spaces. But the Society is concerned to observe that there has been a significant physical deterioration in many of these amenities in the last few years. The Society supports efforts to preserve open spaces and maintain facilities, particularly in the face of rising population pressures in Kew.


    The Society recognises the importance of education and therefore supports action to enhance and develop local schools and the Kew library.


    Kew is home to many elderly people and, with forecasts for large population increases, the Society wants to ensure that enough local practitioners are available to enable residents to obtain appointments without long waits.