What is a site visit?

At the Planning and Access Committee a written report is submitted to the Members. The Planning Officer will explain the application on the day, outlining any particular issues arising from the application and show pictures of the development site.

On occasion, describing the issues and showing pictures isn’t sufficient to assess the application fully, in which case a visit to the site is needed.

The decision to make a site visit is taken at Committee. Officers can either recommend a site visit or the Members will decide that one is necessary. The Committee may decide to invite an officer from another organisation to the site visit e.g. Highways Department, Environment Agency etc., to answer any technical queries they may have.

Site visits are conducted by inspection panels. The National Park Authority has two inspection panels – the north and south panels.

The Committee Members are divided between both inspection panels.

How is a site visit arranged?

After a meeting of the Planning Committee, all the applications that require a site visit will be divided between the north and south inspection panels (depending on location) and a timetable of visits drawn up.

Officers will then contact the applicant and / or their agent as soon as possible to inform them of the visit (at least 24 hours notice is given), and the officers will also invite representatives from any other organisations as decided by the Committee.

What happens at a site visit?

All inspection panels are accompanied by a Planning Officer.

At each site, the Chairman takes responsibility for conducting an orderly and efficient visit. Members will inspect the site paying particular emphasis on the areas of concern, and will discuss the issues arising.

The Chairman may ask the applicant or their agent (if in attendance) factual questions about the application. In the same way, any representatives from other organisations present may be asked to explain technical information relevant to the application.

The inspection panel will then usually come to a conclusion as to their views, which is submitted to the next Planning Committee.

Can I attend a site visit?

Site visits are not advertised publicly by the developer, and most take place on private land. As a member of the public you cannot generally attend a site visit unless you have had a prior invitation.

Can I address the Inspection Panel?

As a rule there is no opportunity for members of the public to address the inspection panel on site.

There are other opportunities for submitting comments on the planning application. You can submit written comments during the consultation period, and can then submit a request to address the Planning Committee.