The Built Environment Group’s purpose is to help maintain or enhance the quality of the built environment of Petersfield, its buildings, streets and urban spaces. The members of the Group are architects and planners, all with a broad knowledge of the local area.

Probably the main function of BEG is to monitor and comment on Planning applications for development in Petersfield and, sometimes, the local villages. Most of the applications for development in the town are of a relatively minor nature, house extensions or single dwellings, but others are for more major proposals. The Group will comment on and object to proposals which it considers are not in accordance with the policies set down in adopted Plans.  In Petersfield the adopted Plans are the South Downs Local Plan and the Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan; and at national level, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

Often the prime consideration of any proposal is design; even small house extensions should be designed well, and fit in with the surroundings. The NPPF and the Local plans all contain policies requiring good design. Consequently many of the Groups comments about planning applications will be about design.

One of the responsibilities of The Petersfied Town Council  is to comment on all Planning Applications in the Parish, and forward those comments to the Planning Authority. Some years ago the Town Council invited the Society to help it with those comments, so every three weeks the Built Environment Group reviews the list of Planning Applications and sends comments to the Town Council; those notes may help the Town  Councillors in their deliberations.

The Society also holds three or four Open Forums through the year and the Built Environment Group will host some of these.

The Society also comments on Local Plans as they go through the public consultation process (for instance the South Downs local Plan), and it was very involved with the development and preparation of the Petersfield Neighbourhood Plan. It also liaises with officers of both the South Downs National Park Authority and East Hampshire District Council.

The Built Environment Group consist of a mix of working and retired architects and planners, all with a broad knowledge of the local area and a technical knowledge of the various local and national policy frameworks. We welcome enquiries and participation from all, regardless of qualification.

Anthony Allen

Group convenor