What's it all about, then? A friend can't get an application passed because work is "not in keeping" with the local area - when most houses in the street have already had the work done. Meanwhile, near us ....
We live in a road which consists of large-ish three bedroom semis and detached houses, with quite large gardens. Two adjoining plots were bought by developers, who submitted an application to build a completely unfeasible number of houses - about 25 houses and flats, I think it was, with nowhere near enough parking, tiny gardens, and overlooking all the adjoining properties (presumably part of the game plan is to get people so fed up that they move out - the stub of road that they are planning stops abruptly at the end of the development, quite ready to stretch out along the back of the existing houses). Unsurprisingly, this application was rejected - local neighbours made the point that the existing infrastructure wasn't set up to deal with the extra homes, there weren't enough parking spaces to cope with the number of families, the properties weren't in keeping with the area and they overlooked neighbours.
So a new application was submitted, for an unfeasible number of properties that was slightly smaller than the previous unfeasible number. Residents wrote in again, and the application was rejected again. So the developers appealed to the Secretary of State. And the plans were accepted.
So what price community involvement when decisions are just going to be overriden by central government? Where are the people from central government asking about the suitability of the development? Or is it simply the case that in the drive to build the hundreds of thousands of new homes that we are told are needed in the Southeast, local objections are simply going to be steamrollered? ITWSBT.