How to comment on planning applications

You can comment on, support or object to a planning application. Here’s how and how not to.

You can comment directly on to the planning application page on the Council’s website or write a letter or email. The planning notice should explain the methods you can use. 

If you want to make a strong case, refer to the Local Plan. Planning permission is given in accordance with this, so quoting policies to back up your stance is useful. If the Local Plan policies don’t support your stance, then you will need to argue why they do not apply in this specific case.

DO’s

The Council will only consider ‘material considerations’ = comments that directly relate to the proposal:

  •  the design, size and height of new buildings or extensions
  •  the impact of new uses of buildings or of land
  •  loss of light and the privacy of neighbours
  •  access for disabled people
  •  the impact of noise from plant equipment
  •    noise from new uses
  •    the impact of development on traffic parking and road safety

N.B. ‘Material considerations’ for the Council include:

  • Presumption in favour of sustainable development (this is quite new)
  • Government policy (national, regional and local)
  • Opinions put forward during the application stage
  • Designation status of the surroundings e.g. Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Planning history of the site e.g. previous appeals and refusals
  • Effect of a conservation area or listed building

DON’Ts

If you do not follow the guidelines, your comments may not count. So avoid:

  • Anything  that is not about planning
  • Comments naming the applicant, e.g. ‘we do / don’t want another Foxtons in the area’
  • Comments about any personal attributes of the applicant, e.g. age, race etc.
  • Comments on the motives of the applicant e.g. ‘they want to pay for a school by selling public assets’
  • Profit likely to be made by the applicant e.g. ‘they are going to raise £100m’
  • Behaviour of the applicant e.g. ‘they haven’t listened to us’
  • Concerns about possible future development (as distinct from what is proposed in the application) e.g.  ‘you can’t do this because HS2 will come along and change it all again’
  • Any effect on neighbouring property values.
  • Issues dealt with by other forms of law e.g. party walls, Right to Light, freeholds
  • DO NOT send standard letters – keep it relevant to how it affects you
    DO NOT get lots of people to sign one letter
    DO NOT submit petitions as planning objections

How will be notified?

  • Council website 
  • Notices on lampposts near the proposed development site
  • Letters to residents directly affected by the proposed development
  • Email alerts if you register for this on the Council website