Comment on planning applications
An important part of the planning process is the involvement of local people, organisations and businesses making their views known about planning applications.
You can support, object or make general comments about an application.
To allow us to make decisions, we must be provided with relevant personal data to permit us to evaluate the impact of any development or policies in the Local Plan when undertaking its planning functions. For example, the address of a representor’s property will be relevant in this context. Representations which are entirely anonymised are unable to be given any substantive weight in the process since it is not possible to establish the harm or otherwise from a scheme to the representor’s property or amenities where the location of the property is not disclosed.
Only certain issues can be taken into account, which are known as 'material planning considerations'.
This page provides information on neighbour consultation and what constitutes a valid material consideration and issues that are not considered relevant to the decision making process for planning applications.
Publicising planning applications
We publicise planning applications in a variety of ways, including site notices, neighbour notification letters and in certain circumstances, press adverts, depending on the location. During the consultation period, which is shown on the planning register, a planning application decision notice cannot be issued.
Who can comment
Anyone can submit a representation on a planning application during the consultation period.
We are unable to record or consider comments if they:
- are made verbally
- are made in person
- are made by telephone
- are posted onto any social media web pages, including our own pages
- contain offensive, defamatory or discriminatory language
Representations can be statements of support, objection or general comments about an application. However, if the representation is a statement of objection, only certain issues (known as material planning considerations) will be taken into account in deciding the planning application. When making a representation, please avoid making any statements that could compromise the security of your premises, such as holiday dates or details of when the property is left empty.
Material planning considerations
Issues that can be considered to form a valid objection to an application and be taken into account include the following. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other material planning considerations may exist.
- local, strategic and national planning policies, plus emerging new plans that have been through at least one stage of consultation
- government circulars, orders, statutory instruments, guidance and advice
- previous planning and appeal decisions, plus principles of case law held through the courts
- overshadowing and loss of light based on Building Research Establishment guidance
- overlooking and loss of privacy
- highway issues, including traffic generation, vehicular access and highway safety
- noise and disturbance from proposed use, including operating hours
- smells and fumes
- storage and handling of hazardous materials
- effect on listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments and archaeology
- loss or effect on trees
- adverse impacts on nature conservation interests and biodiversity
- layout and density of building design, visual appearance and finishing materials
- landscaping and means of enclosure
In the course of reaching a decision on the application, each relevant material consideration is given weight according to its seriousness and relative importance. In dealing with issues raised, if a suitable planning condition can be used to overcome problems, we are required to consider this option as an alternative to refusing the application.
Non-material planning considerations
Issues that are not relevant to the decision making process and cannot be taken into account include the following (please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-material planning considerations may exist):
- loss of view
- negative impact on property value
- land and boundary disputes between neighbours and/or damage to property
- private rights of access and covenants
- the impact of construction work
- opposition to business competition
- personal morals or views about the applicant
- opposition to the principle of development if this has been decided by an outline planning permission or appeal decision.
- matters controlled under other non-planning legislation, for example, building regulations
Making representations on a planning application
Neighbour consultation letters are issued against planning applications. If you are in receipt of a consultation letter, you can follow the link directing you to our online comments portal.
We receive thousands of comments on applications each year, so it is not possible to acknowledge receipt of, or to respond to, your comments directly and it is our policy not to do so. You can, however, be assured that all valid comments are considered.
Due to the amount of comments we receive, our preferred method of receiving comments is via our online portal (by following the link below, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.)
What happens to my comments?
Your contact details and comment are recorded on our secure planning system.
If you have requested to be entirely anonymised, only your comment will be recorded.
We operate a policy where we do not publish any neighbour comments on our website. Our online planning register records numbers of objections, in support and general comment received. No neighbour addresses are published.
If an application is decided by the development control committee you will be advised of the date, time and location of the meeting and whether you have a right to speak at it in line with the current policy. If you have submitted an anonymous comment, we will not be able to inform you of any committee and/or appeal details.
Details of the important dates relating to the application, including the target date for its determination and the outcome, can be found on the online planning register so we will not formally notify you of the outcome of an application.
All written responses and comments on planning applications will be recorded. Specific reasons as to why you gave this response are useful with the decision making. Multiple responses from the same individual will only be counted as 1 response.
If the application goes to appeal, the Planning Inspectorate will need sight of all comments. These will be redacted (personal details removed) and provided to the Planning Inspectorate.