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. However, 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, but we do not accept anonymous submissions and therefore a full postal address is required with all representations made.
Comments will not be recorded or considered if they:
- have incomplete addresses
- 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 using your unique reference number.
Representations can be made electronically - (by following the link below, you are agreeing to these terms and conditions.)
We receive hundreds 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.
What happens to my comments?
If you have been consulted or if you have submitted a comment, your postal address will be displayed on the public planning register.
Your contact details and comment will be recorded on our secure planning system. Your comment will not be publicly viewable, but our planning register will record numbers of objections, in support and general comment.
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.
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.