Planning Application Consultations
Local planning authorities are required to undertake a formal period of public consultation, prior to deciding a planning application. This is prescribed in article 15 of the Development Management Procedure Order. There are separate arrangements for listed buildings and/or Conservation Areas which are set out in regulation 5 and regulation 5A of the Listed Buildings and Conservation Area Regulations 1990 (as amended).
Generally, most planning applications are subject to some form of mandatory consultation that has to be undertaken by the local planning authority for a period of normally 21 days and can include one or more of the following, depending on the nature of the application and the legal requirements:
- A neighbour notification letter sent to owner/occupiers of adjoining properties by post.
- A site notice displayed on or near the land to which the application relates which is visible to the public.
- An advertisement in a local newspaper
How can comments be made?
Comments may be submitted by email, post or online via our website using our online planning searches facility. For comments to be taken into account they must be made in writing and include the name and address of the person making the comments.
We are unable to take into account comments made over the telephone.
The best way to comment on a current application is by using our website. Simply use our online planning searches facility to find the application you are interested in and, if the 21 day consultation period is still open, within the Comments Tab there will be a link reading 'Login and make a comment'. Your comments can then be typed in and sent directly into our system.
You can email your views to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please quote the application number (for example, 20170001) in the subject field and make it as clear to us as possible whether you are objecting, supporting or commenting on an application. You will be sent an acknowledgement of your email within a few minutes.
Write to us
You can also write to us at the address shown on the letter or at the bottom of our website. You should post your comments to us as soon as possible. As with emailed comments always clearly quote the unique reference number (for example, 20170001) and make it clear to us whether you are objecting, supporting or commenting on an application.
Please note that under the Local Government (Access to Information) Act 1985, your comments, including your name and address are open to inspection by the public, and in the event of an appeal, may be referred to the Secretary of State. Comments received may be published on the Council's website. For this reason we recommend that you put any personal details such as your telephone number and email address on a separate piece of paper.
What can be taken into account?
In assessing planning applications, the Council can only take into account comments that concern relevant material planning considerations and not those based on personal dislikes, grievances, non-planning issues associated with nuisance claims or legal disputes, etc.
Examples of material considerations can include:
- Siting, design and external appearance of the proposed development (e.g. height or bulk in relation to neighbouring properties)
- Loss of sunlight or daylight
- Loss of privacy
- Likelihood of undue noise, or fumes
- Adequacy of proposed parking and access arrangements
- Effect of extra traffic
- Effect on trees
- Landscaping and proposals for boundary treatment (walls or fences)
Objections which are generally not planning related and which normally cannot be taken into account include:
- Effect on property values
- Effect on structural stability (this may be covered by the Building regulations)
- Noise, disturbance or inconvenience resulting from construction works (this is covered by the Control of Pollution Act)
- Boundary disputes (including Party Wall agreement issues)
- Restrictive covenants (including rights to light)
- Opposition to business competition
- Applicant's personal circumstances (unless these can be shown to be relevant in planning terms e.g. provision of disabled facilities)
- Opposition to the principle of development for which outline planning permission has already been granted
If you have a complaint related to any of these issues, you should normally seek a remedy under civil law rather than planning law. You may need to consult a solicitor about your rights in this context.
What happens to comments when they are received?
All comments received are read and, where they relate to planning matters, taken into account in the determination of the application they relate to. A summary of comments received is included in the planning officers' report and where appropriate the comments will be referred to by the planning officer.
Any comments received from statutory and non-statutory consultees are also specifically referred to within the report.