How to object to a planning application

Are you concerned about a planning application that has been submitted by your neighbour or a local developer? This is our guide to making effective representations on a planning application. 

  • Visit the Council’s website, or pop into the Town Hall, and get a copy of the plans. It is virtually impossible to provide accurate comments without knowing exactly what is proposed. If the plans are difficult to understand, ask for assistance from the duty planner.
  • Look into the Council’s planning policies. There can be a confusingly large number of policy documents so give the case officer a ring and ask which policies/documents are most relevant. Refer to the policies in your comments – it will give them significantly more weight.
  • Think carefully about what bothers you about the proposed development. Avoid a knee-jerk response. Do not attempt to think of every conceivable objection and pour everything into a single response. Think carefully about what the specific impact will be on you and your property, and express that as clearly as you can. Thoughtful, considered and specific objections are much more likely to get the officer’s attention.
  • Don’t get angry and don’t get personal. Don’t insult the Council or its officers. People have a right to submit whatever kind of planning application they want and most Council planners are doing the best they can. Be calm and polite, and stick to the (relevant planning) facts.
  • There are a number of things which cannot be taken into account in decided a planning application. The identity of the applicant is irrelevant, including how he has acted in the past, what kind of neighbour he has been and what kind of shoddy work he might usually carry out. The impact on the value of your property is also, sadly, not relevant. Issues of ownership (party walls) are irrelevant. What the applicant’s true motives are or how much profit he will make are none of the Council’s business.
  • There are a wide variety of things that can be considered. For new buildings, the most important things are its design and appearance (does it fit in with the rest of the street?) and its impact on neighbours in terms of loss of light, privacy and outlook. Other common issues are the quality of accommodation provided and impacts in terms of parking.

Planning objections do not need to be particularly long or detailed and planning officers are obliged to take account of any representations made to them.

However, to have the greatest impact, objections should refer in detail to the specific Council policies relating to the development.

They should relate specifically to planning matters. A good objection will consider visual impact, effect on the character of an area, possible noise and disturbance, overlooking and loss of privacy.

Just Planning can prepare an objection on your behalf. In preparing the objection, we will look closely at the proposed development and provide our own assessment in line with the Council’s policies, highlighting any deficiencies.

Where the Council is generally in favour of a development and the case officer is under pressure to approve an application, policies that aren’t being fully met might be quietly overlooked. An effective objection will draw attention to all relevant policies in the Local Plan.

To learn more about our planning objection service, please contact us.