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How to Make Representations on a Planning (or Associated) Application

When an application has been received by the local planning authority it is publicised in a number of ways in accordance with our adopted practice note on publicity and consultation. Further details can also be found on the How are Planning Applications Dealt with page of our web site.

Practice Note on Publicity and Consultations (PDF Document, 51.12 Kb)

Details of current and historic planning applications can also be found on the PublicAccess pages of the Council's web site.

How to Comment on an Application

The planning system allows opportunities for both public and private interests to make representations on the proposals as a third party, whether in support of or in opposition to a proposal.

Whilst we will take account of all representations received, it must be remembered that the planning process is in place to ensure that, in the development of land or buildings, the public interest is taken fully into account. Whenever we receive representations to a proposal we will consider them fully which may result in an amendment to the proposal.

You can submit comments to the case officer in a variety of formats.

By email: You may email comments by using the address. Please ensure that you quote the application reference number, the address of the application site, and your name and address.

On our website : To submit comments via the web site you will need to go to the PublicAccess pages. You will need to navigate yourself to the application you wish to make a comment on (input the application reference number and search. Then 'click to view' which will take you to a page to allow you to submit comments to the application online).

Alternatively you may make representations by post. Please ensure that you quote the application reference number, the address of the application site, and your name and address.

You should set out clearly and concisely your comments you wish to make on the application.

There is a limited time period to make your comments so please ensure that the local planning authority receives your comments within the consultation period specified in your letter (or the site notice/press notice date where this is later).

Any representations received will be attached to the application file and therefore will become a public document and can be read by anyone. It is, therefore, important that you do not write anything that you would not wish to be in the public domain – such as personal matters which you regard as being private.

If the proposal is changed significantly, perhaps as a result of negotiations to meet some objections made, you will be advised and given a further opportunity to comment. Please read any letter carefully because in some circumstances it may be assumed that if you do not write again, you no longer object.

You may also wish to approach your local ward councillor to ask him or her for advice or to support the points you make. It is important to realise that your councillor may have been approached by others, including the applicant and will in any case have to form his or her own opinion about the proposal.

There is not normally any need to approach professionals (such as solicitors) to write representations on your behalf. Free help may be obtained on some issues from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

What should I say?

The planning system exists to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. It can guide development to the right place and prevent proposals which are inappropriate. The system does not exist to protect the private interests of one person against the activities of another, but the protection of an individual's interest may coincide with the overall public interest.

Comments should also be limited to relevant planning considerations. Examples of some relevant planning considerations are as follows (although this list is not exhaustive):-

  1. layout and density of buildings,
  2. the siting of buildings, their design and relationship to other buildings and uses, and trees or landscape features (both existing and proposed),
  3. overshadowing, overlooking and loss of privacy, noise disturbance or other loss of amenities,
  4. appearance and character of the development,
  5. traffic generation, highway safety and parking issues,
  6. impact on the community as a whole,
  7. special features of importance such as public footpaths, archaeology, local history and so on, and
  8. the Development Plan and other relevant planning policies (including national and local policies including supplementary planning documents).

The local planning authority will also consult other bodies on technical issues (for example flood risk) and the advice of the consultee will be important in the decision making process. However, the development plan is the main consideration and proposals which accord with it should only be refused if there are very convincing arguments (on planning grounds) why permission should not be granted.

No matter how strongly you feel, if an issue you raise is not relevant to the planning process then the Council will not be able to give it any particular weight. You should, therefore, avoid references to matters which are not material planning considerations. Examples of matters which are not relevant planning considerations are as follows (although this list is not exhaustive):-

  1. boundary disputes, covenants or other property rights, or restriction in property deeds,
  2. personal remarks (for example the applicant's motives),
  3. reduction in property values,
  4. loss of private view over the land and
  5. matters dealt with by other legislation (for example licensing).

However, a planning permission never overrides any private property rights, and a permission cannot be of any use if the landowner or holders of rights do not agree, even though it may be an acceptable planning proposal.

What happens next?

The local planning authority will consider the planning merits of the application including any representations made. It is often necessary for the Council to balance conflicting views in reaching its decision, and in these circumstances it will not be possible to satisfy everybody.

There are essentially two ways in which the local planning authority will make its judgements and determine the application – by consideration at a Development Control Committee meeting or by officers using powers delegated to them by the committee. The current delegation agreement can be found on the ‘How are planning applications dealt with’ page of the website.

When the application is considered by the Development Control Committee, if you have made representations on the application these will be summarised in the officer's report to the committee and you will be given the opportunity to address the committee verbally as part of the decision making process. Further details of this process will be sent out prior to the committee meeting and can be viewed on the Speaking at the Development Control Committee page of the web site.

You can, if you prefer, approach your ward councillor to make representations on your behalf but the councillor is entitled to express a different view on the overall facts.

Unfortunately, it will not be possible to inform you in writing of the planning decision. You may use the PublicAccess pages of the website to see the progress and decision of the local planning authority.

Can I appeal against the decision?

No - only the applicant can appeal against a decision of the local planning authority.

If, however, you feel that the Council dealt with you in an administratively incorrect way then you may wish to follow the Council’s complaint procedure. If you are still unhappy over the procedural matters then you may approach the Local Government Ombudsman. It is not the job of the ombudsman to review the planning decision, but to see whether reasonable procedures were followed.

Notwithstanding the planning decision, if you do have private rights then these are unlikely to be affected. However, you may need to protect your own interests by your own legal action. Write to the developer first, or ask your solicitor to do so, to see if matters can be resolved. Similarly, if other consents are required outside the planning process, then you will need to approach whoever is responsible for administering those consents.

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