Commenting on a planning application

An important part of the planning process is the involvement of local people, organisations and businesses in making their views known about planning applications. You have an opportunity to make your views known with regard to any planning application, whether in support, objection or by way of general comment. However, only certain issues can be taken into account in determining planning applications, known as ‘material planning considerations’. You should try as far as possible to restrict your comments to those matters that constitute ‘material planning considerations’, which therefore can be duly taken into consideration in determining an application.

These include matters such as:

  • Local, strategic and national planning policies and policies in the Development Plan
  • Emerging new plans which have already been through at least one stage of public consultation
  • Pre-application planning consultation carried out by, or on behalf of, the applicant
  • Government and Planning Inspectorate requirements – circulars, orders, guidance and advice
  • Previous appeal decisions, planning Inquiry reports and principles of planning law from the Courts
  • Loss of light, overshadowing or loss of outlook to the detriment of residential amenity (not including loss of view)
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
  • Highway issues such as traffic generation, vehicular access, highway safety, parking, loading and turning
  • Capacity of physical infrastructure eg. public drainage or water systems
  • Deficiencies in social facilities eg. spaces in schools
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use, including operating hours
  • Storage and handling of hazardous materials
  • Smells and fumes
  • Loss or effect on trees
  • Impact on designated areas of land, nature conservation and biodiversity
  • Effect on listed buildings and conservation areas
  • Incompatible or unacceptable uses
  • Layout and density of building design, visual appearance and finishing materials
  • Inadequate or inappropriate landscaping or means of enclosure

In the course of reaching a decision, each relevant material planning consideration is given weight according to its seriousness and relative importance. Generally, greater weight will be given to issues raised which are supported by evidence rather than solely by assertion or opinion. If an identified issue can be dealt with by the imposition of a suitable condition then the Council is required to consider this option as an alternative to refusing permission.

All acceptable representations, whether submitted online or received via the post, will be displayed on the Council website with the application documentation, usually including names and postal addresses.

The following information will be redacted:

  • signatures
  • personal email addresses
  • telephone numbers

Comments on any application should be restricted to issues arising from the application itself. Commenting or making counter-submissions on any other representations that may have been made is not encouraged. Assessing the merits of any particular case is the role of professional officers or the Development Committee, not something that should take place between applicants, supporters and objectors through the exchange of application comments.

Where representations include information that is not a material planning consideration, this information will not usually be redacted.  However it will not be taken into account in determining the planning application.

The Council reserves the right to edit, redact or remove any comments or representations which it, at its own discretion, considers to be or to have the potential to be; racist, defamatory, slanderous, offensive, abusive, hostile or prejudiced. In particular, the Council will liaise directly with the Police in relation to any representation which it considers could be a hate incident, hate crime or other breach of the criminal law.