Commenting on an application

Development Control Advice Notes

Making Comments

You can make objections, support or comment on a planning application.

You should send them in writing to the Council at the address indicated in the letter and in the timescale specified.

Only comments relating to "planning matters" can be taken into account by the Council when determining an application.

What are planning matters?

The following are all considered planning matters:

  • the Development Plan
  • content of the Structure Plan relating to the area
  • content of the Local Plan relating to the area
  • the impact of the proposal on the surrounding environment and infrastructure

The applications must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless other matters indicate that this would be inappropriate for the specific case.

Any other matters identified will be taken into consideration on the determination of an application. An objection relating to one of these factors will not necessarily result in the refusal of an application.

Examples of such matters include:

  • The position in respect of Government Planning Policy.
  • Compliance (or otherwise) with Structure or Local Plan Policy.
  • Impact upon Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas or mature trees.
  • Dominant and oppressive environment created by the proposal.
  • Design out of keeping with the character of the area.
  • Highway safety or traffic impact.
  • Visual intrusiveness.
  • Excessive noise or smell.
  • Overlooking or loss of privacy.

We cannot take into account:

  • Devaluation of property.
  • Personal dislike of the applicant.
  • Commercial harm to other businesses from competition.
  • That a lot of people have objected.
  • The work was commenced without planning permission.
  • Land ownership, boundary disputes or matters referring to legal covenants or burdens of title.
  • Loss of a private view.
  • Matters covered by other legislation (e.g. Alcohol Licences or Building Regulations).
  • Objections based on moral, racial or religious opinion.

The planning system operates to ensure the "control of land use in the public interest."

Whilst matters of broader public interest will often coincide with the interests of individuals, businesses or groups of householders, there are also occasions that they will be in direct conflict.

The significance of this in the day-to-day determination of applications is that sometimes the issues of most importance to individuals, especially householders, are often very much private in nature and have a limited, if any, role to play in a planning decision.

The planning system cannot address matters of an essentially private nature and is limited to matters that affect public amenity. For example, with regard to privacy (and other aspects of residential amenity) it can be protected only to a level for the occupation of the dwelling by anybody, rather than individual preferences or aspirations.

Making Decisions 

When the Council makes a decision, it is required to take into account all planning issues, including those raised in any comments submitted.

The decision must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan, unless other matters indicate that this would be inappropriate. The decision will bring together all of the issues and the Council will weigh up their relative importance before deciding whether or not to grant permission.


The Council is allowed 8 weeks to determine applications, failing which applicants may appeal against the absence of a decision.

The duties of publicity and consultation occupy the first 4-5 weeks of an application and the Council can normally only start to formulate their view of an application after this period has elapsed and all necessary replies are received. The Council will aim to make its final decision within the 8-week period, which it achieves in around 80% of cases.

Last updated 10 April 2024
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