Comment on an application
Who can comment on an application?
Anyone can make a comment on a planning application that is currently being considered by the council. You do not need to:
- have received a letter inviting your comments
- have a direct interest in a proposal
- be an adjoining owner or occupant.
Make sure your comment gets to us before the deadline for making a comment.
How can I comment on an application?
All comments must be in writing and submitted preferably online using the Planning Public Access tool or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details about how to make an online comment, please see our user guide.
What can I comment on?
You can comment on most types of application. Your comment will be added to the application's file which can be viewed on the Planning Public Access tool.
The following types of application are not subject to public consultation and therefore comments will not be accepted:
- discharge of conditions
- certificates of lawfulness
- non material amendments
- most prior approvals
We are pleased to receive your comments in respect of applications that have not been decided but please note we do not respond to these letters, emails or questions raised in them. Many queries regarding the planning application process can be found on our web site.
Criteria for redaction
Planning Services receive a large number of letters and emails each year commenting on the various planning applications that are submitted to the Council. As part of the process of uploading letters of comment, Planning Services will check whether the comment requires redaction. Where redaction is required, a word or words will be blacked out so that members of the public will not be able to view the content.
The following is a non-exhaustive list of examples where redaction would apply
- signatures (handwritten and electronic)
- personal telephone numbers including mobile phone numbers (this does not include commercial or business phone numbers)
- personal email addresses (this does not include commercial or business email address)
- registration plates on motor vehicles
- identification of children's/youth's information (photographs)
- redaction of the face of anyone in a photograph
- any text or photographs that would identify the address of the objector or another party
- identification of vulnerable person(s) including children / youths. For example disability registration / certificates / medical documents
- any medical or other data about someone's health or wellbeing, including the applicant
- personal financial information (bank statements etc.)
- lifestyle details which reveal a health aspect e.g. needs a carer or has poor health
- education details where a name identifies the child
- details of any criminal convictions
- comments or information Planning Services consider to be derogatory or offensive
- unfounded allegations against the council or any persons, particularly where referring to criminal activity
- derogatory comments in respect of an officers ability to do their job
It is important to note that the publishing of comments and views expressed in letters and reports submitted by applicants, consultees and representors on the Council's website, does not mean that the planning authority agrees or endorses these views, or confirms any statements of fact to be correct.
Guidance for submitting comments
When making your comments you should specify your reasons. Guidance is given below about what we can and cannot take into consideration when deciding the application.
Making a comment does not give you the right to speak at planning committee and does not mean that you will receive updates about when the application will be heard. If you want to be notified of updates to the application you can find out how to set that up here.
Matters taken into account
Only relevant matters can be taken into account reaching a decision:
- the appearance and character of the area or street, including the design and materials of buildings, landscaping and tree loss
- other environmental issues such as noise
- traffic and road safety
- employment and the local economy
- impact on public services
- effects on the landscape and the need to protect open land in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or land use for agriculture
- impact of a building on its neighbours for example privacy or the physical effect of the building.
Matters not taken into account
The council cannot normally consider the following matters:
- the personal circumstances of the applicant as sometimes put forward in support of an application as these will unlikely outweigh the more general planning consideration
- the fact that development may have already begun
- 'trade objections' from potential competitors
- moral arguments for example opposition to betting shops or amusements arcades
- the belief that an application is submitted with the intention of selling the property at an enhanced value
- the loss of an attractive view from private property
- the fear that an objector's house might be devalued
- the fact that the applicant does not own the land
- allegations that a proposal might affect private rights, such as restrictive covenants, rights of way, or 'ancient lights'. These are usually private matters on which objectors may need legal advice
- the fear that a building may be used for a different purpose in the course of time
- matters covered by other legislation e.g. Building Regulations or the Health & Safety at Work Act
- public safety on telecommunications masts where the installation complies with ICNIRP guidelines.
What happens to my comment?
If you send us a comment online or by email you will receive an automated email acknowledgement. If you send us a comment by letter you will not receive an acknowledgement.
All comments will be made available to view online. Comments will be redacted where they contain personal information (including your address, telephone number and email address) or are inappropriate in their content. However, your name will remain visible online.
As we need to make these checks, comments made using our online tool are not available to view immediately. They are usually made available by the next working day.
The case officer will note your comment in their report and consider the points you have raised in their assessment of the application.
Please note that we do not respond to comments or to questions raised in them.
Making a comment does not give you the right to speak at planning committee.
Deadlines for comments
In most cases we allow a period of 21 days for comments to be submitted on new applications.
We cannot guarantee that your comments will be taken into account if received after the publicity deadline.
If you miss the deadline and wish to comment please contact the case officer to see whether there is still time. The officer's name is on the 'Further Information' tab on our Planning Public Access tool.
You can phone them 01424 451066 and ask for the officer by name.
For applications that are going to Planning Committee, we can only accept comments that are received earlier than 3 full working days before the date of the meeting. So for example, if the meeting is on a Wednesday, the deadline will be the previous Friday before 3pm.
A petition is a comment signed by ten or more people of different addresses.
If you wish to speak at planning committee, you must submit a valid petition within the correct timeframe. Details of what makes a valid petition and the correct timeframe can be found on our planning petitions page.
Planning Aid England offer free, independent professional advice on planning issues.
National Planning practice Guidance is now available entirely online in a useable and accessible way. Important information for any user of the planning system previously only published in separate documents can now be found quickly and simply.
You can link easily between the National Planning Policy Framework and the National Planning practice Guidance, as well as between different categories of guidance.
Comment on an application