How to comment on planning applications
Every member of the community has the right to comment on any planning application, and we take your comments into consideration when recommending the application for approval or refusal.
To be taken into consideration, a comment, also know as a representation, you must include your full name, full postal and / or email address and a contact telephone number if possible. Letters will not be acknowledged.
Comments on planning applications should be submitted either via the website, or emailed to us. Please avoid using the postal service as we have very limited opportunities to access any post received.
Your comments whether submitted online or via email will become public documents, they cannot be treated as confidential even if the writer expressly wishes it (in accordance with the Local Government Act 2000).
How do I comment on a planning application?
Consultee access - group members or statutory consultees
If you are a statutory consultee or want to comment as part of a resident or community group, you now need to register using our consultee access online tool.
Find out more about consultee access.
Comment as an individual
First, find the planning application you wish to make the comment about.
The planning application search allows you to search for and access valid planning applications. You can search using the property address or the application reference number. Once you have found the application you can comment on it.
- Comment online
- Email us your comments
Search for the planning application and if it is available for comment, you will find a 'Make a public comment' button on the specific planning application details page.
It is important that you find out as much as you can about the details of the application. This can be achieved either by discussing the proposal with the applicant, by inspecting the application online via the searches linked below or at the planning reception.
If you would like more information related to the planning search or the data shown on the planning search, please check the following guides:
What details should you include in your representation?
Whether you are writing to the council to object or support an application, you should clearly identify the planning application you are referring to and the particular points which you wish the council to consider. Applications must be decided on their merits and other factors affecting the eventual decision will include:
- planning policies and standards which have a bearing on the application
- central government directives and guidance on the type of development proposed
- any similar developments which may already have taken place in the area
- possible impact of the proposal on the area
A refusal of planning permission must be based on valid planning reasons. Development is sometimes approved even when objections have been received. Planning officers often seek improvements to a proposals in response to representations and this may result in the application being revised before it is determined.
We often place conditions on planning permission to limit the impact of the development and to ensure that it does not cause undue harm. We put the decision notice on this website within 10 working days of a decision being made.
How will I know if a planning application has been submitted?
There are a number of ways that you might discover that a planning application has been submitted to the council. Please note that only valid applications will be made available to view in these ways.
- Neighbour notification: The council must serve a neighbour notification notice on certain neighbouring property owners and occupiers.
- Local press: Following submission of certain applications, the council may decide, because of the nature of the proposal, that the application should be advertised in the local press. This allows a wider section of the community to be aware of the proposal.
- Email alerts: Register for planning application email alerts and receive regular updates about planning applications in your area.
- Weekly list of applications Check the list for recently submitted applications
- Make a property search or application search: see links above
Is there a time period for making a representation?
It is important to be aware that there are time limits within which you must submit your written comments to the council:
- If you are responding to a neighbour notification notice or are aware of the application by some other means, you have 21 days from the date of the notice to submit your written comments. In most cases, the application will be validated on the same date as the notice is served, however, on occasion, this may not be the case. It is always advisable to contact the us to check on the neighbour notification period. It is normal practice for us to allow an extra three days for receipt of written comments.
We have been told that in some cases notifications are not being received until quite some time after the application is validated. In these cases, we are happy to accept representations up until a decision has been made.
- Where an application has been advertised in the local press by the council, you will have either 14 or 21 days from the date of the advert to submit your written comments. Please check the specific advert for which time period applies.
What happens next?
Representations, comments or objections are taken into account when an application is determined. The majority of applications are determined under delegated powers although some applications will be referred to the Planning Applications Committee.
Where an application is determined by the planning committee, a report is prepared and reference will be made to the comments received. Copies of the committee agenda and the papers circulated will be available for public inspection five working days in advance of the committee meeting. Only the applicant or their agent and people who have commented on the application as part of the planning department consultation process in support or against will be permitted to speak at the meeting. For further information about speaking at planning committee, please see our public speaking at planning and development control committee protocol.
They must have been registered to speak before addressing the committee. All meetings are however held in public, and you may attend to listen to the debate.
Appeals and complaints
If the council refuses permission then the applicant can appeal to the Secretary of State and the decision is taken out of the council’s hands. Your comments would be reported to the Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State to consider the appeal. You would be given an opportunity to make further written representations or to appear at any informal hearing or public local inquiry which may be held.
There is no right of appeal for local residents if the council decides to grant planning permission.
If you are not satisfied with the council’s handling of a planning application you can make a formal complaint through the council's Corporate Complaints Process. Complaint forms and advice on procedure are available here.
What else can you do?
You could discuss your comments with your local councillor who might be able to represent your views at the Planning Committee.