A Planning Application has been made near my home/business premises, what can I do?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Wednesday, February 8th, 2017

It can come as a shock to know that a Planning Application has been made near your home or business premises. Your first reaction might well be panic and a feeling of helplessness, and you may feel that if it goes ahead it will cause you problems and reduce the value of your property. The best advice is to keep calm and consider the facts, and not to let your emotions take over. You are entitled to raise objections and it isn’t a foregone conclusion that the application will go through unopposed.

 

Objecting to a planning application

In writing a letter of objection in response to a Planning Application, it’s important to remember that you should concentrate on the facts and make sure that the points you raise are relevant to Planning Law. It can be tempting to vent your anger and frustration, but doing so will only weaken your case. After a Planning Application has been made, you will have a limited time in which to comment and raise objections to it going ahead. It makes sense to find out which member of the Planning department is dealing with the case, so that you can address correspondence appropriately.

 

Issues to consider

If a neighbour is proposing a large extension adjacent to your property, then the areas to concentrate on are the planning issues. For instance, whether you would lose a significant amount of daylight and sunshine, whether the proposal means that there are windows that would overlook your property and result in a loss of privacy, whether the proposed structure would mean you would feel unduly enclosed.

You can also reasonably object if you feel that the design of the structure is too imposing, or out of character with other buildings in the immediate vicinity. Are you in the Green Belt or in a Conservation Area? Is your property or the application property a Listed Building? These are all relevant factors used in deciding planning applications.

When you write your letter of objection, you should make sure to include the Planning Application number and address the letter to the person dealing with the application. It’s obviously a good idea to make your objections known as early as possible. Often objections are made under the headings of:

  • Visual impact
  • Effect on the character of the neighbourhood
  • Possible noise and disturbance
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Feeling unduly enclosed by an over-dominant structure

The Council assess all applications against its own planning policy (set out in their Local Plan) and against the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Any objections will need to assess the scheme proposed against these policies.

Don’t on any account mention a possible adverse impact on the value of your property, this is not relevant as it isn’t a relevant planning consideration. Attending a planning committee meeting

You can normally attend and speak at the planning meeting at which the application is being considered, but you will be expected to keep your remarks to no more than three minutes.

If planning permission is granted, then objectors have no right of appeal against the decision. If planning permission is refused, the applicant has the right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. If you objected to the application, the Council should inform you that there is an appeal. You are entitled to object and make representations as part of the appeal process.

In the case of a neighbour’s extension, there will be no further opportunity to make further representations, and the matter will be decided by the Planning Inspectorate without a hearing.

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