It is sensible to hire an expert if you have serious concerns, because doing it yourself may result in you taking the wrong steps towards trying to solve the problem. This is why Planning Objection Letters was created; to give local people access to professional planning representation at an affordable price. We are here to help you and no one else. Call us now 0800 456 1060
Do Encourage Your Neighbours to Object
Applications for planning and appeals must be determined based on their merits. What this means is that it is not a voting competition. However, every representation on a planning application or appeal must be taken into account, and that is why your neighbours should be encouraged. It is inevitable that a high level of local opposition will carry a lot more weight than just one objection.
This is especially true for local planning committees, as their members are usually very sensitive to local concerns with regards to inappropriate development in the area. So, rally up the neighbours and get them to write in with their objections. However, as tempting as it might seem, do not start a petition. They carry no weight and end up being a waste of time. All letters should also be unique as opposed to based off one template. It’s more authentic and certainly holds the attention of the council better.
Don’t Make it Personal
Of course, it is your objection letter so you can say what you want. However, you must remember to stay within reason. Content that is potentially libellous or offensive will likely not be published, or they may be rejected altogether. You should also refrain from criticising the applicant or appellant at any point, even if it is justified. This is because the results are determined based on their planning merits, and personal issues will immediately be disregarded.
Your letter should focus on the benefits of refusing the planning, and why the application should be denied. The objections should come across as balanced and logical, with detailed and well-thought arguments. Consider public interest and how the local community could be impacted by the approval of the planning permission or appeal.
Avoid focusing on issues such as land ownership and the effects of the proposal on the value of neighbouring property. Councils have little interest in this, and see this as a personal motive instead of a genuine one. You must also refrain from talking about any personal circumstances of the applicant. Remain neutral, as though you do not even know them personally, and your letter will gain better results.
Do Justify Your Objections
Where possible, make sure you try to support your objections with evidence and analysis. It is here that professional help can really make a difference, as they are trained to find these things and make detailed notes. However, if you have decided to represent yourself, you should take the time to carefully look through the council’s website and learn all of their planning policies.
You should pay extra attention to those that deal with design, character and appearance, and residential amenity. This is because they are the most common grounds for objection from local residents and third parties, so will likely be useful to you. It is then possible for you to use this new information to explain why you feel the proposal is contradictory to specific planning policies.
Furthermore, it makes sense to concentrate on aspects like these which are likely to be considered unacceptable in terms of:
- Effect on the character of the neighbourhood
- Potential for noise and disturbance
- Overlooking other properties
- Loss of privacy
- Blocking the sun from gardens
While the likely effect on residential amenity is an important consideration, you also have to take into account the following that should not be mentioned:
- An adverse effect on property values
- Potential infringement on the land of others
You should have a development plan that you can refer to. For each of the points that you make, you must explain why it is contrary to the development plan and then list the relevant policy reference. It is also important to take the time to try and respond to any development plans that conflict with your personal views, going on to make it clear as to why you consider them to be less relevant in determining the outcome of the application.
With regards to the development plan itself, it is essential that you distinguish between the adopted plan and the emerging plan. The former of these tend to be the one that holds the most weight, but an emerging plan at an advanced stage can also be beneficial. If you are ever in double, you can ask the case officer or refer to the policies within both plans (a stronger option).
You need to use evidence to support your points, instead of just making an argument that cannot be backed up. It doesn’t matter if you know it’s true without evidence. If it is possible, it is good to be able to refer to planning case law on an equivalent matter. If you need help with this process, you can contact our team on 0800 456 060.
Do Submit Your Objection Letter on Time
All representations on planning applications and appeals must be submitted in writing, and they cannot be accepted in any other form. You must make note of the deadline for submitting your objections, providing yourself with plenty of time to draft the letter or seek help from a professional in the field.
Your local authorities should accept any letters that are submitted after the deadline as long as the results of the planning application have not yet been determined. However, it looks better on you if you submit it on time, and it also more likely to be read.
Get Your Comments in on Time
Late comments might be taken into account, especially if your views do not cause delays in the decision, but this is not something you can rely on. So, make sure you send it in by the deadline, and even if you are sending an email make sure to include a postal address with it so that the council know if you are a part of the local community.
If the proposed development is set for a Conservation Area, or it would impact the status of a listed building (examples being a building on the statutory list of buildings, or one of special architectural/historical interest), you may find further grounds for objection. This would be relating to the effect of the development on the character or appearance of the Conservation Area or the setting of a particular listed building. Similar conditions also apply for sites that are officially designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
Just remember that there is no point in putting things in your letter that are not relevant to planning, as the Council can only take planning issues into account. By law, they cannot and must not be allowed to be influenced by other considerations unless they are relevant to planning.
Use Pictures to Make Your Point
Pictures can be very effective, and if you are able to back up your claims with them, then you absolutely should. Don’t just tell them that a site floods, for example, take a picture and show them. You must also ensure the date and time are included with the photograph so that they can see it was a recent image.
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