Applying for or objecting to planning applications

It’s vital to fully understand the requirements you are expected to meet when seeking planning permission to develop your property. The most important of those requirements are contained in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework and in your local authority’s Local Plan.

It is often helpful to discuss any proposal with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) before you finalise and submit your application. More complicated development proposals will usually benefit from the advice of a professional planning consultant and may also need some legal advice.

Our top five tips will guide you through the process and help maximise your chances of securing planning permission:

Research local and national policies

You will need to study national and local policies related to planning applications. It is often helpful to check previous, similar planning applications in your area to understand how your LPA applies its policies, and what they look for in a successful application. Certain areas of policy, such as Green Belt or heritage policy are often complex. Bear in mind that the correct interpretation of planning policy is a question of law. Our role is often to advise on the correct interpretation and application of policy based on recent case law, and to help you devise a strategy to overcome the more complex policy hurdles.

Play the game

It is important that you play by the rules of the local council. Talk to your local councillors, seek professional advice, and try to work out how local planning politics works.

Talk to those who may be affected by your proposed development

Most objections to proposed development come from people who live near the proposed development site. It is important to engage with those who are most likely to be affected by the proposed construction at the earliest opportunity. Not only will they feel that they have been consulted and involved in the application (often thereby reducing local opposition), but this also allows you to identify the main local issue early, and where appropriate, design them out of your scheme in order to minimise objections.

Make validation easier

Planning applications can be made and submitted through the www.planningportal.co.uk. Applications must meet certain national requirements and local requirements. Guidance on the national requirements is provided on the government’s planning portal. Your LPA will also publish a list of its specific requirements (often called a ‘Validation Checklist’) on its website. You must comply with both the national and local requirements when making a planning application, completing the form and drafting accompanying drawings and statements. Failure to do so could result in your application being invalid and rejected or refused. To facilitate the validation of your application, it’s worth including an index table listing the documents contained within the application.

Use the right terminology

Planning officers will be accustomed to speaking and writing in the language of planning. Consequently, it is a good idea to try and incorporate buzzwords and planning jargon into your application. Take the time to research how the terminology is used and in what context. Using technical language will indicate that you understand basic planning practices and may increase your chances of being granted planning permission.

Objecting to a planning application

Planning decisions must be made in accordance with the relevant LPA’s Local Plan unless ‘material considerations’ indicate otherwise. The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework is a particularly important material consideration. In addition, any material impact of the proposed development (for example on neighbouring amenity) is a material consideration.

It follows that if you wish to successfully object to a planning application, your objection must be based on either (or both) failures to comply with national or local planning policy requirements and/or on other material planning considerations. The following are common grounds of objection:

  • Adverse effect on the residential amenity of neighbours (e.g. noise and disturbance excluding that caused by the execution of the works, overlooking, loss of privacy, overshadowing)
  • Unacceptably high density or over-development of the site, especially where garden land loss is incurred)
  • Visual impact of the development
  • Effect of the development on the character of the neighbourhood
  • Design
  • Transport impacts

To make an objection, it necessary to write to the Planning Department, quoting the planning application number within the consultation period set out by the Planning Department.

Our planning team are experienced in advising on and preparing effective objections to planning applications. If you are uncertain about the best approach to an objection, please get in touch.