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How to comment on a neighbours Planning Application.

All Planning applications are a public record.  Anyone affected by a proposed development can raise a comment or objection. Regretfully this isn't just limited to affected neighbours. 


planning applications MarlowChanges happen all the time. New buildings are built and other buildings are demolished. Trees may be cut down or a familiar building changes hands and turns into something else. These changes can be improvements - sometimes they are not. Either way, they affect the place where we work and live.

How do I know what is happening?

Public comment on planning decisions is encouraged by most Councils, many of which want people to make their views known, even on the smallest planning application. Anyone can comment on a planning application - you do not need to live next door or have a direct interest in the site.

Planning Applications are normally publicised by:

sending a letter to close neighbours;

advertising in the local newspaper; and

displaying a Site Notice on or near the application site.

What can I Comment about?

Government advice about what approach should be followed in making planning decisions is set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note No. 1: General Policy and Principles.

If you want to comment on a planning application your comments must be based on genuine planning considerations - they must relate to the purpose of the planning legislation which is to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest. Your comments must also relate to the development which is being proposed.

The most common considerations are: -

Local planning policies

Light pollution

Government advice

Previous planning decisions

The effect on the street or area (but not loss of private view)

Hazardous materials

Size, layout and density of buildings

Effect on listed building or Conservation Area

Design, appearance and materials

Adequacy of parking


Traffic generation and overall highway safety

Road access

Previous appeal decisions

Overlooking and loss of privacy

Ground contamination

Nature conservation


Noise and disturbance from the use (but not from construction work

Matters that cannot be taken into account:

Matters controlled under other legislation such as Building Regulations (e.g. structural stability, drainage, fire precautions etc.)

Private issues between neighbours (e.g. land and boundary disputes, damage to property, private rights of way, deeds, covenants etc.)

Loss of property value

Moral issues

Sunday trading

Disturbance from construction work

The identity or personal characteristics of the applicant.


Need for development

Loss of view

How long do I have to make comments?

Any letter, site notice or newspaper advertisement will set a date by which you should make your views known. It is important that you send in your comments as soon as possible and that your response is in writing. This is because there is a need to keep a proper and accurate record of your comments. Please also note that any comments you make cannot be treated in confidence and they will be available for inspection by both the applicant and the public.

Will others help me?

If you feel a lot of people will agree with you about a planning application you can organise a petition and send it to the Council. The Council treats petitions very seriously. If you decide to organise a petition, make sure it is properly set out with its purpose, the reasons for objecting and legible names and addresses of those signing it. It is better to have a short petition from residents who will actually be affected by the application than a very long one signed by almost anybody, including people who live far from the affected site.

Can local papers help?

You can write to the local papers who may well be interested in the story. However, letters to the paper are no substitute for writing to the Council. Sometimes letters to the press will help people with similar views to get together.

Who can I talk to?

If you are very concerned about an application, you should talk to us and we will help you put your case forward.




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