Guidance on commenting on a planning application

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Your views

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Your comments, whether they object to or support the proposals, will be taken into account when assessing the application. They may help identify those parts of the proposal that may be unsatisfactory or a potential cause for concern and we may decide to request amendments or impose conditions to make the proposals acceptable.

Please note that local opposition is not in itself a ground for refusal, unless it is based on valid planning reasons (known as "material planning considerations"); and your objections – no matter how valid you feel they are – may not justify the Council in refusing planning permission.

  • we impose a 21-day period for commenting on a planning application but we accept comments right up to the time when the case officer finalises his or her report, which should not be before the published Consultation End Date. 
  • the nature of your comment should be relevant both to planning and to the particular application in question
  • comments that are considered to be inappropriate or offensive may result in the whole of your response being ignored
  • only personal email and telephone details will be redacted and only for the website
  • submissions containing any comments we consider inappropriate or offensive will not be published on our website.

The easiest way to submit your comments is online by using the Make Comment button on the Details of Planning Application page. Alternatively, they can be emailed to planning@stalbans.gov.uk or sent by letter addressed to the Planning Department. If you want to include illustrations, appendices etc they must be all in one single file with your comments (Word or PDF) if you want these published on our website. Please note that because the Council receives many comments about applications every year it is not possible for the Council to enter into correspondence or discussion with you.

Please note: All comments received on planning applications will be published on the Council’s website for inspection, subject to data protection rules which mean that personal data such as signatures, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses will be redacted prior to publication.  Where the Council considers that the content of comments is potentially libellous or defamatory, contain abusive, obscene or racist language or contain information which should not be circulated, it reserves the right to remove the offending information before publication, with or without the consent of the author.  However, the Council will retain an unaltered copy of the comments on the planning file. If you have provide contact details such as your email address or telephone number via the online form, these details will be visible to the public through our electronic system at the Council Offices but not on the website. If you do not wish to share these details you can still make comments using the online form but leave the email and telephone number fields blank.  You must provide your name and address.  The Council will still consider your comments.  If you prefer to provide your contact details but do not wish them to be shared with the public, you can send an email or a letter setting out your comments.  The Council will remove your personal data (email, telephone number and signature) from comments submitted via email or letter.  They will not be seen by the public viewing the file at the Council Offices. 

In addition, those commenting on planning applications should ensure that they are satisfied that the content of their letters would not open them to legal challenge.

Types of issue to raise

The planning system seeks to regulate the development and use of land in the public interest and the local planning authority has to strike a balance between allowing development where it is appropriate, whilst ensuring that the character or amenity of the area are not adversely affected by extensions, new buildings or changes in the use of existing buildings or land. Planning applications have to be considered on their individual merits, taking into account relevant planning policies (The Local Development Plan Review 1994 and national planning policies), and any other material planning considerations, for example:

  • the general appearance, design and visual impact of the proposal

  • the size, height and scale of the development

  • potential loss of light, overshadowing or overlooking

  • concern about crime

  • effects on trees and the natural environment

  • traffic impact and highway safety

  • potential noise and disturbance from car parking

  • the impact of the proposal on your amenity or the character of the area

  • matters of policy

  • any other potential effect on your amenity or that of the locality.

Types of issue not to raise

Objections to loss of light to windows of non-habitable rooms, such as landings or bathrooms, or to secondary windows to habitable rooms, would not usually be considered as relevant.

Objections on non-planning grounds cannot be taken into account, for example:

  • loss of property value

  • disputes about the position of a boundary

  • competition from new business

  • restrictive covenants

  • conflict with other laws, for example the Building Regulations which are intended to ensure that buildings are safe and habitable.

Comments on Appeals

APPEALS - PLEASE NOTE:
If you are commenting on a HOUSEHOLDER or Minor Commercial planning application, which is then refused permission and the applicant subsequently submits an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, you will NOT have any further opportunity to comment on that application. Any comments you submitted on the original application will however be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate. This is a national system introduced by the Planning Inspectorate in April 2009.

For all other applications, comments on appeals must be sent directly to the Planning Inspectorate (www.planning-inspectorate.gov.uk).

Date of last review: 15 February 2017