How to oppose planning application

Making a successful planning objection can be overwhelming, especially if it is your first attempt. You want to be careful about the grounds you cite and, most importantly, how you relay them to the planning officers. In this article, you will learn how to make a good case and influence the final decision of the planners.

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1. Gather facts about the planning application 

Before objecting to a planning request, find out the details about the proposed development. This will help you identify valid grounds on which you can make your claim. Below are the available routes youá can take to make your investigations.

The notice of the local authority

Usually, local authorities notify selected neighbours whom they think planning proposals might directly impact. The letter would contain the project specifics required to make a valid case. However, not everyone receives this notification. Suppose you didn’t. You still have the legal right to oppose the planning application regardless.

Check newspaper adverts

You could also find planning applications in local newspapers. People are mandated to publish their planning permission requests for concerned property owners to support or oppose.

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Visit the Council’s planning department 

Every week, local planning authorities compile lists of submitted planning applications to aid the investigation of aggrieved neighbours. The list and the documents attached to every application would be available for at least five to eight weeks.

Check public libraries

Planning authorities also make the same application details in their office available for consultation at public libraries.

Check the Council’s official website

On the Council’s website, you can access the submitted planning applications, the project details, and other people’s comments.

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2. Submit an objection to the Council’s Planning Department 

After collecting the details, write an objection and submit it to the Council, referencing the planning application number. You could register your objection as a comment on the Council’s official website or send an e-mail message to the Council. Alternatively, you can send a letter by post to the Council’s address.

The Council requests comments for about three weeks before ruling on the application. However, it would be best to submit your objection early as possible. You may be able to influence the Council’s decision if you get several people to oppose the application. This tends to carry more weight in the planning system. However, each letter should be unique with reference to conditions considered valid by the law.

When drafting your objection, it is important to cite valid grounds. Depending on why you are opposing the planning application, below are some legally accepted reasons you can mention.

Diversion from planning policy

The development plan specifies what development is allowed in areas, maybe green belts, open countryside, or a conservation area. If you think the proposed development’s functionality is against the local plan of the vicinity, it is a valid consideration you can write about in your objection letter.

Effects on public health

All forms of environmental hazards that can negatively impact neighbours’ health are valid considerations.

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Effects on residential amenities

A loss of a residential amenity that would have an adverse effect on the functionality of neighbouring property is a legal claim. However, if the development would only cause some disturbances like noise or loss of privacy, such objections may be disregarded.


You could also challenge an ugly design, say in a Conservative Area that doesn’t align with existing development. If you think a proposed development would be a slap on the appearance or character of the area, you can include it in your comment.

What to avoid in your objection to the local planning authority

There are a few details to avoid in making objections. One is to cite your

  • Personal interest
  • Preferences
  • Grievances
  • Likes/dislikes in your comment
  • Loss/depreciation of property values

Issues like these carry no weight to the planning committee. Another common mistake people make is to organise a petition. The best you can do is get many people to comment against the application – in a unique and standard approach.


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