Q A developer has applied for planning permission for a new development close to my house. I’m not happy about it and want to object. The developer obviously knows all the angles and how to work the system. What can I do?
A The planning system is there to protect your enjoyment of your house and, indirectly, its value. So, don’t be shy about making your view known.
The council will notify neighbours. Whether you’re notified or not, write to or email the council. There’ll be a date by which objections are supposed to be made – meet this if you can but still write even if you’re outside the target date.
Many councils publish guidance on objecting. It’s important to include relevant planning reasons rather than accusations about the developer’s prowess or motives. You need to say why you object rather than just state that you do object.
Councils’ policies on lobbying councillors vary – some allow contact and some don’t. Ask the planning department. If contact is allowed, send a copy of your objection to councillors or speak to a local councillor, explain your concerns and ask for support. Persuade as many neighbours as possible to write as well – the more who write the better.
If the application goes to committee for a decision, you might be able to speak against it at the meeting. Most councils allow this, although you’ll only be given two or three minutes to say your piece. It might seem daunting but a concerned neighbour speaking up can sway a decision.
Finally, planning is complex and, if the issue is important to you, you could consider using a planning consultant to advise you or take up the cudgels on your behalf.