Objecting to a Planning Application – Advice for Residents
Although NPRA will actively support residents objecting to planning applications, we do not have the time or resources to take sole responsibility for all the work involved. We would suggest the following plan of action for residents wishing to object.
Nominate one or two residents to head the group of residents objecting and co-ordinate all activity.
1. Organise a WhatsApp group (free messaging app) to share information and for immediate contact.
2. An email group for longer, non-urgent communication and sharing of documents.
3. Key dates need to be communicated and noted: – last day for objections to be registered via Brent Council website or in writing – date of site visit by planning committee – date the planning application will be heard by Brent Council Planning Committee
4. Residents have a limited amount of time to register objections – usually 21 days from the date of notification.
5. The council is supposed to notify all residents who they think may be affected by a planning application. However, this is a judgement made by council officers and so not all residents who believe they may be affected will necessarily be informed. It is worth raising awareness outside the council list of residents officially notified.
6. The more individual objections received, the more weight they will carry with the planning committee. Although it is tempting to write a ‘form’ letter for residents to copy and submit either by post or via the council website, these will carry far less weight than individually written letters.
7. Petitioning an MP is usually a waste of time. Even if they are sufficiently moved to write to the council, their objections carry no more weight than any other objector. MP’s have no influence over council decisions regarding planning applications.
8. Councillors are usually aware of planning applications in the ward, however, since our ward only has one councillor on the planning committee, ideally confirmation that that councillor will be present is useful. However, you MAY NOT directly petition a councillor if they are sitting on the planning committee. If the councillor who is usually a member of the planning committee but should be absent for the relevant meeting, for whatever reason, his place will be taken by another councillor from the same ward. If however, your councillor has objected to the planning application, he or she will not be permitted to sit in lieu of the absent councillor. This is worth bearing this in mind before approaching councillors for support.
9. A letter objecting to the planning application may be sent to all the councillors on the planning committee. It must be made clear that the same letter has been sent to all members of the planning committee.
10. Although you can no longer speak to councillors at a site visit, it is helpful to have a strong resident turnout for the duration of the site visit.
11. The same applies to meetings where a planning application is decided. A large number of residents supporting the objectors who have been nominated to speak is useful.
12. At the planning meetings, one resident may speak for two minutes giving reasons for their objection to the proposal. It is usually beneficial (depending on the nature of the application) if the resident speaking lives close to the proposed development. Prior notice of the speaker (usually 24 hours) must always be given to the committee clerk or Governance Officer.
13. A local councillor may also speak in support of objectors (see point 4) and they will be given more time to detail objections than a resident.
14. Objections. It should be noted that there are limitations on the grounds on which you can object. The following (not definitive or exhaustive) list details the reasons which are considered valid:
• Loss of light or overshadowing
• Overlooking/loss of privacy
• Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
• Adequacy of parking/loading/turning
• Highway safety
• Traffic generation
• Noise and disturbance resulting from use
• Loss of trees
• Effect on listed building and conservation area
• Layout and density of building
• Design, appearance and materials
• Road access
• Contravenes local, strategic, regional and national planning policies
15. Reasons that are NOT considered valid when objecting to a planning application:
• Possible loss of value to properties in the area
• Nuisance caused by construction work
• Concerns regarding foundations, sewerage etc. These are dealt with under the building regulations.
• Moral objections to a proposed use (e.g. religious opposition to alcohol, gambling, animal slaughter, etc.)
• An applicant’s personality, character, behaviour, ethnic origin or way of life
• Private disputes between neighbours (e.g. boundary disputes over fences, rights of way, etc.).
• Loss of a view from a private property
• Commercial competition or loss of trade
• The fact that a development may be profit-making