FAQs - Neighbouring Development
What you should do if your neighbour has submitted a planning application
If you've received a letter from the Council informing you that your neighbour has submitted a planning application, you may, quite rightly, be curious about what they intend to do and how it may impact you.
To be able to decide whether you will be impacted by your neighbours plans, you need to look up their application online or visit your local Council offices to view their application.
We would encourage you to take the time to try to understand the plans and what the implications of the development may be on your property. If you don’t understand the plans you could ask the Applicant to talk you through them or ask the Planning Officer at the Council to explain them to you.
If once you have considered their proposal and do have questions, you could ask to speak to the Applicant to explain your concerns. They may not have realised that the development would impact you quite so much and may be willing to change their plans to accommodate your concerns.
If this isn’t possible or you still aren’t happy with the plans after speaking with your neighbour, you should write to the Planning Officer at your Council who is in charge of the case.
Your letter (or email – many Council’s have online comment forms linking directly to a planning application) should explain what aspect of the plans you are concerned about and why.
If you feel there is a change that could be made that you would alleviate your concerns (reduction in size, height or the removal of a window for example), then suggest this in your letter.
You don’t need a Planning Consultant to write an objection on your behalf. Planning Officers are skilled at understanding concerns around developments without references to specific planning policies.
Your letter does not need to be technical. It is sufficient to say that you think the extension may block your sunlight because you think it is too tall or close to your living room window for example.
There are a few things that aren’t ‘valid’ reasons for objecting to a planning application.
These are generally a loss of property value, ownership disputes and/or matters that can be adequately addressed by other legislation such as the Party Wall Act.
Although these matters may not be valid reasons to object to a planning application, if they are concerning you, make a note of them in your letter.
The Planning Officer in charge of the case has to balance many issues when determining a planning application and your concerns are a key part of that process.
Their primary point of decision making is the Development Plan. They must determine a planning application in accordance with the policies within the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.
Objections, and indeed letters of support, to a planning application don’t automatically mean that something will be refused or approved. The opinions of neighbours and third parties form part of the planning judgement that your professional Planning Officer must make.
It is often productive to influence a planning application in a positive fashion by engaging with the process and offering possible changes that may make the development more acceptable to you as a neighbour. This positive engagement ensures that development in your local area is shaped to meet everyone's needs.