How planning decisions are made

Page updated on: 30/08/2023

Planning applications can only be decided on matters relevant to planning these are known as material considerations. The most common of these include:

  • Effect on traffic, access, road safety and parking
  • Scale, appearance and impact on surrounding area and adjoining neighbours
  • Loss of light
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Effect on nature conservation and loss of trees
  • Impact on Listed Buildings and/or Conservation Areas
  • Something contrary to Council policy
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from development
  • Whether the use would be appropriate for the area

Often people wish to comment on matters that cannot be taken into account because they are not controlled by planning legislation. Common objections that cannot be considered include: 

  • Loss of property value
  • Loss of a view
  • Private issues between neighbours such as party wall disputes, damage to property, private rights of way, covenants or the like
  • Problems associated with construction work such as noise, dust and disturbance by construction vehicles (if you are experiencing these problems the Public Protection and Environmental Health team may be able to help)
  • Competition between firms
  • Structural and fire precaution matters (controlled by building control legislation)
  • Alternative types of development you might prefer. 

Planning managers have powers to decide some applications and they will take written comments into account. When an application has to be considered by a Committee, planning officers will write a report which includes a recommendation and a summary of comments received. The report will be presented to the appropriate Committee, which is made up of elected ward Councillors.

In some circumstances you may also be given the opportunity to speak at the committee meeting. For more information on speaking at these meetings please contact the planning officer handling the application as soon as possible. The Committee will consider your comments along with the other planning issues relating to the case. The Committee are not bound by the planning officer’s recommendation. It may grant or refuse planning permission.

You can track planning applications online and view associated documents and the decision notice.

View a planning application