Objection Letter Tips

People will have many reasons to support or oppose a planning application.  They may be entirely sensible but some of them cannot legally be considered when deciding whether to grant or reject an application. Valid objections to planning applications are called “material planning considerations”.  These include:
 

  • Loss of light or overshadowing. This isn’t just a high wall – it means loss of light to the extent that you don’t get enough natural daylight to see by.

  • 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.

  • Hazardous materials.

  • Smells.

  • Loss of trees.

  • Effect on listed buildings and conservation area.

  • Layout and density of building.

  • Design, appearance and materials.

  • Landscaping.

  • Road access

  • Local, strategic, regional and national planning policies.

  • Government circulars, orders and statutory instruments.

  • Disabled persons’ access.

  • Proposals in the Development Plan.

  • Nature conservation.

  • Archaeology.

  • Fear of crime, with evidence to show that the fear is based in reality.


The following comments about planning applications cannot legally be taken into account. These include:
 

  • Loss of value to your property.

  • Competition with an existing business.

  • Loss of view 

  • Private covenants or agreements.

  • The applicant’s personal conduct or history.

  • The applicant’s motives.

  • Potential profit from the application for the applicant.

  • Private rights to light.

  • Private rights to way/access.

  • Damage to property.

  • Disruption during any construction phase.

  • Work already done.

  • Fence lines.

  • Loss of trade or competitors.

  • Age, health, status, background.

  • Work patterns of the objector.

  • Time taken to do the work.

  • Capacity of private drains.

  • Building or structural techniques.


Your objection letter should be short (no more than 2 pages), with bullet points on no more than 5-6 key issues. The Planning Case Officer will need to summarise all the objections received. It will be easier for them to do this accurately if you keep your objection to the point. Try not to ramble!


Here is a real example:
“I think this proposal is ludicrous. To put so many houses in this area is not a good idea. I use this green space regularly to walk my dog and to build on it is ridiculous. If it goes ahead then there will be a loss of amenity for the community”.

Although this is heartfelt and green space is important, it might be more likely to be listened to if it is phrased like this:
“I object to this proposal because the land it is on is used regularly by local residents for exercise and recreation. There will be a loss of an important community amenity”.

 

Finally, do make sure you put your name, address, contact details and a reference to the application in your response.