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How to make a comment on a planning application

You can support, object to or make a general comment about an application. Representations submitted online will be published and will be available to view on our website. Representations received by post will also be published.

The easiest way to make a comment is to find the planning application you’re interested in and to use the associated ‘Make a Public Comment’ option. 

Alternatively, you can post comments to us quoting the application reference number.  We can't accept comments by phone.

The council has a statutory obligation under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to make the names and addresses of planning applicants available to the public as the information forms part of the Statutory Register for an application.  Planning comments (comments made in support or against an application) are also deemed to form part of the Statutory Register (part II). The register must be available for inspection by any person. Please do not include any personal information in your comment that you would not be happy to be publicly available. Please do not include personal information of others without their permission.

Comments submitted online are made available online. Your name and address are published with your comment. Telephone numbers and email addresses will be removed (redacted). If the application goes to appeal your comment in it’s entirety (with your contact details) will be shared with the planning inspectorate and the appellant.

It is important to state that transparency in the area of planning is in the public interest. However, as a council we do have a process for not proactively publishing personal information. Where there is a genuine concern raised by someone making a planning comment to having their name published e.g. evidenced fear of safety, or attracting unwarranted attention if, for example, the person were a well-known public figure, then these types of considerations will be assessed and names potentially redacted from the comment.  Names of individuals will only be redacted in exceptional circumstances.  This is fairly common practice across many local authorities and Barnet would not redact your name purely based on your wish to be anonymous and therefore not accountable for their objection.

If you wish to make a comment on an application and do not wish to have your name and address published you can write to us with your comment, providing details of the exceptional circumstances that apply and the application number your comment applies to.  The council will consider requests on a case by case basis and if approved, your name and address will not be proactively published online, but will still be released reactively in response to a request under the Environmental Information Regulations EIR requests and responses are published on the council’s website.

Objections

The main issue for us is whether the proposed development of the site is acceptable in planning terms and is in the public interest. Planning applications are judged against the policies in the Adopted Local Plan, government guidance and other material considerations. We have to consider the effect the proposal might have on others, and on other interests, such as the amenity of residents, road safety, buildings or places of historic or architectural importance, and a wide variety of other matters relating to the environment. If you are making an objection we can only take into account valid reasons to object. These are known as 'material planning considerations'. Before making an objection you should check that your objection is valid.

What is a valid objection to a planning application

As explained, the Council can only take into account 'material planning considerations' when looking at your comments. The most common of these are shown below:

  • Loss of light or overshadowing
  • Overlooking / loss of privacy
  • Visual amenity (but not loss of private view)
  • Adequacy of parking/loading/turning
  • Traffic generation, Highway safety and parking
  • Noise and disturbance resulting from use
  • Loss of trees
  • Effect on listed building and conservation area
  • Layout and density of building
  • Design, for example height/bulk/position of buildings, appearance, materials, effect on surrounding area
  • Landscaping
  • Road access
  • Local, strategic, regional and national planning policies
  • Previous planning decisions (including appeal decisions)
  • Nature conservation.

We cannot take into account matters which are sometimes raised but are not normally planning considerations such as:

  • The perceived loss of property value
  • Private disputes between neighbours
  • The loss of a view
  • The impact of construction work or competition between firms
  • Matters covered by other legislation, including restrictive covenants on land
  • Ownerships disputes over rights of way
  • The applicant’s motives, character or personal circumstances

Note: it is important to understand that the material considerations relevant to any particular application will need to be weighed in the final decision process according to their seriousness and relative importance.

Asking to speak at committee

If you wish to be considered as a potential speaker, should the application be reviewed by committee, you need to state this when making your comment on the application. This is done either by ticking the ‘request to speak’ box on the online system for commenting, or if you are making a comment by post then please write ‘I request to speak at committee' visibly at the top of your letter. 

How we use your comments

Consultation letters are sent as part of the normal planning application process. The public have 21 days to comment.

A planning officer will visit the planning application site and will also review all the comments made by interested parties. The officer can ask the applicant to make amendments at this stage.

When all the necessary information has been received and the consultation period is over, the case officer will write a report and make a recommendation. This will be considered by a planning manager or senior planner who has delegated authority to make a decision for most cases.

Speaking at committee

Most planning applications are approved or declined by council officers who review your written comments and summarise these within their report. Some applications will be discussed at a council planning committee; the council’s constitution allows for up to two speakers for each application to be heard by committee.

If you wish to be considered as a potential speaker, should the application be reviewed by committee, you need to state this when making your comment on the application. This is done either by ticking the ‘request to speak’ box on the online system for commenting, or if you are providing at written response by post or email then please write ‘I request to speak at committee’ visibly at the top of your letter. 

If more than two people request to speak, then we expect them to agree among themselves who is best placed to speak. To arrange this, we provide the name and email address of everyone who has requested to speak on the item to each other. You will be asked to agree to this before we disclose your information. It is not possible for you to request to speak without agreeing to your name and email address being shared with other people who also want to speak on this application.

Members of the public who have requested to speak, will be advised of the date and time of the meeting. In the event of multiple requests to speak being made, their contact details will be shared with fellow interested parties so that potential speakers can agree what will be presented to committee and by whom.

For more information see our full privacy statement

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