THE CAMPDEN SOCIETY
"Protecting the architectural and historic quality of Chipping Campden, its open spaces and its natural setting."
Guidance on Responding to a Planning Application in the Cotswold Area
Planning law is a broad subject, but anyone may make an objection to a planning application. The following guidance is a brief overview on how to make a planning objection. For more in-depth advice and guidance on more complex planning matters there is a planning blog written by Martin Goodall which provides more detail:
Planning applications are considered and administered by the local authority at district level. For Chipping Campden this is Cotswold District Council. The Town Council consider planning applications but although the District Council is required to consult the Town Council, it is not required to adopt their views.
Making an objection to a planning application
There is no restriction on what you can say about a planning application, but there is no point in putting things in your letter which are not relevant to planning. By law the Council can only take into account the planning issues and must not allow themselves to be influenced by other considerations unless they really are relevant to planning. It therefore makes sense when objecting to a planning application to concentrate on those aspects of a development which are likely to be unacceptable in terms of their visual impact; effect on the character of a neighbourhood; possible noise and disturbance; overlooking and loss of privacy, etc.
The likely effect of the development on the residential amenity of neighbours is clearly an important consideration. On the other hand, a possibly adverse impact on property values is not a relevant planning consideration, and so there is no point in mentioning it.
Valid reasons for objecting
The following are the grounds on which planning permission is most likely to be refused (although this list is not intended to be definitive):
Adverse effect on the residential amenity of neighbours, by reason of (among other factors) noise*, disturbance*, overlooking, loss of privacy, overshadowing, etc. [*but note that this does not include noise or disturbance arising from the actual execution of the works, which will not be taken into account, except possibly in relation to conditions that may be imposed on the planning permission, dealing with hours and methods of working, etc. during the development].
Unacceptably high density - over-development of the site, especially if it involves loss of garden land or the open aspect of the neighbourhood (so-called ‘garden grabbing’). However, if you have a view over a neighbouring field or garden that will be lost this is not necessarily grounds for objection as this may be a ‘borrowed’ view.
Visual impact of the development.
Effect of the development on the character of the neighbourhood.
Design (including bulk and massing, detailing and materials, if these form part of the application).
The proposed development is over-bearing, out-of-scale or out of character in terms of its appearance compared with existing development in the vicinity.
The loss of existing views from neighbouring properties would adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring owners.
Conservation Areas: the adverse effect of the development on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
Listed Buildings: If near a Listed Building, adverse effect of the development on the setting of the Listed Building. There are three grades of listing - Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II in order of importance and rarity. To check if a building is listed visit https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list
The development would adversely affect highway safety or the convenience of road users, but only if there is technical evidence to back up such a claim.
Note: One point which is controversial is the relevance in planning terms of the loss of a view. It is often said that “there is no right to a view”. Whilst this is correct in strictly legal terms, it does not mean that the loss of a view is necessarily irrelevant to planning. The enjoyment of a view could be an important part of the residential amenity of a neighbouring property, and its loss might therefore have an adverse impact on the residential amenity of that property. Loss of a view from a public viewpoint might also have a wider impact on a neighbourhood, and such matters ought to be taken into account where they are raised.
Avoid making irrelevant objections
Objections that will not be taken into account in deciding on the acceptability of the development in planning terms:
The precise identity of the applicant.
The racial or ethnic origin of the applicant, their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, political views or affiliations or any other personal attributes.
The reasons or motives of the applicant in applying for planning permission (for example if the development is thought to be purely speculative).
Any profit likely to be made by the applicant.
The behaviour of the applicant.
Nuisance or annoyance previously caused by the applicant [unless this relates to an existing development for which retrospective permission is being sought].
Concerns about possible future development of the site (as distinct from the actual development which is currently being proposed).
Any effect on the value of neighbouring properties.
Other helpful advice
Points to bear in mind when making an objection:
Your objection will have more effect if a number of people write in to object, but do not be tempted to organise a petition; it will not carry any weight.
If there are a number of people who object to the planning application it is a good idea if possible to agree the grounds of the objections but avoid using a ‘standard’ letter. Objectors should use their own words and write or type the letters themselves. Objections will carry greater weight if they are individually written and will be less effective if they are seen to have been written or produced in a standardised form.
Keep your letter to the point and be as factual as possible. Please be polite – remember that although your name will be redacted from the letter all responses are published online as part of the planning process and it is obvious when neighbours have responded.
Lobbying councillors: (The following information refers to Councillors on the Planning Committee, and/or the Planning sub-committee at Cotswold District Council).
It used to be a lot easier than it is now to approach Councillors about pending planning applications. Revised local government legislation and the nationally imposed Code of Conduct which Councillors now have to follow have made them much more cautious about being lobbied. For that reason, attempts to persuade individual Councillors to support your cause in relation to a particular planning application are likely to be rebuffed, and in some cases a Councillor who has been lobbied may even feel that they have to refrain from taking part in the decision solely for that reason. There has been some relaxation of the code of conduct, but you should continue to be cautious about lobbying Councillors.
As a general rule, the most effective way of ‘lobbying’ Councillors is to write an identical letter to all members of the planning committee (or the sub-committee which is going to determine the application), and make it clear in the text of the letter that this is a letter which is being written to all the members. You cannot be sure that the Councillors will actually read the letter, but you will at least have communicated your views direct to Councillors, rather than having them ‘filtered’ or summarised by officers in their committee report.
There is little merit in writing to your Member of Parliament. Even if he or she is persuaded to write in on behalf of constituents, the views expressed will carry no greater weight than those of any other objector. An MP has no authority or influence over the Council, and certainly cannot arbitrate or mediate in planning matters or act as some sort of appeal tribunal.
Who to write to
Write to Cotswold District Council Planning Department (CDC), either by post or by e-mail. You can also use the comments facility on the planning portal on the CDC website.
Quote the planning application number as a subject line at the top of your letter and address it to the relevant planning officer (shown on the Council’s letter to you or on the Council’s website).
You may want to copy Campden Town Council into your letter so that they are aware of your views.
You may want to copy in The Campden Society as it will help us to shape the Society.
Cotswold District Council:
Planning Department, Cotswold District Council, Council Offices, Trinity Road, Cirencester, Gloucestershire. GL7 1PX
Phone: 01285 623000
For general planning enquiries you can email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chipping Campden Town Council:
Mrs Jo Ellis (Clerk), Old Police Station, High Street, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. GL55 6HB
Phone: 01386 841298
The Campden Society: Email us at email@example.com
Disclaimer: The Campden Society is committed to publishing useful information for its members and other interested parties however we are not providing professional advice. Although we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of this guidance, no liability can be accepted for any errors, omissions, or any reliance placed on this information.