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(required to read PDF files)

Successfully Objecting to Planning Applications



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Surrey County Council Planning

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1.      Objective

  1. The main objective is to avoid decisions being made by council employees and to put the decision in the hands of Guildfords elected representatives.

  2. This is achieved by getting 10 letters of objection by the deadline submission date.

  3. If you achieve this you will be invited to the planning committee meeting and to put up two speakers against the development each will be allowed 3 minutes.

  4. If the decision is rejected, the developer has right of appeal. You have none, but we can make representations to the inspectorate.

  5. If the number of objections is large the deadline may be extended to allow time for GBC to process them and the applicant may even withdraw or submit amendments.

2.      Action on submission of planning application 

  1. Involve your local councillors this is what you elected them for! Be careful you should identify which of your councillors is on the planning committee, in which case they cannot discuss the application with you, however they can explain planning policy send them a copy of your objection and ask for their support.

  2. Note deadline date of submission of comments (available on GBC's Online Planning Website).

  3. Examine the plans on the website consider lists below and look at council planning policy: Local Plan 2003 and summarised by SCA in Planning Objections Appendix1.  Also see the County's Infrastructure Guide May 2002.

  4. Try and quote policy numbers in your objections e.g. G5(10) etc.

  5. Summarise reasons circulate a letter, ask people to vary petitions are no good they count as one objection!

  6. Get 10 objections this means it automatically goes out of the hands of council employees and has to be decided by elected councillors on the planning committee. Evidence says that we stand more chance with the planning committee.

  7. An objection can be as simple as I object to this planning application.

3.      Reasons for objections (Summary) in descending order of success factors 

  1. Is it building on protected public green space?

  2. Has it been turned down before? examine and quote the reasons

  3. Is it out of Character with the area?

  4. Does it alter building lines?

  5. Does it invade natural light of neighbours?

  6. Does it affect privacy of neighbours?

  7. Is it building on private green space that adds to a feeling of spaciousness?

  8. Is traffic access dangerous?

  9. Will the development encourage on-street parking?

4.      Reasons that are worth mentioning 

  1. Garden grabbing this was an election issue

  2. Impact on traffic generally small developments will be deemed no impact on traffic, but the council has to take account of cumulative effect!

  3. Impact on SPA interim strategy the council want to believe that this will work.

5.      Reasons that carry no weight 

  1. Density of building there is no limit to the number of dwellings per hectare.

  2. Lack of parking spaces carries no weight if public transport services are good (definition 20 minutes to town centre).  Maximum is 1.5 spaces per dwelling.

  3. Damage / weight on a private road.

6.      Features that make it exceptionally difficult 

  1. If the development offers affordable housing especially if under 14 dwellings 14 and over they must offer affordable housing of at least 35% in number houses.

7.  Notes on GBC Planning Process and Policy

  1. See the GBC web-links menu (above-right) for useful places to go.

  2. The GBC planning committee meet in public on Tuesday evening every 3 weeks.  The dates, minutes and agenda can be found here.

  3. GBC allow 21 days from registration of a planning application for individuals to comment on new applications and only 14 days on amendments and repeat applications.  Statutory bodies and other organisations, such as SCA, are always given only 14 days from registration.  Registration is the date on the letters sent out to consultees and neighbours.  If the number of objections is large the deadline may be extended to allow time for GBC to process them.

  4. If you comment on a planning application, then GBC will write informing you of any amendments, withdrawal, or appeals and the date if it goes to committee.

  5. GBC try to ensure their planning policies comply with central government and regional policies because this is meant to reduce the likelihood of successful appeals, which can be costly.  However policies are open to interpretation, so it can be worth asking your GBC officers if they are willing, or asking your local councillor.

  6. GBC policies, including planning, are reviewed every 4 years in a consultative process called the Local Development Framework, to which individuals and organisations can contribute.  This has a timetable and many reviews with final approval by the council executive.  Planning policies are summarised in Planning Objections Appendix1.

  7. Surrey County Council Highways, not GBC, are responsible for our roads, pavements, and traffic safety issues.  The SCC Highways department comment on all planning applications.

8.  Notes on the Appeal Process

  1. You can e-mail your comments to the relevant Planning Inspector at this address: enquiries@pins.gsi.gov.uk  BUT you must quote the appeal reference in the subject heading or at the top of your e-mail text.
  2. Search for an appeal to find out what the appeal reference is.  Currently this web-site is very problematic, and it may take several different attempts before you will successfully find an appeal.

  3. You can submit your comment online via the Search for an appeal.

  4. Don't forget to mention what the appeal is about, such as the address.
  5. Alternatively you can write with the same reference number but you have to send 3 copies of your letter whereas only 1 e-mail is needed. The address is:

The Planning Inspectorate,

Room 3/26 Hawk Wing,

2 The Square, Temple Quay,

Bristol BS1 6PN.


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Page last updated: 18-Jul-10