How do I object to a planning application?

Q: How do I successfully object to a planning application my neighbour has put in for a double storey extension to the side of their house? Can one of your planning experts give me a steer on the most important factors planners take into account when deciding?

 

When objecting to a planning application, it is important to remember that the planning officers and planning committee can only take valid planning issues into account when considering the merits of a planning application. Whilst construction nuisance and possible impacts on the value of property can be very real issues, they are not planning matters and as such do not determine the merits of the planning application. If your neighbour is proposing a large extension adjacent to your property, the issues to consider are whether it will cause you to lose a significant level of sunlight and daylight; whether there are windows in the extension which would result in you feeling much more overlooked and causing a loss of privacy; and whether you would feel a greater sense of enclosure, or a feeling of being hemmed in, in your property because of the close proximity and height of the extension.In planning, loss of a view is not a consideration but if your outlook becomes unacceptably closed in then this is a planning matter.

If you feel that some or all of these would arise from the proposed extension, they are material considerations in the determination of an application, and I would recommend writing to the case officer explaining your concerns about the proposal and the impact your feel it would have on these matters: outlook, light and privacy. If you also feel that the design of the extension looks too dominant and overbearing in terms of the host building and also the character of built form in your street, then this is also a valid planning issue to raise.

The design may also be out of keeping with the existing style of property. Design is however quite a subjective matter, and often a stronger objection can be made in terms of the impact on light, outlook etc as this affects the enjoyment of your property. I would also recommend speaking to the case officer to let them know that you will be making an objection and when they need to have it by. I tend to think on an issue like this that a petition might appear too orchestrated.

The impact of an extension is really on the immediate neighbours not everyone else up and down your road. However, sometimes it can help to speak to your local ward councillor as they may be willing to help and perhaps speak at committee on your behalf or to the planning department.      

Simon Wallis BA Hons, MA, MRTPI, Associate Director, Planning, Savills, Incorporating The London Planning Practice Ltd

 

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