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Objecting, supporting and making comments on planning applications

An important part of the planning process is the involvement of local people, organisations and businesses making their views known about planning applications. You can support, object or make general comments about an application. However, only certain issues can be taken into account, which are known as 'material planning considerations'.

This page provides information on neighbour consultation and what constitutes a valid material consideration and issues that are not considered relevant to the decision making process for planning applications. 

Publicising planning applications

Purbeck District Council publicises planning applications in a variety of ways, including site notices, neighbour notification letters and in certain circumstances, press adverts in the Daily Echo or Dorset Evening Echo, depending on the location in the district.  Consultation periods range from between 14 to 28 days, during which time, a planning application Decision Notice cannot be issued.  In reality, most planning applications take between 6 to 8 weeks to process and representations will be accepted at anytime until the Decision Notice is issued.

Who can comment

Anyone can submit a representation on a planning application, but the council does not accept anonymous letters and therefore a full postal address is required with all representations made. All acceptable representations will be available for public viewing with the application documentation on our website, including names and postal address, but email addresses, telephone numbers and signatures will be removed from view by redaction of the document.

Representations can be statements of support, objection or general comments about an application. However, if the representation is a statement of objection, only certain issues, known as material planning considerations will be taken into account in deciding the planning application. When making a representation, please avoid making any statements that could compromise the security of your premises, i.e. holiday dates or details of when the property is left empty.

Material planning considerations

Issues that can be considered to form a valid objection to an application and be taken into account include the following. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other material planning considerations may exist.

  • Local, strategic and national planning policies, plus emerging new plans that have been through at least one stage of consultation
  • Government circulars, orders, statutory instruments, guidance and advice
  • Previous planning and appeal decisions, plus principles of case law held through the courts
  • Overshadowing and loss of light based on Building Research Establishment guidance
  • Overlooking and loss of privacy
  • Highway issues, including traffic generation, vehicular access and highway safety
  • Noise and disturbance from proposed use, including operating hours
  • Smells and fumes
  • Storage and handling of hazardous materials
  • Effect on listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments and archaeology
  • Loss or effect on trees
  • Adverse impacts on nature conservation interests and biodiversity
  • Layout and density of building design, visual appearance and finishing materials
  • Landscaping and means of enclosure

In the course of reaching a decision on the application, each relevant material consideration is given weight according to their seriousness and relative importance. In dealing with issues raised, if a suitable planning condition can be used to overcome problems, the Local Planning Authority is required to consider this option as an alternative to refusing the application.

Non-material planning considerations

Issues that are not relevant to the decision making process and cannot be taken into account include the following.  Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and other non-material planning considerations may exist.

  • Loss of view
  • Negative impact on property value
  • Land and boundary disputes between neighbours and/or damage to property
  • Private rights of access and covenants
  • The impact of construction work
  • Opposition to business competition
  • Personal morals or views about the applicant
  • Opposition to the principle of development if this has been decided by an outline planning permission or appeal decision.
  • Matters controlled under other non-planning legislation, for example, building regulations.

Making representations on a planning application

There is an online submission form for making representations on a planning application. This form can also be found under the 'Neighbours' tab in each individual planning record using the Purbeck planning application search. Alternatively, representations can be emailed or posted using the contact details below.

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