Commenting on other applications
If you wish to have your say on a planning application, there is a limited amount of time in which you can send comments to the local planning office as the decision process needs to stick to timetables.
Finding out about developments
If you are affected by a new development proposal, you may first hear about it as a neighbour who is informally consulted by the developer.
After the planning application has been made, the local planning authority will post notices near the site and/or write letters to those closest to the proposed development, inviting comments.
Larger developments will also be advertised in a local newspaper. In some cases, local authorities also keep local civic and environment societies informed of all applications in the area. The details of the proposals, including architects' drawings, will be available for inspection at the local council offices.
- Find your local council
Making your views known
There will be a limited amount of time in which to send comments to the local planning office. It is very important to meet any deadline or your submission may not be taken into account.
It is possible to attend committee meetings dealing with planning applications. In many cases members of the public can speak briefly to ensure that the committee is aware of their views.
However, only elected members of the council can vote on the application decision itself.
After the local authority decision is made
In England and Wales it is not possible for a third party to appeal against a local planning authority's decision.
For example, if your neighbour was granted permission to build an extension you could not appeal against it - even if you objected to the application at an earlier stage of the process.
Complaining about planning decisions
In some cases, complaints about how a local planning authority handled a planning application can be referred to the Local Government Ombudsman.
The Ombudsman cannot investigate a complaint about a planning decision just because the applicant and the local authority do not agree about it.
The Ombudsman has no power to alter the decision, even if the local authority administration has not been entirely correct.
However, in cases where the Ombudsman decides that the local authority has acted incorrectly in handling a planning matter, the Ombudsman can order the authority to pay damages to the complainants.
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