We encourage the community to participate in the planning process which helps to shape and form the environment in which we all live, work and enjoy in our leisure time. The involvement of the general public is valued, as it enables planning officials to reach a balanced view when deciding upon planning applications.

Every member of the community has the right to comment on any planning application, and the purpose of this guide is to assist how best you might make your views known.

Comment on a planning application

How do you comment on a planning application?

If you wish to support or object a planning application, the first step is for you to find out as much as you can about the details of the application. This can be achieved either by discussing the proposal with the applicant, by inspecting the application via the planning explorer.

If you then decide you wish to make comments on the application, you can do so within the application you are viewing, where it states ‘add comments here’. Alternatively, you can email dcsupport@eaststaffsbc.gov.uk or write to East Staffordshire Borough Council, P.O. Box 8045, Burton upon Trent, Staffordshire, DE14 9JG.

Please note that a petition with more than one name on it will be counted as one representation and correspondence will be sent to the first name shown on the petition.

What details should you include in your comments?

Whether you are writing to the council to object or support an application, you should clearly identify the planning application you are referring to and the particular points which you wish the council to consider. The council, when assessing a planning application, must have regard to the local plan policies. When dealing with planning applications, the following matters are considered to be material planning considerations and may be relevant.

  • written representations from members of the public
  • views of statutory and other consultees
  • overlooking/loss of privacy
  • loss of light or overshadowing
  • government policy and guidance
  • local policy and guidance
  • planning site history (i.e. previous decisions/appeal decision)
  • impact on amenity
  • impact on access, parking or road safety
  • design of the proposal
  • compatibility with other uses in the area
  • affect on a listed building or conservation area
  • affect on tree preservation order
  • precedent
  • noise and disturbance
  • impact upon biodiversity and protected species
  • highway safety
  • traffic

Certain matters are not normally material planning considerations and will not be taken into account by us when we decide on a planning application. These include:

  • devaluation of property
  • loss of a view
  • hours of construction
  • commercial/business competition
  • moral and religious issues
  • matters which relate to other regulatory regimes such as Building Standards or Health and Safety
  • matters which relate to safety or disruption during construction
  • civil matters
  • perceived health and safety risks

Please note that these lists are not exhaustive.

Time period for making a comment?

If you are responding to a neighbour notification notice or are aware of the application by some other means, you have 14 or 21 days from the date of the notice to submit your written comments (if amended plans are received you may have 14 days to respond).

Where an application has been advertised in the local press by the council, you will have either 14 or 21 days from the date of the advert to submit your written comments. Please check the specific advert for which time period applies.

Has an application been submitted

There are five main ways that you might discover that a planning application has been submitted to the council:

  • Neighbour notification: The council issues a neighbour notification notice on certain neighbouring property owners and occupiers.
  • Local press: Following submission of certain applications, the council may decide, because of the nature of the proposal, that the application should be advertised in the local press. This allows a wider section of the community to be aware of the proposal.
  • Site notice: A site notice will be located close to the application site with the planning application details.
  • Online: You can search for ‘live’ planning applications through the online mapping facility or planning explorer.
  • Parish council: Your local parish council are consulted on planning applications, you may therefore wish to discuss applications with them.

The publicity requirements document provides information on how we publicise applications.

Personal information

If you make comments on a planning application, we do not currently publish these online. However they are available for inspection by the public and copies may be loaded to the website if requested.

If you are requesting to speak at the planning applications committee, we may need to pass on your contact details to other speakers who have requested to speak on the same application. This is because there is a combined total of 3 minutes for all objectors to make their public address, and the same for supporters of the application. Sharing the contact details allows requestors to collaborate a response together.

What happens next?

The council has given delegated powers to the development control team, which are a wide range of powers to determine many planning applications without the need to report to the planning applications committee. Where representations are received within the agreed time periods, these will be taken into account in the determination of the application. Please see the "is there a time period for making a comment?" section above for further information. You should note that all representations received will be available for public scrutiny. Depending on the number of objections, the application may be dealt with under delegated powers or by the planning application committee.

The planning applications committee generally meets every four weeks in the Town Hall, King Edward Place, Burton upon Trent, DE14 2EB. Should you wish to find out if the application will be dealt with by the planning applications committee you should contact the relevant case officer. Planning staff can give more information on committee dates.

Where an application is determined by the planning applications committee, a report will be prepared by the planning officer regarding the proposal, and will refer to the letters received, summarising the points raised and include an evaluation of the issues. The report concludes by making a recommendation to the committee as to how the application should be determined.

The committee agenda and the papers will be available for public inspection five working days in advance of the committee meeting. It is the committee's practice to allow members of the public who have submitted a letter regarding an application to speak at the Committee meetings, although numbers are limited. The same policy applies to the applicant. All meetings are held in public, and you may attend to listen to the debate.

There is no right of appeal by objectors against the decision of the planning authority regarding a planning application. An applicant may submit an appeal to the planning inspectorate should the application be refused or where it is approved with conditions, when this occurs, you will as an objector be notified and given the opportunity to express your views to the planning inspectorate (apart from fast track appeals).

Local government ombudsman

Should you consider that the council has not followed the correct procedures in dealing with the planning application then you may want to raise a complaint. If you have been through all stages of our complaints procedure and are still unhappy, you can ask the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman to review your complaint.

The ombudsman is not able to change the decision, but can investigate whether the way in which the council has made the decision or complies with legal and statutory requirements. The ombudsman is appointed as an independent adjudicator and can investigate where there appears to have been maladministration by the local authority. If you consider that you have suffered an injustice as a result of maladministration on the part of the council, then you can ask the ombudsman to investigate.

What else can you do?

You could discuss your comments with your local councillor. Alternatively you could contact your parish council, who are a statutory consultee in the planning process and frequently submit views to represent the local community.

Frequently asked questions

How do I find the application number?

The application number is on the consultation letter, or any site notice or newspaper advert. If you do not know it, you can search the planning explorer for the site address or use the online mapping system to locate the application.

What if I need more help?

If you are housebound, need an interpreter, or have a disability that makes it difficult to view or understand the plans, please contact us and we will arrange further help.

What will you do with my comments?

We will make sure your comments are properly recorded and considered. Where appropriate, we will seek changes to the application to overcome planning concerns and if changes are made we may consult you again. If the application goes to the planning applications committee, we will tell them your comments. Any comments made can be made available for public inspection.

Need more help?

If you require any further help please contact us.