How to comment on a planning application
Things to read
Making comments on planning applications is your opportunity to have a say in the decision making process by looking at and considering the documents and plans and sending us your comments.
Please note that should a householder application become the subject of an appeal dealt with by written representation, against refusal of planning permission, there may be no opportunity under the fast track Householder Appeal Service procedure to make further comment at the appeal stage. Comments received at the application stage will be forwarded to the Planning Inspectorate.
Understanding the proposal
The application documents will be available to view on our planning searches and consultations page where you can search for an application.
If you have viewed the documents and have any further queries, please contact the planning officer who is dealing with the case. Their contact number is provided on our website and on any consultation letter you may have received.
If possible, they will explain the proposal to you over the phone or you may also be able to arrange a meeting with them at the Brent Customer Service Centre.
In exceptional circumstances, they might be able to visit you on site.
If you are registered with Brent Social Services as having a disability which prevents you from visiting our offices, we may be able to send you a copy of the application please ring for details.
Having your say
Once you understand the proposal, you may wish to comment. Comments are best made online (you will need to register an account).
For a comment to be taken into account it should meet all of the following criteria:
- it is submitted on-line via the Council’s Planning Public Access System or it is received by letter or an email*;
- it is in response to a current application that has been publicised by the Council;
- it includes the person’s name and postal address;
- it is from a person who lives or works or carries on a business:
- in Brent; or
- in a ward which is actually and directly affected by the application and adjoins Brent but is in a neighbouring authority’s area;
- it raises planning considerations that are material and related to the application;
- it clearly states what is being objected to and gives reason(s) which are relevant planning considerations; and
any material planning objection raised cannot be overcome by imposing planning condition(s) or securing planning obligation(s).
* Identical, similar or pro-forma letters or emails, which also meet all of the above criteria, will each be treated as a single signature in support of a petition and not as individual objections in their own right.
To create a new user account go to our planning records database, click on 'Register' in the menu bar and fill in the required fields. Please note you will be required to provide your full name and address.
1. Go to our planning records database on the planning searches and consultations page. To log in, select 'Planning simple search', and enter the application reference number. Go to the 'comments' tab and select 'make a comment'.
When adding your address, if you live in a building divided into flats, please state your flat number clearly, even if you share a communal entrance door or letterbox with the other residents.
Please do not put any personal contact details or signatures in the main text of the comment, as this information will be viewable on our website.
2. You may also submit your comments by post to the case officer at Planning and Regeneration, Brent Civic Centre, Engineer's Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ or by sending an email to the address specified on the letter sent to you. Please quote the planning application reference number so that we can match it to the correct application.
If we receive a petition or a standard letter from multiple contacts, we will record the comments as 'PETITION received', either against the contact details of the Head Petitioner / Original Author of standard template letter or against the first name and address that is listed on the petition or that we receive the standard template letter from.
Please reply within the stated time scale. If you respond after this period, your views may only be taken into account, if the application has not yet been decided.
A warning about your comments
Comments we receive about an application are a public record for anybody to see, including the applicant or other neighbours.
Therefore, please avoid writing anything that you would not want other people to read.
Comments made will be summarised in a publicly available report when the application is determined. Names will not be included but a locational description e.g. ‘neighbour’ may be used.
For data protection reasons, we do not display on the website personal data such as your name, signature, telephone or email contact details. However, your comments as received, may still be inspected at our offices, or made available in an electronic format with signature and personal contact details removed.
Planning law specifies what factors may be taken into account when deciding a planning application. (These are listed below.)
Planning permission deals with the appearance of new buildings, their impact upon neighbours and the locality, and the appropriateness of the use of land and buildings. Planning regulations are not designed to deal with structural matters (e.g. foundations and drainage), civil matters (e.g. boundary disputes), or personal matters (e.g. people's approval or disapproval of particular individuals or organisations).
Matters not normally relevant to planning applications are listed below.
An application may not be refused simply because many people are opposed to it. The Planning process seeks to balance the rights of applicants to develop or use their land as they wish, with the rights of neighbours to continue to enjoy the use of theirs.
It also has to consider the wider public good, government guidance and planning policies.
Objections normally relevant to planning
- problems of increased noise, smell, dust, traffic, etc. caused by the use (but not during construction work)
- loss of light, privacy or outlook
- number, size or design of buildings
- traffic safety or congestion, including effects on pedestrians
- effect on parking
- transport issues, e.g. availability of public transport, facilities for pedestrians, cyclists and people with disabilities
- loss of trees or other natural features
- effect on the character of the area
- effects on conservation areas, listed buildings, protected open spaces and nature conservation areas
- loss of more beneficial land uses, e.g. employment uses, homes or community uses
- opportunities for crime arising from a development
- conflict with government or council policies.
Objections not normally relevant to planning
Some objections cannot be taken into account because they are outside the control of planning legislation. This list is not exhaustive but highlights the most common issues:
- possible loss of value to properties in the area
- nuisance caused during construction work - this is covered by environmental health legislation
- Concerns regarding foundations and sewerage - these are dealt with under the building regulations
- moral objections to a proposed use e.g. religious opposition to alcohol, gambling and animal slaughter
- an applicant's personality, character, behaviour, ethnic origin or way of life
- private matters between neighbours e.g. boundary disputes over fences and rights of way
- loss of a view from a private property
- commercial competition or loss of trade
- the fact that a development may be profit-making
- the history of the site e.g. any restrictive covenants
- the internal layout of private buildings (except where an undesirable use of part of a building, such as one involving noise or vibrations from industrial machinery, could affect neighbours)
- health concerns about mobile-phone masts - such masts already have to comply with existing national and international guidelines for radiation emissions; any further legislation needed to safeguard public health is the responsibility of central government, not local councils.
What happens after you have commented
We will endeavour to log your comment on the application record within five working days of receipt. You may wish to check online to see if your comment is listed.
Planning applications are either decided by senior officer (most minor applications or cases where the planning issues are relatively clear), or at a public meeting by councillors who are members of the Planning Committee.
You can also speak at a Planning Committee meeting. Find out more
Types of application decided by the planning committee
1. Applications that are non-householder, would normally have been approved, but which have three or more objectors.
2. Applications that the head of planning considers are of importance or interest to Councillors.
3. Applications that three or more councillors request be dealt with by the Planning Committee.
4. Applications that have particular significance and which exceed specified criteria agreed by the council.
This criteria was agreed by the council at its meeting on 11 May 2011 and also now exclude applications for residential extensions.
If you have written to us about an application which is to be decided by the Planning Committee, we will inform you, either by email if provided or in writing, of:
- the time and date of the Planning Committee meeting
- the time and date of any visit to the application site by the Planning Committee before the meeting, if applicable (this normally takes place on the previous Saturday)
- your right to address the Planning Committee meeting and how to arrange to speak at that meeting.
If you wish to know the outcome of the application, please check the website for a decision. Please see the decision notice for details of either its refusal or if granted, any conditions attached to that permission.