It’s Nothing Personal

October 22nd, 2015   

Neighbour Planning ObjectionWhat do you do when you want to object to a planning application or planning appeal, but the applicants or appellants are friends or neighbours? You don’t want to fall out with them, but you need to act to protect your interests. How do you handle such a difficult situation?

View the plans

It’s essential that you take the time to view the plans so you fully understand the proposal. You don’t want to jump to the wrong conclusions or start making accusations before you have a complete grasp of the facts. You can view planning applications and appeals online. Better still visit the Council offices so you can see the original plans and take scaled measurements if you need to. If necessary, get some professional advice.

Communicate your concerns

It would be nice to think that your neighbour would approach you before submitting a planning application or planning appeal. Unfortunately, things don’t always work out this way. Sometimes you only find out about it when you receive the official notification from the local planning authority. If that happens to you, it’s not too late to communicate your concerns. Ideally, visit your neighbour so you can discuss your concerns face to face. Try and stay calm and do your best to see both sides of the argument. You may be able to persuade your neighbour to make some changes to the scheme or consider an alternative design.

Don’t make it personal

In my experience, most applicants under-estimate the degree of opposition even minor planning applications can raise. It doesn’t mean they’re out to get you. They’re entitled to their view and you’re entitled to yours. Don’t make it personal. Communicate your concerns calmly and clearly, listen to what they have to say and keep an open mind. Try and stay objective and focus on the planning issues.

Say what you mean to do

It’s not uncommon for applicants to discuss their plans with their neighbours, who appear to have no concerns, only to discover later that their neighbours have objected after all. Doing this will only harm your relationship with your neighbour. Honesty is the best policy. If you have concerns, and particularly if you intend to object, you should say so. It may be awkward, but it will be better that way in the long run.

Seek professional planning advice

Planning applicants and appellants typically employ professional planning consultants to help them. You can do the same. An experienced planning consultant will ensure that your planning objection letters are based on relevant material planning considerations and supported by objective analysis and appropriate evidence. This will show your neighbour that it’s nothing personal. You are simply acting reasonably to protect your interests. Contact me without obligation for advice and a fixed fee quotation.