Information on how to Comment on a Planning Application
Members of the public have the right to comment on most types of planning applications.
To comment on, find out more about the application, view plans and associated documents and when the consultation process ends you need to Search for a Planning Application.
If you do not have access to the internet, you can use the self-service computers at all South Hams and West Devon Council Offices. Council staff can help you use the Planning pages of our websites if you need assistance to view applications and make comments electronically.
Comments should usually be made during the consultation period although they may be accepted after the consultation period has ended as long as the decision has not been made.
Comments submitted to the Council cannot be treated as confidential.
Please do not include any information that you would not wish to be made public. Your comments must not be offensive, inflammatory or libellous and must follow the guidance below. If they do not, they may not be considered by the Case Officer and your representation may be returned to you, or edited by us prior to publication.
Your name, address and comments will be available to the public on the Council's website and your comments will be a public document. E-mail addresses, telephone numbers and signatures will be removed before publication onto our website.
Please allow 3 working days for comments submitted to be viewable on our website (please note - for applications which receive large numbers of comments, it is likely to take longer to publish them).
When submitting your comments, it is important to note the contents of your representation/comments must not:
- Contain any personal names, please use words such as applicant, neighbour, etc.
- Contain any personal information such as you're living on your own, you're on holiday next week etc.
- Contain any information relating to medical data for yourself or others; this is unlawful for us to process.
- Contain any material which is defamatory of any person.
- Contain any material which is obscene, offensive, hateful or inflammatory.
- Promote sexually explicit material.
- Promote violence.
- Promote discrimination based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexuality orientation, or age.
- Infringe any copyright, database right or trade mark of any other person.
- Be likely to deceive any person.
- Be made in breach of any legal duty owed to a third party, such as a contractual duty or a duty of confidence.
- Promote any illegal activity.
- Be threatening, abusive or invade another's privacy, or cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety.
- Be likely to harass, upset, embarrass, alarm or annoy any other person.
- Be used to impersonate anyone, or to misrepresent your identity or affiliation with anyone.
- Give the impression that they emanate from us, if this is not the case.
- Advocate, promote or assist any unlawful act such as (by way of example only), copyright infringement or computer misuse.
What should I include in my comments?
- Be a material planning consideration for the application,
- Support/agree to the application or;
- Object to the application.
When commenting on planning applications, please remember that the council can only take into account material planning considerations.
This list is not exhaustive but it gives an idea of the sort of things that would be classed as a material planning consideration.
- Car parking provision.
- Design, including appearance, layout, scale, density and materials.
- Highway safety issues and/or traffic generation.
- Impact on important trees.
- Impact on the character or appearance of a Conservation Area or a Listed Building.
- Local drainage or flooding issues.
- Planning policies and guidance.
- Loss of important open spaces or community facilities.
- Noise disturbance, smells, obtrusive lighting or other impacts on amenity.
- Overdominance, overshadowing and loss of light.
- Proposed landscaping.
- The planning history of a site.
What can't I comment on?
Comments that are not material planning considerations will not be taken into account.
Examples of what is not considered a material planning consideration could be:
- Loss of value to your property.
- Loss of a view.
- Boundary and neighbour disputes.
- Impact on private drainage systems.
- Inappropriate or personal comments.
- Breach of covenant.
What about petitions?
If you decide to organise a petition, please make sure that:
- It clearly states the planning application reference
- It clearly states the purpose of the petition
- It gives the reasons why people are supporting or objecting to the application
- The names and addresses of the people taking part in the petition can be easily read
- There is a contact name and address for the person organising the petition (this is the only person who will be corresponded with)
Petitions can support as well as oppose planning proposals and will be published on our website in the same document list as representations on the application. Please note however, individuals appearing on the petition will not be recorded separately on our records or receive any correspondence. Signatures will be redacted before publication.
How do I comment on a planning application?
- Click on the Search for a Planning Application function.
- Search for the planning application.
- Select the planning application.
- Scroll down to "Comment on this application".
- Enter your details.
- Select which material consideration(s) relate to your comments.
- Provide your comments (up to 1900 characters) relating to each of the material considerations, providing a clear heading for each. (to prevent any timing out issues, we recommend you draft your comments in a word editor, then copy and paste into the comments box).
- Select your Overall View from the drop down list (Agree, Object, Undecided).
- Attach any additional documents.
- Once you have completed your comments press "Submit" - you will then be directed back to the application details page.
What happens after my comments are submitted?
- All representations and responses received are reviewed by the Case Officer alongside relevant planning polices and guidance before a decision is made.
- As a result of comments, the Case Officer may request further details from the applicant/agent or may re-advertise and/or re-consult appropriate bodies.
- You will be able to check the progress of the application online, but you will not receive an individual response to any questions or be informed of any decision. If you wish to ask the determining officer a specific question, please "Ask a question about a current application"
- Most applications are dealt with under delegated powers, where the decision is made by an officer following a full assessment and any necessary consultation with the Ward Member(s).
- However, some applications will be referred to the Development Management (DM) Committee. You will be informed if the application is referred to Committee, where you may have the opportunity to speak.
You will be informed of any appeals following decision.
Remember, while we try to consider all comments received up to the date of decision, we cannot guarantee that comments received after the public consultation period will be considered.
Alternatively, using the guidance above, post your comments to any of the Council Offices. Please make sure that you quote the correct planning reference. Make sure you include your name and full address including postcode in any correspondence.
We are unable to enter into correspondence with you as a result of the letter of representation and will not send acknowledgements to signatories of petitions or standardised letters.