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Step 3: Decide your stance on the application

Our top tips on forming a view on the proposal.

Decide your stance

Now that you've looked at the application and visited the site, you can decide what your stance on the application will be.

21 days

- The length of time parish councils have to comment on a planning application

Local planning authorities' decisions on planning applications are guided mainly by the policies in their 'Development Plan'. Your criteria when judging an application may be different. For example, you may have a particular interest in protecting local wildlife, or improving local services in your area.

Taking a view on the proposal: top tips


1 - Set clear objectives

Consider what you want new development in your area to achieve, and establish some clear objectives against which you can judge proposals. This will make your case to the planning authority more persuasive. Remember that good development can enhance the environment.

2 - Use local knowledge

If you know the area well or have specialist knowledge, you may be able to give the planning authority useful information. Try to get as much local knowledge as possible. Find out anything that could be relevant, from groups of trees particularly valued locally to whether there's a need for affordable housing in the area.

3 - Think long term

It's important to take a long-term view of a development's impact. Consider the future consequences of the development and whether the proposal will help achieve sustainable development in the area.

4 - Consider the potential pros and cons of the proposal

For example, will it put a building or derelict site to better use? Will it meet a local need for a certain type of development? Perhaps you are concerned that the proposal is not designed to complement local character, or that it might damage an important wildlife habitat? Some potential negative impacts can be addressed by asking the local planning authority to put conditions or obligations on any planning permission granted. If this is successful, keep an eye on any future planning applications for the site in case there is an attempt to have the conditions or obligations removed or changed.

5 - Stick to principles

Is a point of principle at stake which overrides the short-term questions surrounding a development proposal? For example, you might want to support the development of a new employment site that will bring jobs to the area. Or you may want to oppose an application that would destroy something historic.

6 - Consider if it's setting a precedent

Could a poor decision on a planning application set a precedent for a pattern of development that you do not believe is sustainable? For example, a small development outside a village's development boundary may create housing. But in the long term could it lead to an unplanned expansion of the village?

7 - Imagine cumulative development

Could a proposal, broadly acceptable in itself, be a steppingstone to something that would be unacceptable? For example, is there a risk that a house built for seasonal renting to holiday makers could one day be sold off as a permanent home in an area where this would normally be inappropriate?

8 - Consider the potential for improvement

Always look to see if there are improvements that could be made to the proposal, either through changes to the proposed development itself or through the use of planning conditions. Improvements could include design alterations or measures to make sure that the development uses less energy, water or raw materials.

NextStep 4: Examine the Development Plan

Further reading

Planning your campaign