A guide to publicity and neighbour notification for planning applications

As a local planning authority we are required by law to publicise all planning applications. This can include advertisements in a local newspaper, site notices and neighbour notifications. Applications are also advertised weekly in the press and on the Council's website.

What publicity will be undertaken?

The following table sets out the publicity that will be undertaken for each type of application:

Nature of development

Publicity required


Applications that:
  • are accompanied by an environmental statement
  • are departures from development plan
  • affect a public right of way or
  • are made by the Council.
Advertisement in newspaper, site notice and neighbour notification.
Major development.

Advertisement in newspaper, neighbour notification and site notice.

Minor development.

Neighbour notification.

Development affecting the setting of a listed building.

Advertisement in newspaper, site notice and neighbour notification.

Development affecting the character or appearance of a conservation area.

Advertisement in newspaper, site notice and neighbour notification.

Permitted development requiring prior notification to local planning authority.

Site notice posted by developer.

Notes:

  • Owners or occupiers of land adjacent to each application site will be notified. The only exception is when neighbouring land is unoccupied in which case a site notice is displayed instead. If it is considered that a planning application may have an impact beyond its immediate locality the Council will usually consult over a wider area.
  • Site notices will be placed on or near the site.
  • Comments should be received within 21 days of the notification/display date and 14 days of advertisement date.
  • Major development is:
    (i) erection of ten or more dwellings or housing development on a site of 0.5 hectare or more
    (ii) erection of a building or buildings where the floor space to be created is 1,000m2 or more and
    (iii) development on a site of 1 hectare or more.
  • The Council has discretion to identify and advertise other developments which are likely to be of wider concern.

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What if my comments are received late?

Failure to meet the deadline could mean your comments are not considered. However the Council endeavours to take into account all comments received before an application is decided. Comments received late will be addressed within the Officer report where possible, or will be reported orally to Committee (or Panel).

Should a late letter raise a new planning issue which requires further consideration a decision may be deferred to allow time for the issue to be fully investigated.

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How do I make my views known?

Any comments you wish to make must be in writing otherwise they cannot be considered. Please note that the Council can only take into account issues which are relevant to planning and can only refuse applications where there are sound and clear cut planning reasons to do so. Local opposition or support for a proposal is not in itself a ground for refusing or granting planning permission unless it relates to valid planning reasons which can be substantiated. Further guidance about relevant issues is provided below.

If you make your opinions known they cannot be kept confidential. They will be put on a public file and published on the Internet where they can be seen by anyone, including the applicant. This is a legal requirement.

Details of applications, including plans, are available for viewing and printing online, or can be viewed on a public terminal at the Civic Offices between 9am-4.45pm Mondays to Fridays (Bank Holidays excluded). A member of our Customer Service Team will be available to assist you. Advice and information on a particular application may also be obtained over the telephone from the Case Officer. Specific or detailed enquiries will normally require an appointment.

Comments should be sent to the Planning Service or via the Internet (see below).

To view an application use: http://www.woking.gov.uk/planning/publicaccess.
Please read the text regarding personally sensitive information and copyright and then click one of the large oval buttons labelled Enter PublicAccess for Planning. In the left-hand margin click the link to Planning and on the next page to Application Search. Then, in the Application Reference box, enter the reference number in the correct format e.g. PLAN/2006/1234, scroll down and press the Search button. You should then see summary details for the case. Press the Click to view button to the right of the summary details followed by Associated Documents then View Associated Documents. All available information and associated documents such as plans, supporting statements, etc., can then be viewed.

Further information can be obtained by telephone on 01483 743843 or by email.

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What happens if the application is changed (amended) before it is decided by the Council?

Often the Council negotiates changes (known as amendments) to schemes following an initial assessment of a proposal and/or following an assessment of comments or objections made. There is no statutory obligation to consult on amendments but where changes are significant it is the Council's policy to re-notify the neighbours. A period of 14 days is usually allowed for comment to be made. Neighbours will not be re-notified of relatively minor changes unless they are likely to have an impact which is considered to be worse than the original plans.

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What happens to my comments?

They are passed to the Case Officer for consideration. Where appropriate, amendments may be sought to address issues raised. Unfortunately, due to the volume of comments made on applications the Council is not able to reply to these letters although they will be formally acknowledged. You will also be advised of the decision taken.

All matters raised in letters are taken into account and are summarised in an officers report to the Planning Committee (or the Council's Delegated Panel meeting which deals with minor applications). The Committee meets approximately every three weeks and the Panel twice a week. The applicant has a right to appeal to the Secretary of State against refusal of planning permission. In such cases correspondence received from objectors will be passed to the Inspector dealing with the matter. Objectors will be notified of the appeal and invited to comment again direct to the Inspector.

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Should I involve my Ward Councillor?

Your Ward Councillor is your local elected representative on the Council. Not all sit on the Council's Planning Committee but they may request the right to address the Committee or ask another Member of the Committee to speak on their behalf. A Ward Councillor also has the power to ask for delegated applications to be referred to the Committee for determination.

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Can I address the Committee directly?

Where an application is to be decided by the Committee there may be a right for objectors (and the applicant) to address the Committee. This right is restricted to one objector only and is only available for certain major planning applications and other applications where ten or more objections have been received 14 days prior to the Planning Committee meeting. Occasionally this may be before the neighbour notification period has expired. There is no right to address the Panel meetings.

If the application qualifies for public speaking a period of three minutes is allowed for you to make your views known. You will not be asked questions by the Committee nor are you able to ask questions of the Committee.

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What matters can the Committee take into account?

The Council's powers to determine planning applications are governed by a number of statutes and regulations. Essentially the Council can only take comments which raise planning matters into account. This includes a very wide range of issues including the following:

  • Planning Policy and Government Guidance
  • external design, appearance and layout
  • existing use rights and previous planning decisions relating to the land
  • highway safety and parking
  • loss of light to habitable rooms or overshadowing
  • loss of privacy
  • a loss of amenity e.g. landscape, trees, environmental matters, noise
  • energy use, flooding and climate change and
  • impact on the environment and biodiversity.

The following are matters which the Committee cannot take into account:

  • loss of property value
  • the applicant's morals or motives (e.g. profit)
  • loss of a view over third party land
  • matters covered by other legislation or by other laws (e.g. covenants, bylaws and Building Regulations)
  • structural stability of property and capacity of the drains
  • the applicant's personal circumstances (e.g. financial status, size of family, illness, age or other "needs")
  • construction period of development
  • market competition between businesses and
  • private disputes regarding land ownership or boundaries (e.g. fences, private rights of way, rights to light, etc.).

Following the above guidance will assist you in making your case in the most effective way.

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What is the relevance of the development plan?

This is the starting point for considering an application. The Council is bound by law to determine all valid planning applications and to ensure that where a plan contains relevant policies, applications should be determined in accordance with the plan unless "other material considerations" indicate otherwise. What this means is that applications should be approved if they comply with plan policies. Where there are other material considerations these will need to be weighed in reaching a decision. These may include whether a particular policy is up to date or relevant. Where a proposal is not acceptable, clear and sound reasons for refusal are required.

Copies of the current Development Plan and other local policy guidance, can be inspected at the Council Offices during normal office hours or on the Council's webpages (which include links to other useful sites providing a range of advice and information on planning applications). Alternatively you can email or telephone 01483 743871.