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Step 6: Put your comments in writing

Our top tips on commenting effectively.

When you're completely clear on your position, the next step is to make your comments in writing to the planning authority before the appropriate deadline. You must do this if you want your comments on a planning application to be properly considered.

Sample letters / emails are linked to at the end of this article.

Writing your letter or email: top tips


1 - Refer to the development plan

List development plan policies that support your case and explain why. Recognise and respond to development plan policies that conflict with your views. Explain what other planning issues you believe should affect the decision.

2 - Consider the public interest

Explain how the development affects the local community as a whole. Avoid focusing on issues such as land ownership, the effects of the proposal on the value of neighbouring property, or the personal circumstances of the applicant.

3 - Be clear and courteous, avoid personal issues and concentrate on the facts of the case

Separate out each point you want to make. Explain what you want to happen and, where appropriate, suggest conditions you want to see put on the application to improve the sustainability of the proposal. Try to be concise.

4 - Get comments in on time

You'll generally have two weeks to respond to a planning application. If possible, get your comments in before the deadline. If this is impossible, send a short letter summarising your views within the deadline and follow it up later with more detailed comments. Late comments may be taken into account, particularly if your views don't cause any delay in the decision, but you can't rely on this. If you're sending an email, remember to include a postal address.

5 - Consider approaching the applicant

You could approach the applicant to let him or her know your views or to persuade them to improve the application, either before or after you write your letter/email.

NextStep 7: Gather support

Further reading

Writing and using persuasive letters
Sample letter of objection
Sample letter of support