Planning applications have a straightforward journey to approval. Understanding where you are in that process helps you know what responses you can make...
In many ways, the planning application process is very straightforward:
If you have only heard about a development you're concerned about after a planning application has been submitted, don't delay in getting involved.
Your local CPRE branch may be able to help.
If planning permission has already been granted, you have no right to appeal against the granting of permission, so don't leave it too late.
To stop a bad development from happening, you should ideally take action before any planning application has been submitted.
One important way of doing this is to influence your Local Plan. A local planning authority decides on a planning application based on the development plan in your area, which is made up of this Local Plan, and any Neighbourhood Development Plans in force in the area. Unless there are very good reasons otherwise, development has to be in line with this development plan. Because there are good opportunities for public consultation, you can influence it.