Guidance for commenting on a planning application

We want to hear your views so that we can take them into account when considering planning applications.

To find an existing planning application and comment on it, please click here.

Finding out about a new planning application

We'll contact the properties next to an application site and any properties we consider to be directly affected by the proposal.  The letter invites you to view the application and make comments by a deadline.

Some applications are advertised by a site notice near the application site and some are also advertised in the local press (the Wallingford Herald, Didcot Herald, Henley Standard or Oxford Times).

The council has a duty to advertise all major developments, proposals affecting a listed building or a conservation area or their setting.

You can view all planning applications online or electronically at the council offices.

How to comment

We want to hear from you whether you are supporting or opposing an application.  To ensure that your views are not misinterpreted, we can only accept them in writing. Please quote the planning application reference number, the address of the site and the name of the case officer.

  • You can comment online: search for the planning application by clicking here.  If you know the reference number, type it in the search box near the top of this page. Once you have selected the relevant application click on the orange ‘comment now’ box which appears in the planning application details window. This will open the online comment form. The form will time out after 60 minutes - if you have lots of comments we suggest you draft them in your computer notepad and paste them into the form.
  • Or, e-mail comments to
  • Or, send us a letter

Any letter, site notice or newspaper advertisement will set a deadline date for comments.  If we received your comments after this date you may have missed the opportunity for us to consider your comments.  We don't acknowledge or respond to comments directly, due to the high numbers we receive.

If many people share your view, you may wish to organise a petition.  A petition should state the names, addresses and the objections/supporting comments of those signing it.  It is better to have a short petition from residents who will be affected by the application than a long petition signed by people who live far away from the affected area and /or will not be affected by the proposal.

Please note that comments submitted via ALL of the above methods need to be processed by our registration team. Please allow us up to 2 working days to do so.

Types of comments

When we decide applications we can only take into account material planning considerations.

These include:

  • Loss of privacy
  • Loss of light
  • Car parking
  • Traffic generation
  • Noise and disturbance
  • Character of the area
  • Green Belt
  • Conservation Area
  • Design, appearance and layout
  • National and local policies

We cannot take into account:

  • Loss of value to a property
  • Loss of view
  • Personal disagreements
  • Boundary disputes
  • Covenants
  • Commercial competition
  • Construction disturbance
  • Sunday trading
  • Matters controlled under other legislation such as the Building Regulations

Considering your comments

Anyone can inspect and copy your comments by visiting our offices or by viewing them on our website. We will endeavour to remove your personal details (signature, telephone number and email address) to comply with data protection regulations.

Where appropriate, we may seek changes to the application to overcome concerns that have been raised. If there are significant amendments to the application, we will notify you again and give you another opportunity to comment. We encourage you to provide an email address so that we can contact you quickly. 

It's really important that we receive your comments as early as possible in the application process. This allows us, where appropriate, time to negotiate with applicants and for them to make amendments to improve the proposal. Such amendments can often address concerns expressed by neighbours, town and parish councils and other consultees.

Your councillors

If you have strong views either supporting or opposing this application you may like to contact your district councillor.   You can find their contact details here on our website.

How we reach a decision

For efficiency the Head of Planning decides approximately 90% of applications under delegated powers.  The other 10% of applications are determined by the Planning Committee (elected councillors), and the meetings are held once a month on a Wednesday at 6pm. A written report summarises any responses received and makes a recommendation to either grant or refuse the application. You can attend any planning committee and view the agenda papers which are available 5 working days before the meeting.  See speaking at Planning Committee for more information

After a decision is made

Once an application has been determined the Decision Notice will be placed on the electronic application file and be available for viewing on our website in the Planning Decision Register and electronically at the council’s offices. 

Keeping you informed

You can look at the progress of an application using our website. Type the application number into the search box to find full details of the application including any key dates and details of the comments received.

If you included an email address with your comments we'll let you know when we've decided the application. We recommend you register for email alerts so we can let you know any subsequent further planning applications, requests to discharge conditions or applications for non material minor amendments to any approved applications in your area.

If permission is granted

A planning permission may include conditions, for example restricting the hours a use can operate or preventing additional windows being added to an elevation.

Those who made comments have no legal right to appeal against our decision. However, if you are unhappy with the way we reached our decision, you can make a complaint. See How to complain to the council for further information. If you remain dissatisfied, you can contact the Local Government Ombudsman This link will take you to an external website... on 0845 602 1983.

If permission is refused

Applicants can either re-apply for planning permission with an alternative scheme, or they can appeal against the refusal. For further information on the appeal process, visit the Planning Inspectorate's website GOV.UK This link will take you to an external website... .

If the applicant appeals

The applicant has six months from the date of decision to appeal against a refusal of permission or against conditions imposed on a permission.  If the appeal relates to a householder application we will send the comments we received during the consultation period to the Planning Inspectorate and there will not be a further opportunity for you to make comments. We'll inform you of any other type of appeal and you can write to the Inspectorate with your comments. If the appeal is allowed, our decision could be overturned and conditions could be replaced or removed. However, if the appeal is dismissed, our decision remains the same but the applicant is still free to re-apply for permission with an amended proposal.

Last reviewed: 19 - 06 - 2017

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