Commenting on a Planning Application

Comments or Objections must be made in writing and can be sent to us via email, post or via an online form accessible from within the online planning application register.

Comments should relate only to "planning matters". Legislation and Government guidance describe these matters as the "Local Plan" and other "material considerations" i.e. the content of local planning policy relating to the area and the impact of the proposal on the surrounding environment and infrastructure.  Applications must therefore be determined in accordance with the Local Plan, unless other matters indicate that this would, in the case concerned, be inappropriate.

Examples of planning matters which can be taken into consideration include:

  • Compliance with the Local Plan (for example - Local Planning Policy)
  • Design out of keeping with the character of the area.
  • Dominant and oppressive environment created by the proposal.
  • Excessive noise, dust, smell or nuisance.
  • Highway safety or traffic impact.
  • Impact upon Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas or mature trees.
  • Impact upon local wildlife and biodiversity
  • Its position in respect of Government Planning Policy.
  • Loss of privacy (for example - intrusiveness from overlooking development)
  • Visual or Landscape Impact   

Examples of issues that are not planning matters and therefore can not be taken into account are:

  • Commercial harm to other businesses from competition.
  • Devaluation of property. 
  • Land ownership - for example - boundary disputes or matters referring to legal covenants.
  • Loss of private view. 
  • Matters covered by other legislation (for example - Building Regulations and Environmental Permitting)
  • Personal dislike of the applicant.
  • Objections based on moral, racial or religious opinion.
  • That a lot of people have objected.
  • The work was commenced without planning permission.

All the relevant planning matters/issues raised in written representations will be taken into consideration in the determination of the planning application, whether the application is to be determined by delegated powers, or by the County Council's Development Control and Regulation Committee.

For applications to be determined by committee, there is an opportunity for objectors to speak and express their views in person at  the meeting. Details regarding how to do this can be found by viewing the guidance leaflet below. 

If you are unsure of the status of an application or any of the above guidance please contact the Development Control Team.


Speaking at the Development Control and Regulation Committee

The County Council's Constitution provides the opportunity for people to express their views in person directly to the Councillors sat on the County Council's Development Control & Regulation Committee (The Planning Committee) at the meeting where the application is being considered. This guidance note explains the procedure and process.   In order to find the right balance between openness, accountability, and transparency and the need to conduct the business of the Council efficiently the number of people who can speak in relation to a planning application has been limited to a maximum of 5 supporters and 5 objectors.  This note explains how those rules apply and what to do if you would like to speak at a meeting.  

Who can apply to speak at the Planning Committee? 

Up to 5 supporters (including the applicant) and up to 5 objectors may request to speak in relation to a planning application.  If more than 5 supporters or 5 objectors request to speak places will be allocated on a first come first served basis, although if the applicant requests to speak they will always be given priority.  For the purposes of applying the first come first served basis submissions made by post will be treated as being received at 9am on the date delivered to Cumbria House. 

Given the limit on the number of people who can speak if possible, people wishing to speak should form groups and nominate a single spokesperson where there is a common view. 

How do I request to speak at Planning Committee? 

If you wish to be heard in person (or through a representative) you must notify the County Council's Legal and Democratic Services Team of your wish to do so and submitting at the same time a written note of the points you wish to make; at the earliest opportunity and at least three working days (not including the date of the meeting) before the committee meeting the application is being considered at.   So for example if the meeting is on a Thursday, requests must be received by 11.59pm on the previous Friday.  

Please contact: 

Nicola Harrison, Senior Democratic Services Officer 

Email: Nicola.Harrison@cumbria.gov.uk 

Mobile: 07825 832 545 

Or write to her at the following address: 

Democratic Services - DCR Committee
Cumbria County Council
Cumbria House
Botchergate
Carlisle
CA1 1RD 


What happens next? 

If you are allocated a place to speak you will be given details of the Committee meeting by Legal and Democratic Services. If you are not allocated a place to speak because they have been allocated to other individuals under the first come first served basis you will be notified of this in writing.  You may still attend the meeting as a member of the public but you will not be able to address the meeting.  

The Planning Committee normally meets on a six weekly basis in the Council Chamber at County Hall Offices, Busher Walk, Kendal, LA9 4RQ (see https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/findmynearest/county-council-offices.asp). 

Planning Committee Meeting Dates and Agendas can be viewed online at: https://councilportal.cumbria.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=124&Year=0.  Agendas are published five working days before Planning Committee sits. 

The local County Councillor(s) who represents the electoral division(s) in which the application is situated will also be notified of any requests to speak and from whom they have been received. The local County Councillor(s) for the relevant electoral division(s) are also able to address the meeting. 

How long can people speak For? 

A balance has to be struck between the length of time allowed for those wishing to speak and the efficient conduct of the Committee's business. No speaker will be allowed to speak for more than a maximum of five minutes although the Chair has discretion to allow the applicant to speak for longer if they consider it is necessary in order to enable them to respond to all points made by other speakers. What you say must be relevant to the application and should cover the points outlined in your application to speak.  You are not permitted to circulate new evidence at the meeting or raise new points at the meeting and must not distribute material, pamphlets, leaflets, plans or any other written material to members of the Committee.  The Chair will reserve the right to intervene to prevent repetition or points which are not relevant or not material to the application or not included in your written submission.  You should refrain from making any defamatory statements.  

What happens on the day of Planning Committee? 

People who have registered a wish to speak and been allocated a place to speak will be allocated seats in the Council Chamber before the meeting starts. Any other attendees (including anyone who applied to speak but was not allocated a place) will be directed to the public viewing gallery.  Please turn up in plenty of time to ensure you can be allocated a seat before the meeting starts.  

Each matter for consideration will be introduced by the Planning Officer who will introduce the report, provide a review of the issues and a recommendation to the committee.  Following this the members of the Committee may ask the Planning Officer questions.  

Following this registered speakers will be invited to address the Committee.  Usually objectors will speak first, followed by supporters.  The applicant will be able to speak last. . Normally, any person who has requested to speak at the Committee will have the opportunity to speak subject to the limit of 5 objectors and 5 supporters discussed above . However, the Chair may exercise their discretion to prevent repetition of submissions which the Committee has heard or points which are not material to the consideration of the application being determined. 

The applicant or agent will be invited to speak last. 

At the Chair's discretion any speaker may be asked questions, immediately after their presentation, by members of the Committee or by Council officers, on matters of fact relating to the application, to clarify any points raised in their presentation. It is not an opportunity for discussion or debate. 

After an application has been determined by Committee, speakers on the application may leave the committee room. 

If the Committee decide to defer their decision on the application for any reason, speakers who have had an opportunity to address the meeting will not be invited to speak at a subsequent meeting, but their views will be considered. If you have been allocated a place to speak but the application is deferred before you have had a chance to speak you will be given an opportunity to speak when the Committee next considers the application.  Speakers can attend any subsequent meeting as a member of the public in the normal way if they wish and be informed of the Committee's final decision. 

If, after reading this guidance note, you wish to clarify any aspect please contact the planning application case officer: 

Telephone: 01539 713 548; 

Email: developmentcontrol@cumbria.gov.uk 


Useful Web Links: 

Details of the certain issues that can and cannot be taken into account in determining planning applications

List of DCR Meeting Dates and Agendas

Details of DCR Committee Membership