Planning and how to Comment on a Planning Proposal

Do you object or support?

The most important thing to do is to open your statement with “I object to” or “I support” or words to that effect. You can write for miles, but if you leave out where you stand on an application, your words are empty. The council needs to know which pile they belong in. In fact if you use the online form provided by the council on the portal this is the very first question you need to answer.

It is possible that you will change your mind once you’ve done your research, and I think an awareness of this possibility is why fair minded people so often leave this field blank and officers tearing their hair out. The process is asking people to work backwards, forming their conclusion before they’ve done their research. If you are one of those open minded types, remember to go back to the beginning when you have finished your research and decided where you stand.


The second most important thing is to provide reasons for your support or objection. You are looking to find reasons which are unarguable and unambiguous.

Local Plan

The next thing to look at is the local plan – and especially what it says about the area of concern. Currently there are two plans, one in force, and one awaiting approval by the Secretary of State. A local plan provides the council with an agreed framework for development in specified zones across the authority’s area, and it should approve or refuse planning applications in accordance with its local plan. Developers should be helping ensure the success of their applications by proposing developments which are in accordance with it and planning officers should be advising developers (commercial and members of the public) how to maximise their chances of success. The role of planning is to not to prevent development, but to ensure that whatever is approved is likely to contribute to a coherent, workable, pleasant place.

So the first question to ask is: Is it in accordance with the local plan? If it isn’t, or (since the language of planning isn’t entirely objective, or unambiguous), then this is a valid – and possibly the most important – objection. This is because if a council breaks its own rules, it sails close to the area of maladministration: most councils don’t want to go anywhere near there. They’d prefer to stick to what they said. Planning objections can support a council which is trying to keep its plan on the rails. Councils often complain that the local population isn’t very vocal on this and that. In Peterborough this is apparently the case with “conservation areas”. The planning system enables local people to voice their feelings and opinions and a hefty, well reasoned response will earn the respect of officers and this is good for an area & its future planning.

PLAN CURRENTLY IN FORCE – “to 2026 and beyond”
The Council’s Planning Politicies Development Plan Document is here:

The council’s proposed plan – to 2036 (NOT IN FORCE YET)

It is worth checking SITE ALLOCATIONS which is basically about what goes where.

Then, looking specifically for Lynch Wood. p 32
This is “NS – Not started, with full planning permission.”

So, check that planning permission. Not found it yet. If anyone finds this, please add a comment below!

Finding a planning application

Finding the “Planning Portal”

If you click on “planning” you should find this image:

Click on that and you should go to this page:

The green box is the portal. Click and you’re through into the planning documents area. It is a different planet. Searching is often not very helpful and some things just don’t seem to want to surface if you perform a search. Older documents may not be online, and newer ones may not have been indexed fully, maybe – I don’t know.

But if you have a reference you can sail. We have the planning reference. 18/00923/OUT

If you enter this, you will get the case.

One thing to note immediately: it is not the final planning application: it is an outline application, [which means a tentative application -CHECK]. Comments received at this stage may be taken into account or mitigated in a final planning application.

If you click on Associated Documents, you will find a list of things. Read as much of these documents as you can. Try to figure out what the maps mean. If you have time walk the plan: walk around the area, map in hand and try to envisage the impacts of the proposal in reality.

One of the list of documents is the Travel Plan. In the Travel Plan you will find references to Wistow Way, but it is worth reading the whole document, since it is written in order to gather “comment” and it gives context and useful hints as to how planning works.

Write your comments as you go, with page references to documents if you refer to something in a planning document, so other people can find them.

Once you have a set of comments, organise them in order of importance. Decide whether  to write a letter or to use the planning portal.

If a letter and if you are objecting, your letter should contain (and by the way anybody resident in the UK can comment on a planning matter):


Mrs J MacLennan
Peterborough City Council
Town Hall
Bridge Street

Dear Mrs J MacLennan

Planning Application ref: 18/00923/OUT

I am writing to object to this application.

My reasons for objecting are:

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely