Example Letters of Representation
If you want to write a good quality planning objection letter, the best place to start is with all of the facts. The place to find them in is in the planning application, which is held in the Council’s planning online file. The general guidance given on our ‘FOSH Guide’ page will apply in most cases. But, just as every development is different, so too will be the letters to the Planning Authority. One ‘size’ rarely fits all – but to be effective they will include the common elements listed in our guide. Here are a few ‘Example Letters of Representation’ which demonstrate the key features needed to ensure your letter ‘works’, including examples of successful letters written by ‘Friends of South Hams’ for the South Hams Society.
1. Really nice and simple:
A crisp and (apparently) simple letter like this still requires all the steps outlined in our guide to be followed. For example, the local planning policies A, B and C have to be identified as pertinent, and their relevance to the proposed development understood, and the material planning matters selected.
Planning Application Ref: 1884/21/FUL
Description: Erection of 64no. residential dwellings, associated roads, drainage, landscape, garages and parking
Dear (Case Officer’s name)
I write to object to the above planning application for the following reasons:
1. Design – The proposed dwellings are not of a design which is in keeping with the scale, character, or appearance of the area. All other dwellings on Smith Avenue are bungalow properties whereas the proposal is for two storey properties.
2. Privacy – One of the proposed dwellings would have a bedroom window approximately 10 metres from my only living room window. This would lead to a significant reduction in privacy at my property.
3. Trees – The proposal would result in the removal of several TPO trees which contribute to the visual amenity of the area. The removal of these trees would detrimentally impact upon Smith Avenue’s character and appearance.
I therefore consider that the proposal is contrary to policies A, B, and C of the local plan and request that the planning application is refused.
Your name and address
2. An excellent ‘sample letter’ from the CPRE:
The next letter is an excellent guide to drafting a really effective letter of objection. It illustrates almost all of the key elements needed in a representation to the Council (see our guide) when opposing a proposed development.
The Address of the local authority department dealing with the application, as stated on the site notice/neighbour notification/newspaper advertisement for the planning application, and the date:
Development Control Services
Name of planning officer dealing with case:
For the attention of Mr D C Mann, case officer
Dear Sir / Madam
Reference: PLANNING APPLICATION NO 00/0741
One-line summary including what the application proposes, where it is (the site) and who is proposing it (the applicant):
Proposed erection of five houses adjacent to Manor Farm, Back Lane, Small Bere, by Mr E
Interest and general line of person making representation:
I write in connection with the above planning application. I have examined the plans and I know the site well. I wish to object strongly to the development of these houses in this location.
Reference to Government policy and site-specific local development plan policy which, though not yet adopted, is the most recent and has already been consulted on:
Small Bere is a dispersed settlement where development proposals should be considered very carefully: infilling could ruin the character of the village while estate development would overwhelm it. The protection of Small Bere’s visual, historic and archaeological qualities is also supported by Policy C6 in the emerging Local Plan for Borne (awaiting independent examination), and paragraph 64 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that permission should be refused for development of poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.
Where applicable, reference to the Neighbourhood Plan for the area:
The Small Bere neighbourhood plan is also being developed in consultation with the community and Borne District Council. Policy H4 states that beyond market housing provision made in the district’s site allocations development plan document only proposals for affordable housing for local people are supported. As the site subject to this proposal is not included in the emerging site allocations development plan document, on which the public have been consulted, it goes against the development plan for Small Bere.
Reference to Government policy and to ‘planning history’ – the local authority’s previous planning decisions in the area:
Pressure for the development in the village is considerable, mainly for housing city commuters, but has been successfully resisted in four similar cases (including two on appeal) in the last five years. The reasons for rejecting those schemes also included the inadequacy of the lanes apart from Main Street to accommodate even small increases in traffic, and because road widening would destroy ancient field boundaries. In addition, I am concerned about Barsetshire County Council’s proposals to reduce bus services through the village. This could limit opportunities for the residents of the new development to travel by public transport.
Reference to other issues which affect the community as a whole, rather than individual interests. You could also mention the parish plan or village design statement, if these exist for your area:
The proposed siting of the development is particularly ill-considered: it is on a greenfield site used by many villagers and tourists for recreation and walking dogs, and building here would both diminish the striking view into the centre of the village from the Chase Hills and be prominent from most angles within the village. The chalet style design is out of keeping with the village’s strong historic character – no other dwelling in the village has a balcony, for instance. While design issues might be solved by conditions or revised proposals, these could not remedy the siting problem.
Reference to development plan generic development control policy which, though not yet adopted, is the most recent and has already been consulted on; as well as to further issues of concern to the wider community:
Furthermore, there is no need for this kind of open market housing in the village. Borne District has more than five years’ supply of housing land to meet the requirements of its emerging Local Plan’s policy H1. Small Bere already has enough large houses: the only identified need is for affordable housing for residents who work locally, as recently confirmed by your Housing Department’s Housing Needs Survey. As an alternative to this proposal, we would support the construction of a terrace of five houses built on Main Street, if it was ensured that these were affordable homes for local people.
Reference to other bodies in the local community who support your position:
We understand that the Parish Council and the Biggerton and Environs History Society share these concerns.
Formal request to speak at the local planning authority committee meeting at which the application may be decided, some local planning authorities require respondents to planning applications to give notice, in their response, of their wish to speak at committee meetings:
If this application is to be decided by councillors, please take this as notice that I would like to speak at the meeting of the committee at which this application is expected to be decided. Please let us know as soon as possible the date of the meeting.
A short disclaimer:
Finally, please note that our submission is in respect of the proposed development. While we have taken every effort to present accurate information for your consideration, as we are not a decision maker or statutory consultee, we cannot accept any responsibility for unintentional errors or omissions and you should satisfy yourselves on any facts before reaching your decision.
4. Here are four examples written by ‘Friends of South Hams’ for the South Hams Society. They involve proposed development in (or close to) the protected South Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Lyte Lane Application for houses to be built on productive farmland, was refused after an Appeal to the Planning Inspectorate by the developer.
4.1 Land East of Lyte Lane – in the AONB – Appeal refused
4.2 Proposal for 5 houses in the AONB – Application refused
4.3 Blanksmill Creek barn – Application withdrawn
4.4 Seymour Drive – Appeal dismissed
5. A Statement of Case. – Decision to refuse
In 2016 a ‘Friend of South Hams’ presented this Statement to the Planning Inspector at the Winslade Wind Turbine Public Inquiry held at Follaton House Totnes. The development would have placed a 127 foot high turbine overlooking the Frogmore, Salcombe and Kingsbridge estuaries – “The jewel in the crown of Devon”. Following the Inspectors report the Secretary of State decided that the turbine should not be built.
You can find many more examples ‘on line’. Although they all deal with different planning proposals they still follow the same general rules described in our ‘Guide’.