Architectural Design: What Are The Most Common Planning Objections?


If ever you’ve had to apply for planning permissions, you’ll know just how nerve-wracking the wait for the results can be. The reason? It’s not at all uncommon for planning applications to get rejected, and planning objections are often the cause. The team here at Munday + Cramer offers both architectural design and building surveying services throughout the entire south-east; we wanted to look at some of the most common valid planning objections cited, as well as the objections typically founded on invalid assumptions/grounds.


Proposed Development Contravenes Planning Policy

The most common objections to planning applications occur, not unsurprisingly, when the proposed development fails to comply with national, regional or local planning policy frameworks. It seems an obvious stumbling block, and you’d think that you’d ensure your planning application complied with the requisite policies at a very minimum.

Still, even today however, more inexperienced developers will submit applications without having conducted their due diligence in terms of planning requirements, and will be rejected correspondingly. If ever you’re in doubt as to the validity of a potential planning application, and whether there are conceivably grounds for objections, then hire a chartered architectural firm to help you out!


Proposed Development Will Have Negative Environmental Impacts

Over the past half a century or so, the importance placed upon environmental impacts within planning has risen exponentially. Whereas once developments may have been granted, regardless of their consequences environmentally speaking, nowadays that isn’t the case. Planning applications submitted for developments on green belt land and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are notoriously difficult to get approved, the proposal must be incredibly well justified, designed and in keeping with the existing area.

Objections are also typically raised towards proposals if ever there’s a threat ecologically speaking, and understandably so. Whether this be the risk to endangered species or the potential for ground contamination, environmental concerns are common. To best determine the impacts a potential project might have on the local environment – both in terms of flora and fauna – is for the local planning authority to have an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out. Alongside its primary aim of identifying ecological risks, an EIA also gives the public (and therefore any parties objecting on environmental grounds) appropriate opportunity to participate in the decision-making processes.


Proposed Development Will Affect Negatively The Amenity Of Another Property

Another planning objection commonly raised is that the proposed development will negatively impact upon the neighbour’s amenity; this might be in the form of late night activities, light and noise pollution, and overlooking to name just a few. Many people mistakenly think a loss of existing views falls into this umbrella of objectionable scenarios, and say that the proposal will infringe upon their ‘right to light’. This is not a valid objection (as we shall see in the following section) and the actual right to light is something else, entirely. As we’ve written about previously, the right to light is a civil matter and not planning-related. In other words, just because your property might well lose its nice view over the surrounding fields, that’s not in and of itself grounds to object to the application.


Proposed Development Will Cause Archaeological Damage

Planning objections might be made on (substantiated) claims that the site is of significant archaeological importance. In more mainstream culture, you might well be familiar with the story of the remains of King Richard III (1452-1485) being discovered under a car park in the city of Leicester. Asides from the almost comical juxtaposition between finding something so regal beneath something so banal, it raises a more serious point that you never know what’s beneath your feet.

In the UK, today, urban space is becoming increasingly squeezed; this, alongside other broader socioeconomic factors, has led to businesses and housing developments looking to relocate further afield. Housing developments, industrial estates and retail parks are being developed out-of-town and upon land which hasn’t previously (or, at least, on a modern timescale) been developed. This means the risk of archaeological sites being damaged, tainted or simply never found increases year by year. Archaeological concerns have factored into planning considerations since the 1970s, with a clear framework defining significance, archaeological interest and heritage assets being set up against which objections can be weighed up.


Invalid Objections To Planning Applications

For as many reasons there are valid and justified for objecting to a planning proposal, there are just as many flimsier arguments raised against a development’s approval. These include:

  • Boundary disputes or disputes over right of way.
  • Potential changes in property value stemming from the construction of the development.
  • Loss of views.
  • Personal/moral views about the application.
  • Loss of trade.

Is Planning Ever Avoidable?

There are certain circumstances, it’s worth noting however, in which the planning process can be circumvented, altogether. Smaller propositions might well fall under the bracket of permitted developments, meaning they can be carried out without any special planning permissions. As a rule, though, these tend to be few and far between.


Contact Us

Objections remain a crucial aspect of the planning application process, here in the UK, helping ensure that only developments in the wider public’s best interest are approved, and that no problematic developments slip through the net, so to speak. That very same planning world is an immensely technical one, however; a quagmire of technicalities and statutes, of orders and frameworks. It can be easy to get bogged down within its clauses and articles without adequate assistance.

So, if you’d like to find out more about our architectural design and planning services, then get in touch! Contact Munday + Cramer today on 01245 326 200 or by emailing us at info@mcessex.co.uk. Alternatively, you can fill out one of our online contact forms and we’ll look to get back to you as quickly as possible.