View Full Version : Objecting to a planning application.

im from uranus
31st Jan 2009, 07:52
Hi all!

I live 3 doors away from a football club (goal end). They are applying for permission to erect 6 x 15mtr floodlights, with the capacity to use them 6 nights a week between 7-10pm, which will mean more noise in the evening (which, on a Saturday afternoon, is always F this and F that) and the obvious light pollution. We are going to oppose the app, but I would like your ideas as to how to make our opposal stand out, therefore giving it more grunt!

Many thanks!

31st Jan 2009, 08:32
Was the football club established when you bought the house?

31st Jan 2009, 08:35
Sadly, you'll find out that the decision has been taken to approve, 'they' are only going through the motions to show that they followed "due process" At least, that's the New Zealand way, and I've no reason to suppose that the UK is any different - it wasn't when I lived there, and I understand things have detoriorated. Not sure what happens on Uranus - or even up your anus.

Our council have just undergone a review of the rating system, which was overwhelmingly rejected byt the citizens, however, we have just had a letter adv. us that the new method is the "preferred" method. What they mean is that it is the method " preferred " by the Council, so it reads as if the population voted for it !

Nil Illegitimum Carborundum ( never let the bastards grind you down )

Best of luck.

31st Jan 2009, 08:41
If you go to your local district council web site they should have a link to planning applications and then a further link that shows you how to object. A call to the council and a talk with the planning officer involved will probably be your quickest bet. He will tell you the stage that the application is at.

Mrs Hughes
31st Jan 2009, 08:42
Woo hoo - finally someone who wants to talk my language ! Mr Hughes has directed me your way to try and give some sound advice. Here goes, hope it helps... (and apologies in advance for sounding like a nerd :8)

Firstly, have you been provided with a full copy of the application and all the associated information? The kinds of things that would be useful (if they have been prepared) would be:

An acoustic assessment prepared by a qualified noise expert. This should include information on the proposed additional noise (due to more frequent use) which will be generated if the lights are approved. How many more hours will the stadium be used, does it get used of an evening / night already? Has the increased noise been assessed using nighttime criteria (sounds travels further at night and there is generally less other background noise to buffer out the stadium noise). If a report hasn't been done, ask for one. You don't need to be an expert in understanding acoustic assessment - a good report will give recommendations. (OMG - 1 para in and I am a nerd...)
Ditto for the light impact. Have they prepared any diagrams showing where and how bright the light stream will be and what other things they are prepared to do (install barriers, etc.) to negate any impact on surrounding residences. If they don't have one - ask for one.
A traffic assessment report - not sure how important this is, but if there is additional use of the stadium, then there is likely to be additional traffic impacts. What is parking like? Are there good, wide roads that allow the flow of traffic, or are you confined to the house when there is an event on? If they haven't done one....you get the idea :)These 3 things are probably the biggies. There are the lots of other things to ask about - waste management (additional generation, potential for odour, etc.), energy efficiency and greenhouse impacts (you may as well jump on the bandwagon - have they done an energy assessment and are they proposing any offsets?), is additional water use as issue (are they becoming self sufficient in water catchment?), does it fit with the general amenity (even though the stadium is already there, will a 6 day + night operation fit well with all the other surrounding land uses? Is it pretty much residential around the stadium, are there other big open spaces, units / apartments? I could go on and on and on (just ask Mr Hughes !!)

Secondly, when it comes to actually submitting an objection, there are some other things you can do to be taken a little more seriously. Bear in mind that your comments have to be considered, not necessarily acted on. I would suggest the following:

Don't use emotional language ("this will ruin my life and give the dog a headache" isn't the sort of thing that can be reasonably assessed or responded to). Stick to factual, down-the-line statements. "We believe that there will be an unreasonable impact from noise generated...." is a better way of phrasing your letter.
Use dot points for each issue - a bit like this post. It makes it clear and not too waffly.
Talk to your neighbours and try to get a co-ordinated response going. Not a petition, but if you all write in with 6 issues for example, then it comes across as if there is a higher amount of concern for that particular issue. If one person writes about trafic, another writes about noise, and another about the lights, then it looks like each of you only have 1 issue, and there is only 1 person with a problem with each aspect of the development. Don't use the same letter, but get together and make sure you are all saying the same thing.
Use examples of how there are already impacts on your quality of life (eg the swearing) and explain that you are concerned that there will be an increase in something that is already an issue.
If you can see solutions, put them forward. eg the screen for the lights. If it still gets approved, you are more likely to get conditions that are in your favour if you make some suggestions.
Lobby your local elected representatives. That is what they are there for. Call all of them individually, talk to them rationally and let them know what your concerns are. Send a copy of your submission to each of them.
Remember it is really hard to dismiss someone who is intelligent, calm and rational. A raving, screaming looney gets the treatment that they deserve.
It might sound silly, but you get 1/3 of your marks for presentation. Send in a professional looking letter. Don't write your issues on the back of a beer coaster and throw it in the letterbox.
Finally - ask for a response regarding your submission. Either call them or ask for something in writing which shows how they have addressed each of your points.Although this is quite a long response, it is just a short brain download.... I hope you get something useful from this and let me know how you go.

Mrs H

Scumbag O'Riley
31st Jan 2009, 08:45
Was the football club established when you bought the house?Shouldn't matter though it will.

Get your local and national planning documents and use the policies within to frame your argument.

Light pollution is now classified as a 'Statutory Nuisance' if bad enough, make sure you put that in. Although it's really a environmental health issue, and not planning, the planning department are now expected to consider light pollution at the planning stage.

Make your letter professional, stick to points of law, do not get personal.

Expect to be ignored.

Lon More
31st Jan 2009, 08:46
If in the UK this (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/localenv/nuisance/light/index.htm) should help on the lighting and this (http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/noise/index.htm) on the F'ing language

Howard Hughes
31st Jan 2009, 08:48
That Mrs Hughes sounds clever, I would do what she says...;)

Hang on I already do what she says...:E

31st Jan 2009, 09:09
Mrs Hughes covers most points, can I add a couple more?

When was the original planning approval for the football pitch? If it was reasonably recent have a look at the original approval and see if there are any conditions attached.

Is there anything in the Local Plan? Ask to see the document in the Planning office or it is available on-line.

Are there any covenants on the field. (Land Registry site provides details)

Get the local councillors involved, they can "Red Card" any application so that it has to be decided by councillors rather than officers.

Google the issue and then look at previous planning applications on council websites. That will give you a good idea of the points made and the outcomes. Adding lighting to football pitches is now a common planning application.

The point that has to be reinforced is not to petition but to get people to write in to object.

im from uranus
31st Jan 2009, 09:47
Crikey!! What a response! Many things to do and thank you all, especially Mrs. H....
....BTW is it okay for me to contact you, via PM, later?

I've seen the plans but I may as well be looking at a moon scape. Lots of squiggly lines that do not tell the average punter anything.(Although I can figure out that my property will be affected.) I know there will be 2x lights on each post, each dishing out 2100 watts. The language comes from the players. There is no speak of noise in the app and as for parking, they've ticked the 'not affected' box, which is true, because lights don't need somewhere to park, though supporters do. I have, whilst away from home, been able to print off 200 leaflets which I will be distributing to people in the local area early next week. I work away but have nearly all next week off so I will need to speak with my neighbours, one of which is our Ward Councillor who is wed to a District Councillor! Apparently they're not allowed a vote due to their residence, but I've heard they will be objecting.

Once again. thanks. I'm off to bed, nightshift is hard!!

Howard Hughes
31st Jan 2009, 09:56
Hi - Mrs H here (I've logged off so just quickly hijacked HH's 'puter).

Feel free to pm me, happy to help out some more. Just briefly though, it sounds bizarre that they are taking such a simplistic view of the proposal, in that it is ONLY about the lights. I think you have a case to get them to take a more holisitc view of the change in use of the stadium as a result of the lights.

Anyway, more later. If nothing else, you can cause them to stop and do a fair bit of thinking, which might cause a small bit of pain via some $$$ :)

Mrs H.

31st Jan 2009, 10:29
Stop complaining. Think of the savings on the electric light bill.

31st Jan 2009, 11:20
Be sure to get an objection in as soon as possible, you can pad it out later, Mrs. H.H. has given you a wealth of information, just don't miss any deadlines. Is their any commercial benefit to your community, rather than the club, if the lighting goes ahead?

Our local council told everyone that as soon as an (unwanted) housing development was started they would 'close down' our target rifle club.

Well, the range has been in operation for 108 years, the club has documentation going back to 1923, we only shoot Saturdays etc. etc.
and as soon as everyone came around the table common sense prevailed and any new development will have a binding agreement attached to their deeds that states they can't complain about the rifle club.

31st Jan 2009, 11:49
Don't forget to mention light pollution and see if they did a study to find the effects of light on the local environment.
Environment is a magic word nowadays. :ok:

31st Jan 2009, 12:33
If the planning application is turned down keep an eagle eye for another planning application being posted very shortly after, but with very minor or subtle changes (changing the height of the poles a fraction of a metre etc), most people will think it is the original application, not make an objection and allow the work to go ahead unopposed.

Gertrude the Wombat
31st Jan 2009, 20:14
but I would like your ideas as to how to make our opposal stand out, therefore giving it more grunt!
Provided that you have an honest council (most are, but otherwise all bets are off) then all representations are considered properly.

What actually matters is whether your objection is on legal planning grounds - if it is, it has to be taken seriously, if it isn't, it has, by law, to be ignored.

This is all pretty complex. As well as general planning law you have to know all the local policies, and for the amateur even getting together all the relevant documents within the time available to object can be a challenge.

Your best, but most expensive, chance of getting your desired outcome is to hire a planning consultant to represent you.