How to Object to a Planning Application Without Being a NIMBY

How to Object to a Planning Application Without Being a NIMBY.

When a planning application is made, neighbours are often the first to hear about it. They may also be the most affected by the decision, so it’s important that they have a say in the process. 

So if you’ve received notice of a planning application that could impact you or the community you live within, and you have concerns this is the article for you.  Objecting doesn’t make you a NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”) – as long as your objections are reasonable and evidence-based. 

This guide will walk you through how to object or comment on a planning application in a way that: 

  • Is respectful
  • Focuses on material planning considerations
  • Provides evidence to support your arguments
  • Increases the chances of your objections being taken seriously

How planning applications work 

When a developer submits a planning application to the local council, the council must notify nearby properties that may be affected. You have the opportunity to submit objections within a set period, usually 21 days. 

Your objections will be considered by the planning officers when assessing the application against local and national planning policies. The planning officer or planning committee will then make a decision to approve or refuse the application. 

How to engage effectively 

Read the application: The first step is to read the application carefully. This will help you to understand the proposals and to identify any concerns that you may have. 

Do your research: Before you object to a development, make sure that you understand the planning policies that apply to the site. You can find this information on your local council’s website. 

Talk to the applicant: If you have any questions, you can talk to the applicant or their representative. This can help to clarify the proposals and to address any concerns that you may have. 

Talk to other neighbours: Talk to other neighbours about the application. This can help you to get a sense of their views and to build support for your concerns. 

Write a letter of objection: If you have strong concerns about the application, you can write a letter of objection. This will be submitted to the planning authority and will be considered by them when making their decision. 

Attend the planning committee meeting (if there is one): If the application is going to be considered by a planning committee, you can attend the meeting and speak to the committee about your concerns. 

How to object 

It’s important to remember that you have a right to object to a planning application. If you have strong concerns about a proposal, you should make your voice heard. By engaging effectively in the consultation process, you can help to ensure that your views are taken into account. 

Focus on material planning considerations 

The key is to object using planning justifications, not personal preferences. Objections based on: 

  • Loss of views
  • Impact on property prices
  • Negative effects on your lifestyle 

Are generally not material planning considerations. 

Instead, focus your objections planning matters like: 

  • Overdevelopment/Loss of open space
  • Traffic and highway safety
  • Noise, disturbance and loss of amenity
  • Design and character of the area. 

If you’re in doubt of what Material Planning Considerationsare please also read our download and Practical Guide to Material Planning Considerations. 

Provide evidence 

Back up your objections with evidence: 

  • Quotes from official documents like the local plan
  • Photos and data showing current use of the land
  • Traffic surveys and accident statistics
  • Reports from professional consultants (if available). 

Be respectful and solution-focused 

Avoid loaded or accusatory language. Express your objections calmly and clearly. Where possible, suggest ways the development could be revised to address your concerns. This shows you’re willing to work with the developer for a better outcome. 

With a thoughtful, evidence-based objection that focuses on valid planning considerations, there’s a good chance your concerns will be taken seriously – without labeling you a NIMBY. If done right, objecting to a planning application can help shape positive development in your community. 

Related Content: 

Our blog Everyone if a NIMBY offers top 10 tips for avoiding the title of NIMBY when commenting on a development proposal maybe useful for you.  Knowing the planning process will also help you with objecting or commenting on a planning application.  Our FREE eBook covers the Application Process and our article explaining the different processes How Are Applications Decided? Cover the basics. 

If in any doubt we can represent you as landowner, developer, objector or an interested party in relating to a planning proposal. Whether it’s speaking on your behalf at a planning committee, or providing evidence to support your view relating to a planning application. 

If you are against a development proposal, we can ensure objections are relevant and focused and we will give you a realistic view of how an application may be determined and whether there are legitimate grounds on which to object. 

how to object to a Planning Application