Planning and licensing applications: how to object


What can you object to?

The only comments that can be taken into account in planning decisions are the impact of the development on:

Residential amenity

  • Overlooking
  • Loss of daylight or sunlight *
  • Overshadowing
  • Noise and disturbance
  • Light pollution
  • Hours of use

Character and appearance

  • Design
  • Appearance
  • Materials to be used
  • Layout, density, design of the external appearance
  • Impact on the historic environment, listed buildings or conservation areas

Highway safety

  • Traffic implications and means of access
  • Poor visibility
  • Pedestrian safety
  • Parking

Policy and use

  • Planning policies and government planning advice
  • Community facilities or public infrastructure

The following types of concerns cannot be taken into account as they are non-planning matters:

  • The effect on property values
  • Loss of private views
  • Private rights of way and other private easements and legal covenants
  • Disputes over land ownership and boundaries
  • Commercial competition
  • Building regulation issues (eg structural stability, drainage, fire precautions, hygiene and internal space)
  • Moral or religious objections

* There is also a legal “right to light” which is a civil matter, separate from the daylight and sunlight analysis as considered by the Planning Authorities. Rights of light can therefore be considered even if planning permission has been granted and in some situations residents have received compensation from developers.

How can you make an objection?

The quickest and easiest way to make an objection is online via the City of London website. However, you can also email or write.

You will need to quote the planning application number. This will be ordinarily be provided by the BA Planning Committee. Letters are also sent from the City of London to those residents who may be impacted by proposed new developments in their particular location and the planning application number can likewise be found on these.

It should be noted however that supportive as well as neutral comments can also be submitted by these methods.


You can submit an online objection on the City of London website. (If, for any reason, this link does not work, then go to the City of London website (, enter the word “Planning” in the search box and press Enter. Scroll down the list of options and click on “View or comment on a planning application”. Scroll down the page to the heading “online”).

You will see that it says: “You can view an application by: · Weekly/monthly lists · Application number · Address”

The simplest way is to enter the application reference number, then press “Search”. Then click on the Comments tab and a template comes up which asks for some basic information (your name, address, reason for making a comment) and you can then write your comment in the Comments box. The maximum number of words allowed for submission online is 2000 – anything longer can be sent via email. Your comments will then be published.

Email or write

Alternatively, you can write a comment and email it to:

Or, if you prefer send your comments to the following address:

Department of the Built Environment
City of London
PO Box 27

Add the planning application reference at the top of your email or letter and state whether you are supporting or objecting to it. You must include your name and address.

In theory, objections should be submitted within a certain time frame and all applications have what is called a “standard consultation expiry date”. However, in practice, objections can be submitted right up until the start of the meeting at which the application is to be discussed.

The application is granted: what next?

Once approval for a planning application has been granted but before any work on the development can be started, detailed reports have to be provided and approved by the CoL Planning Department as to how residential amenity will be protected during the construction works. These include:

  • Works on the approved development “shall not begin until a scheme for protecting nearby residents and commercial occupiers from noise, dust and other environmental effects has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority”. The scheme “shall be based on the Department of Markets and Consumer Protection’s Code of Practice for Deconstruction and Construction Sites and arrangements for liaison and monitoring should be set out therein”.
  • A staged Scheme of Protective Works may be submitted in respect of individual stages of the development process but no works in any individual stage shall be commenced until the related scheme of protective works has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This is to protect the amenities of nearby residents and commercial occupiers in accordance with the following policies of the Local Plan: DM15.6, DM15.7, DM21.3. These details are required prior to any work commencing in order that the impact on amenities is minimised from the time that development starts.
  • To ensure compliance with the terms of Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, the development must be “begun before the expiration of three years” from the date of the approval being granted.


Any person wishing to make a representation in relation to a licensing application must give notice in writing to the licensing authority at the following address, giving in detail the grounds of objection by the date shown on the application:

City of London Licensing Authority,