Planning privacy statement, terms and conditions

As a user of our website you are accepting these terms and conditions, which apply from the date you first used this website.

Terms of use

You agree to use this site only for lawful purposes and in a manner that does not infringe the rights of, or restrict or inhibit the use and enjoyment of this site by anyone else. Restriction or inhibition includes (without limitation):

  • conduct which is unlawful
  • conduct which may harass or cause distress or inconvenience to anyone
  • the transmission of obscene or offensive content
  • the disruption of normal flow of dialogue within this sit

You must not post or transmit via this website:

  • any unlawful, defamatory, obscene, offensive or scandalous material
  • any material that constitutes or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offence, likely to give rise to civil liability or otherwise violates any law

We will fully co-operate with any law enforcement authorities or court order lawfully requesting or directing us to disclose the identity of anyone posting any such information or materials on this website.

Planning consultation

The council, as the local planning authority, has a duty to consider applications for development in the public interest. To do this, we invite local people and organisations to comment on planning applications. This consultation helps to ensure that the right things are built in the right places.

If people are unaware of the information we will use when deciding whether to grant planning permission, then they are unlikely to become involved in the planning decisions that affect the environment around them. For this reason, the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 requires us to make information submitted in relation to planning applications available for public inspection. This can only be overturned in exceptional circumstances.

Withholding information

The council could be open to allegations of maladministration if information is withheld from the public without good reason. We will only consider withholding information from the public where a legitimate and compelling reason is provided or in the following situations:

  • where public access has caused, or is likely to cause, someone to suffer loss or harm, or upset and anguish of a real nature, over and above annoyance level, and without justification.
  • There is a real and significant risk of an organisation or person suffering injustice if the public were to access commercially sensitive information.

If you have submitted information to us but now want to withdraw it you should request this in writing using our online contact form. We will withdraw the information and it will not be taken into consideration. You may still provide your views by either submitting a modified version or asking your local councillor, town council or parish council to present your views for you.

The following information that is kept on our files will normally be kept confidential and will not be made available for public inspection:

  • legal opinion received by the council
  • personal financial information
  • formal complaints and matters relating to breaches of planning control and planning enforcement

Information displayed on our website

To increase public access, the law states we must maintain a planning register of proposed applications which can be published on our website. We must also make environmental information, including planning information, increasingly available to the public by electronic means which are easily accessible.

We therefore use our website to display information relating to planning applications and aim to do so within ten working days of receipt.

You will normally be able to view comments received from the occupants of neighbouring properties about current applications on our website.

Personal information

Information relating to planning applications contains information about people. This information is held on our files and often includes the names, addresses and other information about applicants and people who have provided comments and personal opinions. This includes personal information such as:

  • name
  • address
  • personal opinions
  • professional opinions

We acknowledge that this information can be personal to people. However, people need access to information relating to planning applications in order to help:

  • increase public participation in the planning process
  • increase public accountability of council officers, leading to a higher standard of decision making
  • ensure that all parties involved are accountable for their information, leading to an increase in the quality, honesty, reliability and relevance of information they provide

The information we keep also helps us to better understand who provided it, so that we can consider the weight to be given when making our decision.

We aim to deliver an accessible, informative and accountable service while also protecting the legitimate interests of our residents. We ensure this balance is maintained when publishing personal information on our website.

  • We inform people that their comments will be made available in full on the council’s website together with their name and address.
  • We invite people to consider the type and volume of personal/sensitive information they include in their correspondence.
  • Once the application has been decided we remove comments made by the general public within seven months. This complies with the Data Protection Act which requires us not to keep personal information longer than is necessary.

Anonymous comments will normally be given little weight when we decide to approve or refuse applications. This is because knowing where a resident lives when they object to an application can help to decide how much weight to attribute to their concerns. For example where two neighbours object to a new development because of overlooking, knowing that one lives adjacent to the site and the other some distance away allows the council to understand the impact that the development will have on them. For this reason we normally display the name and address of people who submit comments.

If information is displayed on our website that you consider is personal, offensive or defamatory you should contact us using our online contact form to request that it is removed and we will consider your request. If you contact us in accordance with the provisions of section 5 of the Defamation Act 2013 we are required by law to contact the person who posted the comments and inform them of your complaint. If you do not want section 5 of the Defamation Act to apply then you should clearly confirm this when you contact us.

More information about the Defamation Act can be found on gov.UK.