We actively seek the involvement of members of the local community when making planning decisions. However, when considering whether to comment, you should be aware that we can only determine applications on the basis of their planning merits. Please note that the amount of representation (letters, emails) that we receive about an application may influence the way we handle an application but numbers alone will not necessarily change the outcome. For example, one hundred objections with no valid reasons for objection will ultimately have little impact compared to one letter based on valid reasons for objection.

We are required to make quick, robust decisions. The Government sets the timeframes, for different types of application, within which we should make a decision. These are:

  • 8 weeks for small and householder applications
  • 13 weeks for larger developments
  • 16 weeks for development requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment

The Government assesses our performance against these targets.  We are not allowed to make decisions on planning applications within 3 weeks (21 days) of receiving a valid planning application. This period is set aside for consultation.  We can make decisions after 3 weeks. As such it is important for you to comment on a planning application within the consultation period - nearly always 3 weeks.  The earlier we receive comments the more likely they are to inform our decisions. All comments received before we make a decision will be considered, but there is a risk that comments received after the consultation period will have less influence on decisions or be received after the decision has been made.

Make a comment

We cannot accept your comments verbally, either on the telephone or in person.

The easiest way to submit a comment on a planning application is by registering with Planning Online, our online database for planning applications. Registering also enables you to track the progress of an application and receive email notification when the decision is made. By law all comments received must be open to public inspection and will be available for public inspection on our Planning Online database. Comments made online will appear immediately.

You must have a registered account to comment on planning applications.

  Find a planning application

Do not include any signatures or personal telephone numbers/email addresses, if they are included they will redacted (removed) for information security purposes. However, if you include your postal address with your letter then, as standard practice, it will appear with your comment. You can request to have your name and address removed from online publication however your comment will be regarded as anonymous. Anonymous comments may carry less weight, and may be disregarded when the application is being considered.

If you wish to comment on an application but due to your personal circumstances do not want your comments and/or name and address made available to the public, please contact the Spatial Planning Team using the contact number on this web page or email planning@torbay.gov.uk .

Any inappropriate comments or comments of a defamatory nature are likely to be removed from the website without prior notice.

If you use our website to submit a comment on an application you can request an email confirming your comments. Unfortunately due to the volume of comments received we cannot extend this to those submitted by post. If you have posed any questions in a letter of representation that you wish us to reply to we cannot guarantee that we will be able to give you a response. If you do have any queries regarding a planning application we would advise you to contact us by telephone and we will be happy to assist you with your enquiry.

Make sure you have viewed the plans before you comment.

Only comments relating to planning issues can be taken into account. Any inappropriate or defamatory comments will be removed without prior notice. By keeping your comments to the point you will help us to easily identify your concerns.

Matters which are not relevant include:

  • Effect on property value or property maintenance
  • Loss of view
  • Private covenants
  • Commercial competition
  • Morals and motives

Matters which are relevant include:

  • Drainage including surface water run off
  • Impact on local area
  • Highway matters, traffic access visibility and parking
  • Provides/removes facilities
  • Provides/removes housing
  • Removes an eyesore
  • Is the application contrary to or following the Local Plan or other Government Policies
  • Loss of light
  • Improves/degrades tourist facilities
  • Noise created once the development is complete
  • In keeping/not in keeping with local area
  • Over development
  • Privacy/Overlooking
  • Provides/retains jobs
  • Residential amenity
  • Sets precedent
  • Effect on trees and wildlife

Further information:

You should make your comment before the date shown in the ‘Consultation Period to End On’ date in the record.

Comments received after this date may be too late to be taken into consideration.

Comments can only be made upon applications that have not been determined. If an application has been determined this notice will appear: 

"The public consultation period for this application has ended. We are no longer accepting comments from the public on this application."

It is often the case that a proposed scheme receives publicity in a local newspaper before it has been formally submitted to us. Until such time as a formal application is made (even if the scheme has received front-page status) there will be no details available for the public via us. Comments should only be made upon proposed developments that have been submitted as a formal application to our Planning Department. If you have seen information about a proposed scheme in the local newspaper and wish to know more/make a comment to us about it, we would suggest that you find out if it has been submitted as a formal application by:

  • Checking the information given by the newspaper, it will often state whether a formal application has been submitted or whether the scheme is merely at a preliminary stage.
  • Checking on Planning Online. Please be advised that applications for large developments (such as those for supermarkets) are often submitted by an agent/architect. This can mean that trying to find an application by entering the name of the company involved may prove fruitless. We would instead advise that you save a search on Planning Online for applications received for the road, postcode or ward that you suspect the development will be proposed for. That way you will be notified of all applications matching your search criteria regardless of the applicant's name.
  • TDA  Opens in a new window may hold details about a large scheme that receives media attention but please note that it is not possible to submit a formal comment to the TDA.

All planning applications are made available for public inspection via Planning Online. We also may use site notices, an advert in the local press and neighbour notification.

All you need to know about neighbour notifications and advertisements.

All you need to know about our decision making process.

We cannot accept your comments verbally, either on the telephone or in person. By law all comments must be available for public inspection. All representation (comments) that we receive about an application will be made available for public inspection via Planning Online

Online:

The easiest way to submit a comment on a planning application is by registering with Planning Online, our online database for planning applications. Registering also enables you to track the progress of an application and receive email notification when the decision is made. By law, (Local Government (Access To Information) Act 1985) all comments received must be open to public inspection and will be available for public inspection on our Planning Online database. Comments made online will appear immediately.

In Writing:

By letter, please use our comments form which has been designed to make commenting in writing easier for you. Comments made by letter will normally be made available to view online within two days of receipt by Torbay Council. Please write your name, address and the reference number for the application in capital letters, this will help us to register your letter.

Petitions should be submitted under the name and address of the person that produced it. Therefore, if you have arranged a petition please ensure that, upon submission to Spatial Planning, it is clear who produced it, what the producer's address is and which application it refers to. This could assist us if we have to notify the sender if the application goes to appeal. Petitions should also include an appropriate data protection statement which states that, once submitted to the council, the Council will become the Data Controller and that the details provided will only be used for the purpose of this petition, however, the petition may be published with names and addresses of those who sign it. Petitions will be made available to members of the Development Management Committee to assist them in determining the application. They will also be scanned and will appear on Planning Online. Please note that on Planning Online the whole petition will be scanned but will be listed as a single submission of a comment and displayed as a petition of 'x' number of signatures. For information security purposes signatures, telephone numbers and personal email addresses will be redacted before appearing online, but names and addresses of those who have signed the petition will be published.

If you would like to submit a petition electronically please send it to planning@torbay.gov.uk and quote the relevant application number.