We deal with planning applications that relate to minerals, waste and our own County Council developments such as schools, libraries, Social Services developments and new roads.
Your local planning authority (District or Borough Council) should be able to advise you of other types of developments, including extensions, residential and business developments.
You can search for current planning applications and submit your comments online here. You can also view planning applications that have already been determined.
Planning application details can be viewed in person at the relevant local District Council office, online using the Search now button above, or by appointment at our office in County Hall.
Written comments can be submitted in a number of ways:
- Online - Comment on or search for a planning application by location, application type or application number. You will also be able to view all associated application documents and plans as well as being able to submit your comments using the 'Search now' button above.
- Email - Submit written comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org quoting the application number and marked for the attention of the case officer, whose name can be found on the consultation letter, site notice or press advert.
- Letter - Send letters to: Environmental Management, Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton TA1 4DY. Please quote the application number and case officer name if known.
Comments have to be received within the period stated in the letter, website or newspaper and site notice, so that your views can be taken into account.
Please note that a planning application file is a public document available for inspection, and we cannot treat any written comments as confidential.
Who can use it?
Anyone can comment on a planning application during the consultation period.
If you live near a proposed development site (usually if you are within 100 metres) and will be affected by a proposal you will usually receive a letter from us inviting you to make a comment about the proposal. You can also comment if you are not directly affected, or if you live further away.
Notices are posted at the application site and in some instances we also publish a notice in a local newspaper advising of proposed developments.
What is covered?
Our planning officers look at all planning applications on their own merits, considering the Development Plan (including national and regional planning guidance), the County Structure Plan and any Local Plans. You may have a social, political, environmental or purely personal concern about a particular development proposal, but to be effective any objection or supporting statements must focus upon the ‘planning merits’ of the case. These would include the relevant planning policies, as well as ‘material considerations’. As an example, you cannot say ‘this application should be refused as it will reduce the value of my property’. However you could say ‘this application should be refused as the height of the building means that the amount of daylight our houses receive will be severely reduced’. The most common material and non-material considerations (although not an exhaustive list) are shown below:
- Loss of light or overshadowing
- Overlooking/loss of privacy
- Highway safety
- Adequacy of parking/loading/turning
- Impact on natural environment for example, Loss of trees
- Traffic congestion
- Noise and disturbance resulting from use
- Layout and density of building
- Nature conservation
- Smells or dust
Issues which are not material considerations and therefore cannot be considered
- Loss of views
- The perceived loss of property value
- Personal morals or views about the applicant
- Business competition
- Disturbance during development
What happens next?
Your comments will be registered and made available on our planning website (unless you request that they are treated as confidential). We do not acknowledge comments – however you may view them via our planning application search page. Please note that your personal details such as name, postcode and contact details will not be made public.
The case officer may contact you to discuss your comments further, to find out what your specific concerns are or to clarify something.
If you have objected or are in support of an application, we will inform you if it is to be determined at Regulation Committee. We will write to you at least 5 working days in advance of the meeting.
If you have objected to an application, we will inform you of the outcome of the decision.
How long does it take?
We will endeavour to determine planning applications within the Government set timescales, which are:
- Mineral, Waste and all major planning applications - 13 weeks from the date a valid application is received.
- County developments - 8 weeks from the date a valid application is received.