Planning Service Feedback
The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service values feedback about its services. We have developed these frequently asked questions (FAQs) to help you contact the right person about your comment or complaint.
Are you concerned about a current (live) planning application?
If you are the applicant and you wish to discuss your planning application, please contact your case officer. If your application has not been allocated please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not the applicant, and a decision has not been made regarding the application, you can submit comments/objections for applications in Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire on our online planning register up to the working day before the decision is issued, and your comments will be included in the officer’s assessment of the application.
If you would like to make a complaint about communication issues or a delay to your decision being issued please refer to South Cambridgeshire complaints and compliments or Cambridge city complaints and compliments . Please make sure you are submitting your complaint to the correct authority for the area your application is located.
What can I do if I disagree with a planning decision?
If you are the applicant and your application is refused, you can appeal the decision through the Planning Inspectorate. Further information can be found at planning permission appeals
The legislation does not allow for objectors or neighbours to appeal against a planning decision. Once a planning decision is issued, the only way of changing the decision is through the third party pursuing a legal challenge of the Councils decision through the court. This is called a Judicial Review. If a planning decision has been issued, the complaint process cannot change the decision and for this reason, the complaints process cannot be used to discuss the planning merits of the decision. You should instead seek your own legal advice on whether the decision should be challenged through the courts. Any decision to do so needs to be made within 6 weeks of the decision. Further advice on Judicial Review can be found on the government’s web page for the planning court.
The Local Planning Authority will only log your complaint if there is thought to be maladministration of process. If it is found that there has been fault, an assessment will be made as to the harm this has caused the complainant individually and a remedy suggested.
The development has not been built in accordance with approved plans or a developer has not complied with a condition. Can I complain?
Yes, although this is not classed as a corporate complaint but is an enforcement complaint and is dealt with under a separate process.
To check if a proposal is built in accordance with approved plans check the decision notice and approved drawings in the online planning register.
If an applicant has not built their development according to the approved plans or not complied with a condition of permission as found on the decision notice, please report this to our enforcement team, who will investigate. Please use the online forms for Cambridge City planning enforcement or South Cambridgeshire planning enforcement depending on the location of the development.
How do I find out who is dealing with my application?
Once validated, your application is allocated to a case officer. At this point you will also receive an acknowledgement letter.
The name of the officer dealing with your application can be found at the top of your acknowledgement letter. Their contact details at the end of the letter.
Here is an example of an acknowledgement letter, with the location of the case officer circled.
What can I do if I believe the case officer failed to assess my objection in making their decision?
Firstly, find out if the officer has addressed your concerns in their report. If reference has been made to your concern, and the officer has explained how your objection has been assessed and weighted against planning legislation/policy guidance, but you disagree with this assessment, this does not make it a corporate complaint.
You will find the officer report on our online planning register.
Planning is concerned with land use in the public interest, so the protection of purely private interests, such as the impact of the development of the value of a neighbouring property or loss of private rights to light, may not be material to the decision-making, meaning we can’t take this into account. Read more about material planning considerations.
Can I complain about my elected councillor in respect of planning applications?
Yes, for complaints relating to a South Cambridgeshire District Councillor you can make a complaint using the online complaint form at complaints about councillor conduct (South Cambridgeshire District Council)
For complaints relating to a Cambridge City Council Councillor please complete the form at complaints about a councillors conduct (Cambridge City)
Contact details for teams in the Planning Service are published on our Contact Us page. We are in the process of migrating our online guidance and advice to this website, but in the meantime please visit South Cambridgeshire District Council or Cambridge City Council where you will find detailed information on all stages of the planning process.