How to comment on planning applications

How do I find out if an application has been submitted?

To find out if an application has been submitted see our Find Applications page.

To find out how to view the details see our View Applications page.

When can I comment?

Comments are accepted up to the point at which the application is determined.  The Department cannot determine an application until the 21 days publicity has expired (the 21 days following publication of the weekly list and display of the site notice). Therefore, if you comment during the 21 day publicity period you can be sure we will take account of your comments. If you comment after the 21 day period, there is the risk that we may have already determined the application and so be unable to take your comment into account.

What should I include in my comments?

When commenting on an application, please consider the following points.

  • Be Clear – It is important to state which planning application your comments relate to, therefore include the reference number, site address and description in your response
  • Be Factual - All comments should be based on fact, and therefore, it is important that you view the plans for the proposed development before submitting your comments
  • Relate to Planning – Only comments which relate to planning issues (known as “Material Considerations”) can be taken into account. If in doubt, it is better to put all your concerns down, and let the Case Officer work out which are material than to miss something out which could in fact be material. See Material Considerations 
  • Relate to the Proposal - Only comments which relate to the relevant planning application can be taken into account
  • Explain if and how it impacts on your property – Anyone can comment.  However if you feel that a proposal will impact on your property, it is helpful to explain how (including the relationship between your property and the application site). This is particularly important if you wish to be considered for Interested Person Status.  See Interested Person  
  • Fully set out your concerns – Comments which simply indicate support or objection will normally carry little weight.  It is therefore important that you clarify why you support or object to a proposal. Please note that for applications submitted on or after the 1 January 2020 third party appeals must include a reason which relates to issues which you have included in representations made prior to the application being determined
  • Your information - Please be aware that anonymous submissions will not be considered.  It is important to include your name, postal address and contact details (please note that if an email address is provided, we will assume that you are happy to receive further correspondence in that format)

Petitions

Petitions are often submitted in favour and against developments. These are treated the same as an individual submission and the merits of the submission will be considered. The fact that more than one person has raised the same issue does not make that issue twice as important. If a valid material planning objection is raised, even by a single objector, this will be considered the same as if more than one person had raised it.

Where a submission contains multiple names, the addresses must be provided or the contributor cannot be assessed for interested person status and it will not be possible to conclude how the development will affect the person who has written in. However, please note that names and signatures will be redacted before being put online or made available to the public in hard copy form.

Where an individual organises the petition and the additional signatures are supporting the case being made, whether in support or objection to a planning application, it is helpful for planning administration, whilst recognising the number of signatories, that a spokesperson is appointed to be the recipient and act on behalf of the signatories in all matters relative to the consideration.

Petitioners will not achieve Interested Person Status (IPS) if their postal address and merits for objection have not been included. It is recommended that if you feel strongly on a proposal, your comments are submitted independently.

Everyone who makes a written submission will be considered for interested person status (as defined by the Order) against the Operational Policy which can be viewed at www.gov.im/IPS.

All representations must clearly state the reason for commenting on an application and what the interest is in relation to the site. For example, if you live nowhere near but own the property next door you must clearly state this detail within the body of your objection. If you share an access with the site, this must be stated. No relationship to the site by an objector can be assumed, they must be clearly stated by the person submitting comment.

If you live next door to a site but do not give material grounds for your objection you will not be afforded IPS.

Objections stating ‘I don’t like it’ have no material weight, nor do objections based on design or commercial competition, the effect on your property value or the impact on a view.

Alternatively if you live some distance from the development but wish to maintain involvement in the process or just to be informed of the decision, please indicate this in your representation

To summarise:

Petitions must

  1. give the material reasons for the objection and
  2. reflect each signatory’s home address, especially if each petitioner wishes to be considered for party status and maintain an active interest in the planning process. To reiterate, names and signatures will be redacted.

How can I submit my comments?

Representations must be made in writing, should quote the application reference number, application site and proposal.  They can be made:

  • Online – via the Government Online Services
  • By letter – to Planning and Building Control Directorate, Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, Murray House, Mount Havelock, Douglas, Isle of Man , IM1 2SF
  • By email – to planning@gov.im

The Department has produced an optional form, which you may find helpful to use in submitting your comments (although you are not required to use it). This is available in the downloadable documents box as a fillable PDF. For Chrome or Safari users, please view this form in Adobe Reader or Internet Explorer, or download it to your computer before completing it.

Online Services

What happens to my comments?

Any comment submitted as part of a planning consideration is publically available (normally we will redact your name, phone number and e-mail address). Comments will not only remain available as part of the permanent record of the paper file but also in our public archive which is available online through our website. The Directorate has a Privacy Policy which may be viewed at Privacy Policy.

Representations made will be processed as part and alongside the assessment of the application. Any questions raised within the comment submitted will be taken into account by the Case Officer in their report and will not usually be responded to individually.

When compiling their report, the case officer will include a recommendation on who should be granted the right to lodge an appeal against the decision (be granted Interested Person Status). 

Redactions

The Department endeavours to consider all representations for appropriateness before placing them on public record/ the application file. In carrying out such consideration the Department retains the right to use its discretion to redact any comment or information it considers to be inflammatory, offensive or infringing GDPR obligations and/or inappropriate to the planning process. This scrutiny may take up to 48 hours before the submitted comment will appear in the public forum, placed on the application file and uploaded to our online service.

Historic records have not been redacted, however private representation has been redacted of personal information since June 1 2019. If you wish planning representation content prior to 1 June 2019 to be considered for redaction please contact planning@gov.im

If redaction beyond name/contact information is to be applied the sender will be notified.

If you wish to report that an application or representation breaches personal data regulations please contact planning@gov.im in the first instance. The Department will thereafter conduct a risk assessment on the balance of customer rights, legal obligation and the wider public interest. Based on the results of this assessment we may then redact the information. Where any redaction is carried out the sender will be notified.