As I have said in a previous post, I believe that planning is all about a careful balance between the impact and the acceptability of your proposal. If you look at this from an impartial point of view and you look at a proposal and you think it's a little outrageous or wouldn't be acceptable then surely the local authority and planning officers would look at it the same way.
You couldn't put a thatched cottage in the middle of a high street nor could you put a house of multiple occupations with lots of parking in a sleepy village. It has to be a careful balance between what you think would be acceptable in a location against what the neighbours would want.
I appreciate that some neighbours are likely to hate everything you want to do but if you look at it subjectively, you'll see whether something on the balance is acceptable in terms of the impact that the development will have, if you always get that balance right, you will always get the best result.
More often than not, the planning officer will ask for amendments to your planning application and usually ask for it to be changed slightly, this may because they feel it has too much of an impact and harshness about it and therefore as it stands, they don't think it is acceptable. The extension may be too big or the house is too tall, maybe the roof shape doesn't fit in with the neighbours. It's all about the balance of the impact and what is acceptable.
Some of the major things to consider when making a planning application and getting that balance right are the loss of privacy, overlooking and overshadowing, is what you’re trying to do going to affect your neighbours? Also, consider highway safety, traffic, traffic noise and is there enough parking?
The location of where you want to build is also very important, is it next to a listed building or in a conservation area? What about the layout and the density of what you're trying to do. Think about the materials, if you're trying to have something which has a sand and cement rendered wall as opposed to nice matching brickwork. Things like nature conservation, will you be upsetting the local wildlife?
These are all sorts of things which should be considered when making a planning application, remember it's a careful balance of the impact and whether it's acceptable. If it's got a very little impact, it's more likely to be acceptable and therefore your planning application is more likely to be approved.