All comments on Brent Council planning applications will be made available to the public following a campaign by a local historian.

Philip Grant, of Wembley History Society, engaged in a five-month battle with the council to ensure comments made by statutory consultees on planning applications are published online.

A letter from Carolyn Downs, chief executive of Brent Council, confirmed plans to change the system following Mr Grant’s suggestion that the current set-up goes against full openness and transparency.

At present, comments made by members of the public – redacted to protect personal details – are automatically published alongside applications.

But, writing a guest blog post on Wembley Matters, Mr Grant argued that “in the interests of openness and transparency, all consultee comments, whether from the public, council officers or other consultees should be publicly available on the website, as all are relevant to anyone considering the application(s)”.

His campaign was sparked by his objections to the redevelopment of a Victorian villa in Morland Gardens, Stonebridge.

He suggested it was unfair to withhold comments from consultees such as the council’s heritage conservation officer, as these could aid those wishing to make representations.

To address this, he submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which found the heritage conservation officer said the site “should be considered an important local heritage asset of high significance”, and that “additional information needs to be obtained before a proper assessment of the proposals can be determined”.

He noted that this information would be useful to any objectors to the scheme but was not easily available to them.

In another instance, relating to plans to partially cover historic tiles along Bobby Moore Bridge, Mr Grant pointed out the planning officers’ report said “the council’s principle heritage officer notes that, given the tiles are not a designated heritage asset, the proposals are a reasonable compromise”.

But, he explained, they chose to withhold the part, obtained through another FOI, that stated, “these colourful tiled murals have artistic, historic and cultural merit”.

In response to Mr Grant’s concerns, the council said it takes all comments into account when evaluating a scheme but is not legally required to publish them.

Its development management manager added that redacted copies of consultee comments are available on request to the application’s case officer.

However, Ms Downs’ letter confirmed the council’s intentions to change its system to provide wider access to more information on planning applications.

It read: “Your complaint has helpfully contributed to a discussion which had already commenced within the planning service about whether statutory and internal consultee comments should be published on the planning application database, regardless of the absence of a legal or constitutional requirement to do so.

“The planning service has now reached the conclusion that it would be beneficial to publish statutory and internal consultee comments in future.”

The council estimates the changes will be implemented around November.