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Planning appeals

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Appeals can be made for a number of reasons, but most are made because the council has refused planning permission.

Appeals are made to the planning inspectorate and are decided by planning inspectors appointed by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Only the person who applies for the planning permission has a legal right to appeal (the appellant) to the planning inspectorate. There is no right of appeal for interested people or organisations (known as 'third parties') in the UK.

The applicant has a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate if:

  • No decision has been reached on the application within the statutory 8 week period
  • The application is refused
  • The applicant does not agree with one or more of the conditions on an approval.

Appeals are usually time consuming and, depending on which method of appeal you choose, can be expensive. Before you opt for this course of action, it is worth speaking to the planning officer who dealt with your application to see if there is scope to negotiate a compromise and submit an amended application.

The overall cost of your appeal will depend on whether you employ professional advisors or representatives.

From 6th April 2009 there will be a streamlined appeal process for householder planning applications which will proceed by written representations to be known as the "Householder Appeal Service". This expedited appeal service is a simplified appeal route under which a decision will normally be reached within 8 weeks.  

Householder applications means:

(a) an application for planning permission for development of an existing dwelling house, or development within the curtilage of such a dwelling house for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling house or

(b) an application for any consent, agreement or approval required by or under a planning permission, development order or local development order in relation to such development.

It does not include an application for a change of use or an application to change the number of dwellings in a building.

The time limit for the submission of householder appeals will be 12 weeks from the date of the notice of the decision or determination giving rise to the appeal.
In all other cases, the existing time limits of 6 months will apply.

The planning inspectorate will decide whether the appeal should proceed via the householder appeals service or should be transferred to another procedure.

Details of the appeal procedures can be found accompanying the decision notice, or by visiting the Planning Portal or the planning inspectorate websites using the links on the right hand side of this page.

There are 3 ways in which all other planning appeals can be determined:

Written representations - The appellant and the council prepare written statements for the planning inspectorate to consider. A planning inspector will visit the site and then issue a decision.

Informal hearing - with the agreement of both parties and where the planning issues are quite straightforward an informal hearing may be called. This is a discussion of the issues involved between the parties which is led by the planning inspector.

Public inquiry - each side presents its case verbally before an inspector and the witnesses for each side can be cross-examined by the opposing parties. This is usually a more lengthy and expensive procedure as it normally involves professional representation and complex arguments.

The chances of an appeal being successful depends on the merits of the proposals and how they fit in with local and national planning policies.

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