How to Submit a Planning Appeal.
Obtaining planning consent using an appeal.
Here we area attempting to strip away all of the complexity in relation to planning appeals
and I'm intending to try and tell you how to submit a planning appeal.
So what is a planning appeal a planning appeal is your ability to appeal the decision of refusal you've had from
your local planning authority so the appeals itself is a completely free service when you pay for your planning
application fee you pay for the right to be able to appeal that decision if you're not satisfied by it.
The process itself is a sort of add-on to your original planning application fee that you can choose to use if
you're not satisfied with the process. So how do you deal with a refusal of a planning application when you get a
decision notice that says your application has been refused?
Your application will be refused for one or a number of reasons and the reasons will be displayed on the
decision notice and your appeal is solely based against the reasons for refusal. It is not based on anything else
in relation to the case it's assumed that if it doesn't form a reason for refusal those issues are in common ground
with the council. i.e the council have no issue with those particular issues so your case is solely based on the
reason for refusal and your appeal will be based upon those factors alone.
Where do you appeal to the planning inspectorate the planning inspector is a government arm of local government
it is an independent body that has no relationship with local planning authorities so they may do the same job as a
local planning authority but they have no relationship with them.
Their head offices are in Bristol and planning inspectors are located throughout the country and they don't work
for a particular local authority so they deal solely with planning appeals. Planning inspectors are usually of a
higher level of training or experience in comparison to local authority planners so it is likely that the vast
majority of the time the inspector dealing with the case is more experienced in relation to how to treat planning
policies particularly national policies that may be used to override any local objections.
The vast majority of the time when you submit a planning appeal you're working on the basis of those reasons for
refusal. You submit a case that relates to those reasons to refuse or call this a statement of case. That statement
of case is essentially a mini report that sits at the very front of your submission and explains to the inspector
what the basis of your case is. It responds directly to those reasons for refusal and it makes a case against each
of the individual elements as required. If you have one reason for refusal your statement of case solely relates to
that particular reason for refusal.
You break down the reasons why you feel, in policy terms, plus a set of circumstances specific to your site why
your development shouldn't be judged on the basis of that reason for refusal. If you have a few reasons for refusal
you need to break them down separately deal with one at a time and then give a conclusion at the end of that
statement of case as to why the case accords overall with planning policy as it can be applied.
The statement of case itself goes to the planning inspector through their own portal. They have a separate
planning portal that you submit the statement case to. You submit all of the details associated with the refusal
reason on there as well and you also submit all of the documents that formed part of the original planning
If your planning application is for a full planning permission you submit all of the documents
there including any technical plans and reports that you've had done any surveys that you've had done together with
any correspondence you've had with the local planning authority.
You provide those to the portal upload them to the portal and then give the planning inspector a list of what
those documents consist of. If your application was for a householder planning application and therefore you
require householder appeal the only documents you need to submit during the portal process other than your
statement of case is the application form and the decision notice itself.
The process now has three separate potential routes associated with the planning appeal they are written
representations, hearings and public inquiries. In the vast majority of cases smaller cases for householder
planning appeals and smaller cases in relation to full planning applications will take the written representation's
route. That is a route where everything essentially is done in writing.
An informal hearing is the second stage and that requires a meeting with a planning inspector with the local
planning authority basically sitting around a table or during this current covid crisis a virtual hearing using
zoom everyone sits around a table and discusses the reasons for refusal. Both parties present their case and the
inspector is able to ask questions to both parties in relation to what their case consists of and why they've come
to that particular position.
In the vast majority of cases hearings aren't available because they take up more time for the inspector and so
unless there is a case that's presented of a particularly large scale scheme that requires multiple elements to be
assessed maybe some technical elements in there as well. The likelihood is the application of the appeal will go
through the written representations route.
Public inquiries are for large scale development or particularly contentious development take place over a
considerable period of time maybe three or four days and involve the ability to test and cross-examine the
information so both parties have the opportunity to cross-examine the evidence presented by the other party.
Clearly that is in relation to significantly larger cases and won't be subject to the vast majority of appeals
submitted to the appeals system.
The typical program consists of a period of around 20 to 28 weeks depending on the efficiency of the planning
inspector at that particular point in time which is subject to other pressures such as backlog of cases, the time
of year submitted and any lack of inspectors employed by the planning inspector at that particular point in
Essentially that is the extent of time you submit your appeal to the planning inspectorate they confirm the
validity of that appeal relatively quickly i.e within one or two days and then usually takes a couple of weeks for
the appeal to formally start.
You will be contacted when that happens and when the appeal program formally starts. It will set a series of
dates that will determine how the case will be handled so within that time frame the local authority will submit a
questionnaire to the planning inspector identifying whether the roots proposed. If it's written representations
whether that root proposes the correct one whether there are any other documents outside of that presented by the
appellant are to be considered and whether the planning inspector has gone through the proper procedural program of
notification to third parties.
You will be given a specific date. The authority will then have a second date which is to present their response
to the statement of cases you presented. A third date will consist of your final comments in relation to the
council's response and then there'll be a fourth date which is the site visit by the planning inspector.
Usually what happens is the planning inspector will visit site they'll ask to do that unaccompanied they won't
require any sort of lobbying on sites they wish to do that independently and completely impartially. When they
finish their site visit usually within a period of two or three weeks afterwards the decision will be issued.
The decision is essentially a planning decision so the if the appeal is upheld and planning permission is
granted the appeal decision itself will form the grants of planning permission and will provide planning conditions
if required. If the appeal is dismissed that is essentially the end of the case in most in most instances. There is
the option sometimes to take a planning appeals decision to the high court. However that is in very rare procedural
The upsides of a planning appeal is your ability to objectively have your case assessed without any sort of
political involvement and to have it assessed by usually a more experienced planning inspector so if there are
issues in relation to what you think is the predominant case it is likely that the planning inspector will iron out
The downside clearly is the time frame if you are time sensitive in relation to your scheme 20 to 28 weeks for
decision notice may play a part in stopping you being able to do the work that you want to do. The other downside
is that the Appeal Inspector can often make observations or adverse comments to your proposal that then prevents a
later amended scheme being presented as another formal Planning application.