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Last edited 18 Feb 2020
If planning permission is refused, the applicant may lodge an appeal which will then usually be decided by an inspector acting for the Secretary of State. A small number may be 'recovered' by the Secretary of State who will then determine the appeal themselves. See Recovered planning appeals for more information.
There are different types of appeal that can be made:
- Householder appeal.
- Planning appeal.
- Enforcement appeal.
- Listed building / conservation area appeal.
- Listed building / conservation area enforcement appeal.
- Lawful development certificate appeal.
- Advertisement appeal.
Time limits for appeals vary depending on the nature of the application, but for a standard planning application for a commercial development, appeals must be made within 6 months of the date of the decision notice.
Detailed procedures for making an appeal vary depending on the nature of the application, but generally the two parties to the appeal (usually the applicant and the local planning authority) will be expected to provide information to support their cases. The inspector will tell the parties what the timetable is for this information to be provided. The inspector will usually visit the site, and may hold a hearing. Some appeals, in particular those dealing with bigger developments, may be heard by public inquiry.
There is generally no fee for making an appeal (apart from enforcement appeals). Parties to appeals are normally expected to meet their own expenses, however where one party has behaved ‘unreasonably’ and has caused another party to incur unnecessary expense, an application for costs can be made and the Secretary of State or the inspector may make an award of costs. Awards of costs must be ‘reasonable’ and from October 2013, costs may be awarded both on application and at the initiative of the inspector.
 2013 Reform
In October 2013, changes were introduced intended to speed up the appeals process, with an expectation that 80% of written representation appeals should be decided within 14 weeks and 80% of non-bespoke inquiries within 22 weeks:
At the point of launching their appeal, developers must present a full statement of their case (a written statement setting out full particulars of the case and copies of any documents that will be referred to or put in evidence), an explanation of the choice of procedure, and if there is likely to be a hearing or inquiry, a draft statement of common ground (a written statement setting out information about the proposal that it is not expected will be disputed by the local planning authority). The appeal will not be validated unless the developer complies with this requirement.
Complaints against appeals decisions are dealt with by the Planning Inspectorate’s Quality Assurance Unit. It is only possible to challenge appeals decisions in the High Court by showing that the Planning Inspectorate has misinterpreted the law. The Planning Inspectorate will then look at the decision again, but it will not necessarily be reversed. Applications to challenge decisions must be received by the Administrative Court within 42 days from the date of the decision.
In July 2014, the government announced that it would give particular scrutiny to planning appeals in, or close to, neighbourhood plan areas, considering recovery of appeals for '...proposals for residential development of over 10 units in areas where a qualifying body has submitted a neighbourhood plan proposal to the local planning authority: or where a neighbourhood plan has been made'. (Ref. Written ministerial statement, 10 July 2014.)
In June 2018, Communities Secretary Rt. Hon James Brokenshire MP appointed Bridget Rosewell to chair an independent review into planning appeal inquiries. The review was set up with the aim of reducing the time it takes to determine inquiries established to resolve disputed planning proposals, whilst still ensuring quality decision making.
In February 2019, the government publish the findings of the independent review into planning appeal inquiries (the Rosewell Report) which proposed driving down the time taken to decide appeals from 47 to 26 weeks. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/appeal-decisions-could-be-cut-by-5-months
In March 2019 it was announced that the Planning Inspectorate would run a pilot scheme for inquiries in response to the recommendations of the inquiries review. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/inquiries-review
On 14 May 2019, the Planning Inspectorate published its action plan to implement the recommendations of the inquiries review. Ref https://www.gov.uk/government/news/inquiries-review-action-plan
For more information see: Rosewell Review.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Detailed planning permission.
- Enforcement notice.
- Judicial review.
- Outline planning permission.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- Planning court.
- Planning enforcement.
- Planning fees.
- Planning inspectorate.
- Planning objection.
- Planning obligations.
- Planning permission.
- Recovered planning appeal.
- Planning related applications for judicial review.
- Rosewell Review.
- Statutory approvals.
- Statutory authorities.
- Stop notice.
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