In the event that an application is refused, or not determined by the Local Authority within statutory timeframes, then as an applicant, you have the right to appeal, within 6 months of the decision notice being issued, or in the case of non determination, six months from the date the decision should have been made. A planning appeal can be submitted for any planning application, including CLEUD and Section 73 applications.
Planning appeals are dealt with through the Planning Inspectorate, who appoint an inspector for each appeal. Like the Local Authority in determining an application, the Inspector can only consider things that are relevant to planning, for example, the fact that a proposed new building may directly overlook someone’s garden thereby harming the enjoyment of that personal space or it may need a new access in a dangerous location that would be detrimental to road safety.
As with Planning Applications, we provide a complete service from start to finish concerning Planning Appeals, acting as agents, and providing a range of services. We produce in depth, detailed proofs of evidence and appeal statements for appeals, which as well as consolidating planning support statements, offers detailed reasoning as to why an appeal should be allowed based on the reasons for refusal given. Where necessary, we also act as a central contact for external consultants who may need to provide their own specialist evidence, as well as providing expert witness services. We have extensive experience of working with Counsel, and can advise on the right barrister for your appeal, as well as preparing instructions and arranging conference with counsel.
Every appeal is different, and we will ensure that the right resources are dedicated to ensuring a successful outcome. Where it is felt that the local authority has acted unreasonably, and there is a case for costs in line with the Costs Circular 03/09, we can advise on making such a claim. Remember, an appeal does not need to be successful in order to claim costs, and the two decisions are not related.
Methods of Appeal
There are a number of methods of dealing with Planning appeals, outlined below. We can provide advice on the best method of appeal.
Written representations are the simplest way of presenting a case to an Inspector, and is the method used for the majority of planning appeals. In this situation, no face to face contact is had with an inspector, and a decision will be made solely on the information provided to them, through application documents, and appeal statements. This means that evidence will not be cross examined between parties, and there normally is not the opportunity to clarify points, or answer questions from the inspector.
Hearings are the “In Between” method of Planning Appeal, allowing multiple views to be heard and discussed from all interested parties. They are an effective way of presenting planning arguments to an inspector in person, without the more formal atmosphere of an inquiry.
A hearing allows an inspector to examine important issues in depth by asking questions of the parties (the organisations and people involved). Hearings are usually completed in one day or less, so they are suitable for relatively straightforward appeals and those where there is little or no public interest. However, where there is strong turnout by local residents or interested parties, this may take slightly more time.
All hearings include a site visit, where the inspector can understand the proposal in context. On most occasions parties are able to point out relevant points made in relation to context and setting, however new evidence normally can not be brought forward at this time.
Public enquiries are the most formal of planning appeals, and also the most in depth. They are normally used when there is a significant difference in views between parties, and where in depth examination and cross examination is required.
Examination and cross examination is conducted by counsel, instructed by the appellant and local authority on each side. Counsel will have the opportunity to pose questions to each of their parties expert witnesses, which are then subject to cross examination from the other site. If necessary, re-examination will take place, third parties will have the opportunity to examine parties and the Inspector may choose to pose their own questions, should their points not have been covered elsewhere, or if clarification is required. This is done for each party.
Public Enquiries normally last between 2 and 4 days, and will conclude with a site visit. In some rare cases, appeals may stretch into 2 weeks, or have to be conducted at two sittings, weeks apart. Most times the inspector will visit the site alone before the enquiry to understand better the context within which an appeal is set, but will wait until the formal site visit to discuss technical points.
Important Note & More Information
All Documentation must be recieved by the Planning Inspectorate before they will validate an appeal, and therefore, if all information is not received within 6 months of a decision notice being issued, the appeal will be ignored. Therefore, if you are planning on making an appeal, it is advised to begin the process as early as possible.
As well as placing costs applications against a local authority, under the terms of Circular 03/09, the local authority also have the right to make an application for costs if they feel that an applicant has acted unreasonably. We will advise you if we feel that submitting an appeal is likely to be perceived as such, and suggest alternatives where necessary. It is worth remembering that a new application can run alongside an appeal, which if it is the first revision of scheme, will be null of charge if submitted within 12 months of the previous application being submitted.
If you have any queries in respect of how we can assist with your planning application needs, please do not hesitate to contact us.