Should We Appeal?

Leatherhead and Dorking Gymnastics Centre

As Head of Planning at FORM Design Group, Paul Uttley BSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI has dealt with plenty of planning appeals over the years. But when is lodging an Appeal a good idea, and what can you do if you’re unsuccessful?

Planning appeals are generally made against a Council’s refusal of planning permission although appeals can be made against other planning matters such as conditions, enforcement notices certificates of lawful development etc.

There is also the right of appeal if a local council fails to determine a planning application on time. This will be the case if they fail to meet the statutory determination period and you have not agreed to an extension of time.

Whilst there are normally no statutory fees associated with the submission of an appeal, there are costs associated with seeking professional help – and then there is the time element, so careful consideration needs to be given before embarking on the appeal route.

Paul Uttley | FORM Design Group Planning Director
A planning appeal should normally be seen as a last resort. It may be that tweaking the design is all that’s needed to get your application approved or provide further information.

Deciding Whether to launch a Planning Appeal 

When a local authority refuses planning permission or imposes certain conditions, you must be given a written explanation of their decision.  Enforcement action must also specify the reasons.  Whilst your initial reaction may be anger or frustration, you need to examine the points being made in ‘the cold light of day’.  Before taking on the costs of an appeal, it’s wise to seek clear advice from an experienced professional and weigh up the prospects of successfully appealing the decision.

On average only about one appeal in three is successful, according to the Planning Inspectorate’s records. This rate has remained broadly constant over many years.

A planning appeal should normally be seen as a last resort. It may be that tweaking the design is all that’s needed to get your application approved or provide further information. Again, an experienced Planning Consultant will be able to help, and it’s a good idea to choose one where there is architectural design expertise in the same practice.

Try Talking First

It may always be worth speaking to the local planning authority to fully understand their reasoning. If you do not agree with their reasons and are not prepared to alter your proposals to the extent they are asking, a planning appeal would be the only option for you.

The deadline for appealing a planning decision is 12 weeks from the date of the decision notice for a householder application, but six months from the date of decision for a full planning application by a developer or landowner.

There’s a different deadline if it’s an enforcement notice. This is where the work has been carried out already without planning consent. In this case, you must appeal within 28 days.

One of the main issues is time.  The appeal process is not quick and the decision is not guaranteed in any planning case.  This could lead to a long and protracted linear process.

Consider an Alternative Planning Proposal

It is always worth considering putting in an alternative proposal whilst at the same time appealing the current proposal.  This opens up your options and will not affect or have any influence on the appealed scheme.  Planning Inspectors are duty-bound to consider the merits of the application/appeal which is put to them.

As you can see there are many factors which need to be considered, and within a limited time frame.  At FORM we will go through all of these factors with you and provide clear and concise advice on the way to go forward.