The Planning Appeal Process

Lodging a Planning Appeal is not something to be undertaken lightly. Head of Planning at FORM Design Group, Paul Uttley MSc (Hons) DipTP MRTPI explains what’s involved in the Planning Appeal Process.

Having hopefully taken good professional advice, you have concluded that a planning appeal is necessary.

Here’s a brief overview of what’s involved in the process.

Who Determines Planning Appeals?

Planning Appeals are determined by The Planning Inspectorate – a government agency acting on behalf of the Secretary of State that is independent of local councils.

Appeals can normally only be submitted by the applicant. In the case of an appeal against an enforcement notice, however, the appeal can be submitted by the person or people who own, rent or lawfully occupy the property or land. The party who submits the appeal is known as the appellant.

Are There Different Types of Planning Appeal?

As well as different types of appeals, there are also different procedures for planning appeals:

  • Written representation
  • Informal hearing
  • Public inquiry
Paul Uttley | FORM Design Group Planning Director
The requirements and details of the planning appeal process are detailed on the GOV.UK website. It is a process that you can undertake yourself, but we would always recommend that you appoint a planning consultant to undertake this process.

How Long Does A Planning Appeal Usually Take?

Depending upon the type of planning appeal, the timeline and process can differ. All the relevant information can be found on the planning portal website and your planning consultant will be aware and advise accordingly.

Typically, a planning appeal will take between 27 – 44 weeks, although they can take much longer – even up to a year. The timeframe will depend of the type of appeal and the complexity of the issues and development.

What Form Does a Planning Appeal Take

Depending on the nature of the appeal, you may be involved in one of the following:

Written Representations: With this procedure the Planning Inspectorate will determine the appeal purely on the basis of the exchange of evidence. The advantage is that the process is cheaper and often quicker. However, the disadvantage is that you are unable to argue the case in front of the Inspector.

Informal Hearing: The initial procedures are similar to written representations; however, this is followed by an Informal Hearing, which normally lasts a day and provides the opportunity to argue the case in front of the Inspector.

Full Public Inquiry: This is a very formal procedure and is normally reserved for major schemes or those that involve detailed matters of law. However, it should be noted that widespread opposition or complex policy issues could push any appeal into this arena.

It should be noted though that the final decision as to the procedure to be adopted is up to the Planning Inspectorate themselves.  The reality is that the majority of appeals are dealt with through Written Representations.

For the most common type of appeal, a planning appeal the Planning Inspectorate needs to be in receipt of the appeal within six months of the decision date.  For householder appeals, the timescale is 12 weeks,

Who’s Involved in a Planning Appeal?

The planning appeal process will involve a number of other parties including the local Planning Authority, individuals who have an interest in the development/application including the neighbours and local planning groups. All of these separate parties can provide written comment in relation to the appeal.

Once all the relevant information is gathered and comments received the planning inspector will review and consider all the evidence and visit the site. If the planning appeal process is via a hearing or inquiry then all attending parties will discuss. The final decision is provided in writing.

Where Do You Get More Information on Planning Appeals?

The requirements and details of the planning appeal process are detailed on the GOV.UK website.  It is a process that you can undertake yourself, but we would always recommend that you appoint a planning consultant to undertake this process.

FORM Design Group works in partnership with developers and land & property owners in Surrey and south-east England to help them maximise the value of their assets through Chartered Architecture, Chartered Town Planning and Structural Engineering advice and services.

Get in touch with us today to find out how we can save you time and stress when it comes to planning.