Most decisions of Local Planning Authorities carry a right of appeal to an independent inspector. Only the applicant has the right of appeal, although objectors usually have the opportunity of making their views known.
As well as appeals against the refusal or non-determination of applications for planning permission there is a right of appeal against the imposition of, or refusal to remove, conditions. There are also rights of appeal against the refusal of a Certificate of Lawful Development, and in enforcement cases.
If you wish to make an appeal you should seek advice immediately as there are strict time limits for making appeals.
There is a streamlined scheme for appeals relating to householder applications such as extensions, outbuildings, fences, walls and alterations to the external appearance of a house.
These appeals have to be made within a strict time limit and your appeal form has to include your full statement of case. It is therefore important that you seek advice without delay.
If an appeal proceeds under this scheme, third parties (such as objectors) will not have an opportunity to make further representations. It is therefore important that they make their views known as soon as they are aware a planning application has been made.
Usually householder appeals will proceed by way of the written representations procedure.
Should I appeal?
Your decision to appeal should be properly considered and not taken lightly. Appeals can be expensive and you may be ordered to pay the Council’s costs.
I will be happy to advise you on your prospects of success at appeal, and which procedure would be the most suitable. Be assured that if I don’t think an appeal will succeed I will tell you so, and initial advice is free of charge.
If you do appeal I will prepare any necessary documentation and supporting statements. Well structured and informative documentation prepared by an experienced professional adviser will significanlty improve your chance of success at appeal.
I will also be happy to represent you at an informal hearing or public inquiry.
As an alternative to appealing, it may be possible to negotiate revisions to your proposal which would overcome the Council’s objections. I would be happy to negotiate with the Council on your behalf.
This is the most common and quickest form of appeal and involves you and the Council submitting written statements of your case.
Where you want your case put face-to-face to the inspector you can request the informal hearing route. The hearing takes the form of a round table discussion between all the parties (including objectors), but the inspector will not allow the parties to question (cross-examine) each other.
This is the most formal process and may appear rather like a court of law. The inspector will hear evidence presented orally and in writing, including evidence from objectors. The witnesses can be questioned by the other parties and may be required to give their evidence on oath.
Choice of Procedure
The written representations procedure is the quickest and cheapest, but may not be suitable where factual evidence needs to be tested by questioning of witnesses. For this reason it is not unusual for the Planning Inspectorate to decide that enforcement cases or appeals against the refusal of a Certificate of Existing Lawful Use or Development should be dealt with by Public Inquiry.
The public inquiry route is the most expensive and most lengthy. Whether a case should proceed by way of public inquiry is a matter for the Planning Inspectorate.
The inspector determining an appeal has a wide discretion to award costs. If you lose you appeal it does not follow that you will have to pay the Council’s costs; equally if you win it does not follow that the Council will have to pay yours!
The starting point is that each party will have to pay their own costs. It is only if there has been “unreasonable” behaviour that a party to an appeal will be ordered to pay another party’s costs.