Planning Appeals: What to do after your Planning Application has been refused?

Has your planning application been refused, and you don’t know what to do next? Read More to find out!

Has your planning application been refused, and you need help figuring out what to do next?

We regularly have people contact us who have received a refusal on their planning application and need help figuring out what to do next. As a general rule, there are three options.

Do Nothing

Whilst it might sound obvious, the first option is to do nothing. It may be that the Council was right to refuse the application and that nothing can be done to make the scheme acceptable in planning terms. Once we have reviewed the particulars of a case, we will always give honest advice and say if we agree with the Council’s assessment.

Review The Reasons for Planning Refusal

The second option is to review the reason(s) for refusal, see if there are any changes to the design or layout, and supply additional information within a revised application that seeks to address the reason(s) for refusal. This review could involve re-engaging with the local planning authority as part of a pre-application process. We can advise you on whether or not it is worth progressing with a revised scheme once we’ve reviewed the case. Resubmitting a modified version of your refused application could be a much quicker route to getting consent. You can also resubmit a slightly different scheme within 12 months of a refusal at no cost (a ‘free go’), providing the development is of the same character or description.

Submit an Appeal

The third option is to submit an appeal, but appeals should only be made where there are substantial grounds to contest the reason(s) for refusal.

Generally, planning appeals can be made within six months of the date of the decision notice. However, the timescale for submitting a householder appeal is 12 weeks, and there are other time limits for different types of applications too. Therefore, it is always best to check with a planning consultant as soon as you have received your decision notice to know how long you’ve got to appeal.

When you submit an appeal, it goes straight to the Planning Inspectorate, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Communities and Local Government. There is no fee for submitting an appeal, nor are there any statutory timeframes for determining them.

There are three different ways a planning appeal can be determined; a brief overview of each is provided below.

Written Representations Appeal

The first and most common procedure is a written representations appeal, where all submissions are made in writing. In October 2022, 737 written representation appeals were decided in England and took, on average, 35 weeks to determine. As part of the written representations procedure, an Inspector will usually (not always) conduct a site visit and no discussion surrounding the merits of the case can be discussed at this meeting.

Public Hearing

The second type of appeal is a public hearing. Hearings are usually for more complex cases and/or where a proposal resulted in a certain amount of public interest. They are typically held in a local venue, where statutory parties and interested people can attend and essentially allow the Planning Inspector to ask questions on any written evidence or representations that have been received as part of the appeal. Advocates (usually a planning barrister) may participate, but this is not essential. In October 2022, a total of 42 hearings were determined, which took, on average, 39 weeks to assess.

Public Inquiry

The third and least standard procedure is a public inquiry, where the Planning Inspector formally tests evidence, usually through questioning of expert witnesses by advocates. Inquiries only tend to occur where the case is very complex and/or has attracted a significant amount of public attention. They are also open to anyone from the public, and proceedings can take a number of days. There were 23 public inquiries in October 2022 which took, on average, 29 weeks to determine.

When submitting an appeal, you must state which procedure you think is appropriate and why, though the Planning Inspectorate ultimately decides which procedure will take place.

If your planning application is refused and you are unsure how to proceed, don’t hesitate to contact us today. We’d be happy to do an initial desk-based review of your case at no charge and advise on the best way forward.

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