My Planning Application has been refused, what can I do?

On behalf of Attwaters Jameson Hill posted in Planning Law on Thursday, August 24th, 2017

It can come as a nasty blow to hear that your Planning Application has been refused, and you’ll be left wondering what your options are. Your local planning authority must provide reasons in writing as to why your application was turned down, so it’s worth going through these thoroughly to get a good grasp of what lies behind the decision.

If you aren’t clear why permission was refused, or want to clarify your position, then it’s worth getting in contact with your designated planning officer to discuss the matter. They should be able to tell you if there are modifications that you could make to your proposals that would make it acceptable to the planning department. You may be able to submit another application free of charge within 12 months of the decision being taken on your first application.

However, if your proposal was contrary to local planning policy, then it is unlikely that you will be able to make modifications that will prove acceptable to the planning department.

Making an appeal

You could think about making an appeal to the Secretary of State. You have the right to appeal if you feel that your application has been unreasonably refused, had conditions placed upon its approval that you disagree with, or your application has not been decided within the prescribed timescale. You can also appeal if the details of your scheme are not approved following the grant of outline planning permission.

Getting the refusal notice properly assessed by a planning professional will clarify if there are any grounds for appeal and the strength of those grounds. The appeal process takes the matter out of the hands of your local authority and means that it will be dealt with by a Planning Inspector who will be appointed to deal with your case. On appeal, that Inspector will be responsible for taking the ultimate decision as to whether to uphold the local council’s refusal or grant planning permission.

There are three types of appeal procedure – written representations, informal hearings and public inquiries.

Written representations

Usually the quickest and simplest method. Here, both sides make their case in writing and the Planning Inspector makes an adjudication, having visited the site and considered written statements.

Informal hearing

Here, the Planning Inspector will convene a meeting to discuss the issues with the involved parties. This format is often used if there is a high level of public interest in the planning proposal.

Public Inquiry

In a very small number of cases where there are complex issues or expert witnesses are required, then a Public Enquiry will be called. The witnesses for each side will be called and cross examined by the opposing parties.

Once the Planning Inspector has made his decision, there is no further right of appeal on the merits of the decision. If you consider the decision to be legally flawed, you can appeal to the High Court.

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