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Appeals process

If your local authority refuses to grant planning permission for a development, the person who submitted the application can appeal to a Planning Inspector. The Inspector, who is independent of the local authority and the applicant, will then look again at the case, and can either agree with or overturn the local council's decision.

The right to appeal

A developer who is refused planning permission, or who finds the conditions attached to the permission unacceptable, has the right to appeal to the Secretary of State for planning.

  • Appeals are heard by independent inspectors from the Planning Inspectorate, an agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government.
  • Inspectors are appointed by the Secretary of State.

When this happens, the local authority is always informed. If you have been involved at the application stage, the authority will notify you, too.

If you haven't been involved up to this point, you can ask your council's chief planning officer to let you know if a planning decision that concerns you is being appealed against.

There is no third party right of appeal against planning decisions. You can, however, request that the Secretary of State 'calls in' a planning application for a public inquiry when a major case that may have more than local significance is involved. You must do this before a formal decision notice of planning permission is issued.

An appeal can be started once

  • The local authority either takes a decision on a planning application that the developer finds unacceptable
  • or hasn't taken a decision within eight weeks if the application is a minor one, or thirteen weeks if it is a major one
  • or serves an Enforcement Notice on development it believes has flouted planning controls

The developer must then appeal to the Secretary of State within three months, who then decides a method of appeal. All interested parties organise their evidence and if the case is significant enough, a public inquiry takes place. The inspector will make a formal site visit, and then make a decision on the appeal.