The planning appeals process

The planning appeals process

Contents

When can you appeal?

If you seek consent or permission to carry out particular work on your property (such as building an extension) and your application:

  • isn't decided within a set period; or
  • the local authority refuses your application or grants it on conditions you disagree with;

you usually have a right of appeal.

You can also appeal if the local planning authority (LPA) has served you with an Enforcement Notice.

The appeal will be made through one of the following, depending on the location of the property:

  • In England and Wales, to the Planning Inspectorate which reports to the First Secretary of State in England and the National Assembly for Wales, in Wales.
  • In Northern Ireland, the Planning Appeals Commission

Online appeals in England and Wales

The Planning Inspectorate has a fast-track 'householder' planning appeals track. A 'householder' appeal, which is peculiar to England and Wales, is against the refusal of planning permission for development attached to a residential property or within its boundary. These kinds of appeals are dealt with as planning appeals in Northern Ireland. Householder appeals do not apply to:

  • A change of use
  • The erection of a dwelling
  • Appeals against non-determination
  • Appeals against conditions attached to a planning permission

These online services, which are only available in England and Wales, give people wider and easier access to the planning system and allow people to track the progress of cases.

Appeals process

Only the applicant for consent or permission or the person named on an enforcement notice can make an appeal. There is no right of appeal for interested people or organisations (known as 'third parties') in England and Wales or Northern Ireland.

While the Planning Inspectorate prefers the online appeals, you can submit appeals in writing. In Northern Ireland, appeals must be submitted in writing, but the forms are available on the internet. In England and Wales appeals are normally decided by Planning Inspectors, but in cases where they make a report to the Secretary of State or the National Assembly for Wales, the appeal is decided by the Secretary of State or the National Assembly. In Northern Ireland appeals are decided by commissioners who are appointed by the First and Deputy First Minister following open public competition.

Where the Inspector is deciding the case, the Case Officer will send the decision to you. Where the Inspector is not making the decision, the report will be sent to the officials acting for the Secretary of State or National Assembly, and they will let you know the decision.

In Northern Ireland, you can download the forms for your appeal from the Planning Appeals Commission's website. Your decision will ultimately be received from the Planning Appeals Commission.

When should I submit my appeal?

Your appeal and essential supporting documents must reach the Planning Inspectorate or the Planning Appeals Commission:

  • Within 6 months of the date shown on the local planning authority's (LPA) decision notice
  • Within the period specified on your enforcement notice which must provide a minimum of 28 days from when it was served on you or in Northern Ireland at any time before the enforcement notice is due to take effect
  • For appeals where the LPA has failed to determine your application, within 6 months of the date by which the LPA should have decided the application

Householder appeals must reach the Planning Inspectorate or the Planning Appeals Commission within 12 weeks or six months of the date shown on the local planning authority's decision notice.

If the Planning Inspectorate or Planning Appeals Commission does not receive your appeal and documents within the appropriate time limits, it will not accept your appeal.

You should only appeal when you can no longer negotiate with your LPA. You should enter into discussion with your LPA about any proposed appeal as soon as possible.

Types of appeals

England and Wales

There are four different types of appeals which you can make to the Planning Inspectorate (five if you include householder appeals as a separate category). Each of these has its own form and dedicated online portal. The appeal categories below link to separate sections on each appeal type respectively:

Making a planning appeal

Making an enforcement appeal

Making an LDC appeal

Making an advertising appeal

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland the following types of appeal to the Planning Appeals Commission are available and the forms can be obtained on the Planning Appeals Commission's website:

  • Advertising appeal
  • Alternative development appeal
  • Enforcement notice appeal
  • Environmental appeal
  • Lawful development appeal
  • Listed building appeal
  • Planning appeal
  • Roads appeal
  • Submission notice
  • Water appeal

Who pays?

You and the LPA normally have to meet your own appeal expenses, whether the Planning Inspectorate or the Planning Appeals Commission decide it by the written procedure, a hearing or an inquiry.

Whichever procedure the appeal is decided by, you can ask the Secretary of State or the Planning Inspectorate in England & Wales or the Planning Appeals Commission in Northern Ireland to order the LPA to pay all or some of your costs. The LPA can also ask you to pay all or some of their appeal costs.

Where an inquiry or hearing is held, any costs application should be made to the Inspector in England & Wales or Planning Appeals Commission in Northern Ireland. If your appeal is by written representations, any costs application should be made to the Planning Inspectorate in writing.

Costs will only be awarded against a party on grounds of 'unreasonable' behaviour resulting in unnecessary or wasted expense.

The Planning Inspectorate or the Planning Appeals Commission (as applicable) will send you their separate guide on awards of costs.

Further information

England & Wales

If you are looking for more information, you should visit the Planning Portal website. The Planning Portal is the government's online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales. Use this site to learn about planning and building regulations, apply for planning permission and building regulations consent, find out about development near you, and appeal against a decision and research government policy.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland you should visit building control for building control: you should visit the planning service website or the Planning Appeals Commission's website for planning appeals.