Planning Appeals 

Appeals against the refusal of planning permission

Where the local planning authority refuses planning permission, or grants permission subject to conditions, the applicant may submit planning appeal against this decision to the Planning Inspectorate. This is set out in the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 section 78. 

An appeal must be submitted within six months of the date on the decision notice issued by your local planning authority.  

If you are appealing against a refusal of a householder planning application, you must appeal within 12 weeks of the date on the decision notice issued by your local planning authority. 

Appeals against the non-determination of a planning application

If the local planning authority failed to make a decision within eight weeks (13 weeks or 16 weeks for more complex applications), and you have not agreed to allow an extension of time, you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate at any time up to six months starting from the date on which decision would have been due. 

How will the appeal be determined?

Planning appeals are administered by the Planning Inspectorate, an executive agency set up by the Department for Communities and Local Government. Therefore, you can be assured that they are dealt with by a body which is independent of the local planning authority. 

Appeals to the Planning inspectorate are expected to be straightforward, and the system works through a centralised online planning portal, designed to be accessible to all.  

However, rather than trying to navigate the system themselves, some people might prefer to instruct a reputable planning agent or consultant to advise them or even to submit an application on their behalf. Legal advice will not always be required.

Once the Planning Inspectorate have received an appeal and ensured that it is valid, they will consider the best procedure for dealing with it.

There are three procedures:

  • written representations procedure – each side submits case in writing and there is no oral hearing; 
  • hearings – hearings are a round table discussion led by the Inspector;
  • inquiries – this is the most formal of the procedures, reserved for the most complicated cases, and the largest developments. 

Do I need a planning solicitor to appeal against the refusal of planning permission, or against the non-determination of a planning application?

The answer to this question is likely to depend on what matters you think the Planning Inspector should take into account when making a decision.   

Where there is set to be a hearing or an inquiry, the issues that the Planning Inspector will need to determine may be complex. You may want to consider in these circumstances whether legal advice might be useful.

A planning solicitor can make a valuable contribution where there is a complicated planning history, possibly involving previous litigation. In other cases, too, the Planning Inspector may need to take into account significant legislation or case law, and especially any changes to legislation and any new policies or draft policies which have emerged since the refusal or deemed refusal of planning permission (where the local planning authority failed to take a decision).  

Contact FGLP if you are considering a planning appeal, and would appreciate legal advice.