Policy summary - Department acts on plan to streamline appeals process

Policy: Technical Review of Planning Appeal Procedures

Issued by Department for Communities and Local Government

Issue date 3 September 2013

Background: The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has implemented a number of measures intended to make the planning appeals process in England faster and more transparent, offering consistency and certainty over decision-making timescales. The proposals were subject to consultation from 1 November to 13 December 2012 and the government response was published on 3 September. Most were implemented via a series of statutory instruments which came into force on 1 October.

Key points: Under the measures, appellants must submit their full case statement at the start of the appeal process, after which local planning authorities must notify interested parties within one week. Appellants still have opportunities to respond to representations later in the process, and submission of detailed proofs is still required four weeks before an inquiry.

The streamlining measures also require appellants to submit a draft statement of common ground (SCG) outlining matters not in dispute, if they consider the case should be decided through a hearing or inquiry. An updated SCG, jointly agreed with the local authority, has to be submitted to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) within five weeks of the appeal process beginning. SCGs must now be produced for hearings.

The 2012 consultation proposed bringing forward target dates to begin hearings within ten weeks and inquiries within 16 weeks of the appeal date, a saving of two and four weeks respectively on present timescales. Since August, PINS has adopted these targets for cases with an expected duration of up to three days "unless such a date is considered impracticable". A bespoke timescale is offered for longer cases.

PINS has now introduced a specialist commercial appeals service matching its established householder appeals service, under which inspectors base their decisions on representations made at the application stage. No size threshold has been identified for schemes qualifying for the service, but the DCLG has confirmed that it will cover advertisement consents and shopfront appeals.

The measures, which apply to appeals made against council decisions issued since 1 October, are accompanied by revised DCLG guidance on the appeals system and revised procedural guidance and determination criteria issued by PINS. The DCLG says simplified and streamlined guidance on appeals is to be incorporated into its online planning practice guidance resource.

In its response, the DCLG confirmed that it has no plans to review the appeals costs regime. In addition, it said it would be "inappropriate" to introduce a right of appeal for objectors and other third parties to challenge local authority grants of permission.

To read the response, go to PlanningResource.co.uk/reference-section.


Summary of Responses to Consultation on Proposed Changes to Guidance Documents for the Major Infrastructure Planning Regime

Issued by Department for Communities and Local Government. Issue date: 14 October 2013.

Revised Draft Planning Policy Statement 15: Planning and Flood Risk

Issued by Northern Ireland Department of the Environment. Issue date: 10 October 2013. Closing date: 10 January 2014.

Technical Advice Note 20: Planning and the Welsh Language

Issued by Welsh Government.

Issue date: 9 October 2013.

Obtaining Information about Interests in Land - Planning Act 2008

Issued by Planning Inspectorate. Issue date: October 2013.

View these documents at PlanningResource.co.uk/reference-section.

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