The 5 stages of planning appeals

Knowledge and advice from our very own Legal Beagle,

In this article, we are going to take you through the 5 key stages of planning appeals.

We are going to give you a breakdown of two appeals which have been unsuccessful due to the failure to comply with the Local Plans. Urbanissta has a wealth of knowledge and experience in this field and can offer you expert advice.

This topic is one that we cover on a regular basis. There are ongoing changes in planning appeals and we want to keep you in the know. Watch this space!

Planning appeals

If an application for planning permission is refused by the Local Authority or it is granted with conditions, an appeal can be lodged to the Secretary of State in order to challenge the decision made. Appeals are not always successful and the merits of the case need to be fully considered before an appeal is lodged.

1. When you can appeal

Your local planning authority makes decisions on planning applications. You can appeal for the following reasons:

  1. You disagree with it.
  2. The decision wasn’t made within 8 weeks. However, it is 13 weeks for a major development, such as 10 or more dwellings or a building of more than 1,000 square metres and 16 weeks for EiA development (known as the statutory period).

Key facts:

  • There’s a different process to appeal a householder planning decision for a smaller project like an extension, conservatory or loft conversion
  • There’s no fee for appealing
  • Only the person who made the application can appeal. If you didn’t apply, you can comment on an appeal instead
  • If you disagree with a decision, you must appeal within 6 months of the date on the decision notice from your local planning authority
  • If they didn’t make a decision within the statutory period, you can appeal up to 6 months after the decision was due
  • The deadline’s earlier if you’ve received an enforcement notice– you must appeal within 28 days of the notice
  • Once your appeal has been validated, you’ll normally get a decision within 11 – 44 weeks (written representations – inquiry)

Find out the latest timescales here:

2. How to appeal

You need to make your appeal to the Planning Inspectorate and if you want to appeal more than one decision you must make a separate appeal for each. You need to send a copy of your appeal, including all the supporting documents, to your local planning authority. The Planning Inspectorate will tell the correct procedure.

These are the documents you must provide:

  • A copy of your original application
  • A copy of the site ownership certificate
  • A copy of the local planning authority’s decision notice – if they didn’t make a decision, send a copy of the letter acknowledging your application
  • A map of the surrounding area
  • Copies of all plans, drawings and documents you sent to the local planning authority
  • Any other documents that directly support your appeal, e.g your full statement of case

You can upload these documents when you appeal online or post them to the Planning Inspectorate.

3. Comment on an appeal

Anyone can comment on a planning appeal and you can find the case on the appeals casework portal. The deadline for comments is 5 weeks after the start date of the appeal, or 6 weeks after the date on the local planning authority’s enforcement notice. Your local planning authority must tell anyone who has commented on the original application (‘interested parties’) that there’s an appeal. They have to do this within a week of the appeal being validated by the Planning Inspectorate.

4. After you appeal

The Planning Inspectorate will check your appeal to make sure it’s valid. They will explain to you what happens next and how long your appeal may take. The Planning Inspectorate will then consider your appeal. You’ll normally get a decision within 11-44 weeks, but it can take longer.

If anyone behaves unreasonably

  • You can apply for an ‘award of costs’if anyone involved in your appeal has cost you money by behaving unreasonably, eg missing deadlines. You can have costs awarded against you too
  • You can complain about how the Planning Inspectorate handled your appeal. There’s no time limit for complaints

5. If you disagree with the appeal decision

You can challenge the decision in the High Court if you think the Planning Inspectorate made a legal mistake. If you are unsure, get advice from a lawyer.

Find out more information here

Print the entire guide here:

Planning appeal case studies

We have decided to give you a breakdown of a couple of appeals which have been unsuccessful due to the failure to comply with the Local Plans.

Gladman appeal fails as Secretary of State backs neighbourhood plan.
Appeal: 26.10.16


Gladman Developments made an application the development of up to 100 dwellings, with associated open space and community orchard in Longworth Lane, Bartestree, Herefordshire.

The Secretary of State considered the main issues to be:

  • The effect on the settings of designated heritage assets and on non-designated heritage assets
  • The effect on the character and appearance of the surrounding area
  • The effect on areas of ecological or nature conservation interest
  • The weight to be given to policies for the supply of housing


It was agreed that the Council was unable to demonstrate a 5 year supply of land for housing, however the Secretary of State (“SoS”) was satisfied that poor delivery of housing is the root cause of the shortfall but this could be addressed through existing policies (IR419). The SoS considered that the Council were working towards resolving the difficulties surrounding the delivery of sustainable urban extensions and thus, considered that the effects of the heritage far outweighed the housing supply demand. Although Policies SS2, SS3, RA1, RA2 and RA3 were considered to be outdated they still carried a substantial degree of weight in the Appeal.

It was held that the appeal scheme was not in accordance with Policies LD1 to LD4, SD1, SS1, SS6, RA1 and RA2. Furthermore, it was considered that pursuant to NPPF, development should be plan led and the proposed development was not in compliance with the neighbourhood plan and thus could not be considered sustainable development.

A copy of the decision can be downloaded here.

Appeal dismissed as the proposed development was considered to affect the character of the area


The proposed development consisted of the construction of a new car park for Jefferson Hotel.


  • Would the proposed development preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Central Barrow Conservation Area (the CA)


It was held that the proposal would fail to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the CA. The site is located just outside the CA, however given the scale of the fencing and its modern character, it was considered to be an uncharacteristic intrusion and therefore an unsympathetic addition to the CA. When weighed against the public benefits of the proposal, it was considered that the harm that would be caused to the CA would outweigh the benefits. As such, it was held that the proposed development failed to comply with Policy D15 of the Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council Local Plan Review 2001 which intends to preserve or enhance the character and appearance of conservation areas.

An interesting read:

The Royal Town Planning Institute (read more here)

The examination of local planning (read more here)

Relevant links:

Make your appeal (read more here)

Find a case (read more here)

Taking part in an appeal (read more here)

Apply for an award of costs

Complaints procedure (read more here)

Local Planning Authority (read more here)

Appeal a house holder planning decision (read more here)

Enforcement notice (read more here)

Validation (read more here)

The High Court (read more here)

Get advice from a lawyer (read more here)

Planning in Scotland (read more here)

Planning in Wales (read more here)

Planning in Northern Ireland (read more here)

Do you have a question about appeal planning decisions? Contact our Legal Beagle for advice here.

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