Sutherland Property & Legal Services

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Planning appeals

When a Local Authority makes a determination, whether on a planning application or in relation to any decisions about conditions or Certificates of Lawfulness and that decision is not one with which you agree, you have the right of appeal. This means that you take the determination of the application out of the hands of the Local Authority and it is determined in full by the national body known as The Planning Inspectorate

We have a wealth of experience in assessing and advising clients on the likelihood of success at appeal, and of maximising the chances of success. There are four forms of appeal we can help you with

1. The householder appeals process

This process was introduced in order to speed up appeals for those matters relating to householder applications only. Where an individual has made an application in relation to their home such as for an extension or to erect a garage for example, and it becomes necessary for them to appeal the determination the householder appeals process offers a quick and cheap alternative to the more formal planning appeal processes. However, there are some strict statutory timescales to meet and therefore, it you have received a refusal of your householder application, please contact us for further advice in relation to how to make your appeal.

2. An appeal by way of written representations

The written representations appeal is suitable for over 80% of appeal matters. It covers all types of planning applications but is particularly useful in those applications where the matters are clear between the parties as to the dispute or disagreement in relation to whether the scheme should be approved. In submitting a written representations appeal we prepare the relevant form and the statement of appeal and the Local Planning Authority then provide their response. The Appellant has a further right of comment on that and the documents are then all forwarded to a Planning Inspector for determination. The Inspectorate will carry out a site visit and shortly thereafter a written decision will be issued. The written representations procedure is the quickest and cheapest of the appeal options and should be used unless there are specific concerns in relation to more complex matters arising from the appeal.

3. Hearings

A hearing is where the Planning Inspector invites the parties (the person appealing and the Local Authority) and any other interested third parties to attend a round table discussion. It is supposed to be an informal procedure but often specialists and experts are on hand and without representation it can be difficult to negotiate the complexity of planning law and policy being discussed. SPLS are fully conversant and experienced in making representations on behalf of our clients. The Inspector will lead the discussion and ask questions of the parties. They will also carry out an accompanied site visit on the day and issue a written decision (usually within 6 weeks of the site visit).

4. An Inquiry

An Inquiry is reserved for the most serious of matters and is often used by large scale developers when it is necessary to test the Local Authority case in detail. One of the particular benefits of an Inquiry is that you must give evidence under oath and therefore if there is any question as to the truth of the matters being tested, an Inquiry is the appropriate medium for your appeal. An Inquiry can be expensive and on most occasions both appellants and the Local Authority will instruct Solicitors, and on occasion Barristers, to represent them in the Inquiry procedure. SPLS have the skills and experience of handling Inquiries in-house saving the client the expense of employing and Advocate.

Special Circumstances

It should be noted that due to the legal evidential requirements of Certificate of Lawfulness applications, where these are refused they are generally taken to Inquiry because evidence must be taken under oath. On occasion we are able to persuade the Inspectorate that these do not need to be heard by way of Inquiry due to the expense, and the matters agreed between the parties but should you have submitted a Certificate of Lawfulness that has been unsuccessful you are of course at risk of immediate enforcement action and therefore, we would advise taking immediate action to protect your position.

Whichever appeal route is followed; we manage the entire appeal process to include:

  • preparation of all necessary documentation including planning evidence and statements of common ground.
  • commissioning and submission of all other supporting evidence.
  • preparation and management of rebuttal statements as and where appropriate.
  • applications for costs where appropriate.
  • conduct of the appeal process including the site visit, Inspector’s questions and analysis and advice on the decision when issued.

For specific advice regarding your appeal matter call us today.

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