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What is the appeal process?

There are three procedures that an appeal can follow, written representations, a hearing or an inquiry. In addition to this there are also special procedures for householder appeals and what are called “minor commercial appeals”.


Only the person who made the application can appeal. If you did not apply, you can comment on an appeal instead.


Most appeals are dealt with by written representations where the parties exchange statements.


An informal hearing is likely to be suited to more complicated cases which require detailed discussion about the merits of a proposal or where questions need to be asked to establish the facts. The hearing is an inquisitorial process led by the Inspector who identifies the issues for discussion based on the evidence received and any representations made.

A public inquiry is more akin to a court of law with parties frequently being represented by lawyers and cross-examination of witnesses takes place. This procedure is generally reserved for the most controversial or complex cases, ones where there are legal issues or ones, such as enforcement appeals, where evidence needs to be given on oath. The appellant and planning authority are allowed to decide which procedure they would like, but ultimately the Planning Inspectorate decides which will be used.


Householder appeals relate to extensions to houses, the erection of outbuildings, new vehicular accesses to houses and similar proposals. Minor commercial appeals are broadly for proposals to alter without enlarging the ground floor of premises in the A1 to A5 use classes, i.e. shops and similar uses, for example, an application for a new shopfront. For these appeals the appellant has to provide their full case when they lodge the appeal – they cannot supply further evidence later – and the planning authority submits a copy of their file on the application.


Further information on planning appeals can be accessed from the Planning Inspectorate’s Planning Appeals website. On this page you will find the guidance and information you need to make a planning appeal including a procedural guide to the appeal process.

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