The applicant has up to six months to lodge an appeal against a decision to refuse their planning application.
This right of appeal is heard by the Planning Inspectorate through a public inquiry, a hearing or through written representations (the latter being the most common method).
The local authority has a duty to publicise planning appeals, and those members of the public with an interest (often known as third parties) have a right to either appear at the hearing or submit written representations.
The decision about whether to hear a case in public or through written form is made by the Planning Inspectorate, taking into account the views of the applicant and the local authority.
Third parties themselves have no right to appeal on the approval of a planning application. The legal challenge In some limited cases third parties can use the courts to challenge planning decisions. This is through the process of judicial review where the courts can examine if a procedural error has taken place in the process of making a decision. Some individuals and communities have used judicial review to overturn unfair decisions but this route is potentially costly and complex.
The local government ombudsman Third parties can complain about the process of a planning decision to the local government ombudsman. This body has the power to investigate decisions and to deliver judgments of maladministration against local authorities who have not done their job properly. However the ombudsman cannot overturn a planning decision.
Every Planning Application, Appeal or Public Inquiry is unique and must be assessed on its merits. Past cases do however provide planning guidance to all those interested in protecting or improving our natural or built environment. Here are examples of important resent Planning Appeal and Public Inquiry Decisions which have significantly protected or enhanced the landscapes and countryside in the Devonshire South Hams: