Planning appeals

LJM Planning & Development Consultants provide planning consultancy and expert witness for planning appeals in Northern Ireland and Ireland. Here we tell you about making a planning appeal in the two jurisdictions and what to be aware of when considering making a planning appeal.

Appeals in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, a refusal of planning permission or conditional planning permission can be appealed within 4 months of the date of notice of the decision. This is a strict time frame. Appeals can also be made in the case of failure of the local authority to give a decision on the application within the time allowed by legislation. The appeal can be submitted online or in writing by post to the Planning Appeals Commission and must be accompanied by the completed planning appeal form with appropriate certificate of ownership and a fee of £126 (as of Dec 2016). 

There are two parties to a planning appeal, the applicant who is now the appellant, and the planning authority (usually the local Council). Third parties, those who made an observation on a planning application, will be notified of the appeal by the Planning Appeals Commission and invited to participate.  There is no third-party right of appeal in Northern Ireland.

Appellants can request the appeal be determined by a formal hearing, an informal hearing or written representations with or without an accompanied site visit. Appeals are usually dealt with by a single commissioner.

Whatever determination procedure is followed, Statements of Case are requested from all participants in the appeal. There is an opportunity to respond to matters raised in the Statements of Case in written rebuttals or at the appeal hearing at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Once the written procedure is complete or the appeal is heard, the Commissioner issues a decision report setting out the reasoning for allowing or dismissing the appeal, and any conditions on a permission if the appeal is allowed.

As an example, according to the Planning Appeals Commission 2015/2016 Annual Report, the target time frame for making a decision on 80% of appeals through written representations with accompanied site visit is 28 weeks.  Only 53% of appeals were decided within the specified periods. Median times for appeal decisions have increased to 29 weeks

Appeals in Ireland

In Ireland, an appeal can be made within 4 weeks of a notification of a decision by the planning authority. This is a strict time frame. Appeals can also be made by third parties who have made a valid observation on the application and must provide proof of such at the time of making the appeal. 

There’s a handy calendar on the home page of An Bord Pleanála’s website to assist in determining the closing date for an appeal. 

Appeals are made to An Bord Pleanála by post only at present. There are plans for submission of appeals online in the future. The appeal must be accompanied by a statement of grounds of appeal along with the fee which can range from €220 to €9,000 depending on the type of development proposed. In the case of appeals made by third parties, the applicant is given an opportunity to respond in a statement.

The appeal is assigned to an Inspector who issues a report to the Board. It is the Board who makes the decision setting out its reasoning for allowing or dismissing the appeal, and any conditions on a permission if the appeal is allowed.

According to the Board’s Guide to Making a Planning Appeal, it is a statutory objective of the Board to determine appeals within a period of 18 weeks from the date of receipt. In its 2015 Annual Report, the Board reported that 83% of planning appeal cases were disposed of within 18 weeks with an average time for decisions reported at 15.1 weeks. 

Cost awards

In Northern Ireland, a request can be made by a party in an appeal for costs where it can be demonstrated that another party acted unreasonably and where that unreasonable behaviour has caused the other party to incur an unnecessary or wasted expense. There is a similar provision in Ireland, where compensation may be required to be paid, at the absolute discretion of the Board, to any party to proceedings under certain circumstances.

Planning authorities, appellants and third parties participating in appeals can all be liable for costs, and this has implications for those considering making an appeal.

Have you recently been refused planning permission? Contact us!

If you’ve recently  been refused planning permission in Northern Ireland or Ireland or if you are a third party who had a valid objection and wish to appeal a notification to approve in Ireland get in touch with the town planning experts at LJM Planning.