Written Ministerial Statement: Neighbourhood planning

Written Ministerial Statement: Neighbourhood planning

Communities and Local Government has proposed to amend the criteria for considering the recovery of planning appeals by the Secretary of State to include developments of over ten units. The new criterion has been added to the recovery policy and will be applied until 10 July 2015. View the document here.

Recovered planning appeals

A recovered appeal is one where instead of an inspector making a planning decision, he or she writes a report that makes a recommendation on how the appeal should be determined. This is passed to the Secretary of State to make the decision, taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.

Why are the criteria for appeal recovery being amended?

The Secretary of State wants planning appeal decisions to reflect the government’s policies for neighbourhood planning, to provide a powerful set of tools for local people to ensure they get the right types of development for their community, while also planning positively to support strategic development needs.

As a result, the government wants to scrutinise planning appeals which involve neighbourhood planning areas to ensure it can obtain an understanding of how the government’s intentions are being achieved.

It is proposed that the criteria for considering the recovery of planning appeals should be amended to include residential developments of over ten units in areas where a qualifying body has submitted a neighbourhood plan.

The definition of recovery has also been clarified, to clarify that ‘recovery’ involves Ministers making appeal decisions that would otherwise be made by the Planning Inspectorate. This should not be confused with ‘call-in’, where the original application decision is taken away from the council and made by Ministers.

What are the implications for developers?

Developers of over ten units will have planning appeals determined by the Secretary of State, rather than an inspector. This should not have a significant impact on the decision itself, although it could mean that the appeal procedure takes slightly longer than it would if decided by an inspector.

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About the author:

Jen is a solicitor specialising in planning law. She has experience in relation to a range of planning topics, including environmental impact assessment, section 106 agreements, highways orders, compulsory purchase, freedom of information issues, inquiries, judicial review, the Localism Act 2011, the National Planning Policy Framework and major infrastructure projects. After qualifying at Ashurst, Jen worked at Bevan Brittan and subsequently at CMS Cameron McKenna as an associate in the planning team. She worked as an external author for LexisPSL before joining the team in November 2010. She has written for a variety of legal publications, including the New Law Journal, Utilities Week, Planning Resource and The Lawyer. Jen regularly appears on Talking Law videocasts providing legal updates on planning law.