Call-in by the Secretary of State
Call-in by the Secretary of State

The following Local Government guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Call-in by the Secretary of State
  • What is a 'called-in application'?
  • Legal basis for call-in
  • Call-in criteria
  • Discretionary nature of call-in power
  • Consequences of call-in
  • Procedure—making a call-in direction
  • Withdrawing a call-in direction
  • Requesting a call-in
  • Reasons for call-in decisions
  • more

What is a 'called-in application'?

Most planning applications and applications for listed building consent are decided locally by the relevant local planning authority (LPA) for the area. However, the Secretary of State has reserve powers to direct the LPA to refer an application to the Secretary of State for a decision, rather than leave the determination to the LPA. This is known as a power of ‘call-in’.

The Secretary of State only calls-in a small percentage of planning applications.

It is important to note that there is no legal obligation for the Secretary of State to use his call-in powers.

Legal basis for call-in

The power of call-in originates in:

  1. section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA 1990), in respect of applications for planning permission or permission in principle

  2. section 12 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (P(LBCA)A 1990), in respect of applications for listed building consent

Under TCPA 1990, s 77, a call-in direction may be given either to a particular LPA, or to LPAs generally, and can relate either to a particular application or to applications of a class specified in the direction. Similarly, a call-in direction under P(LBCA)A 1990, s 12, can relate either to a particular application, or to applications in respect of such buildings as may be