Tactical planning applications
Tactical planning applications

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

  • Tactical planning applications
  • What is twin-tracking?
  • Rationale
  • Power to decline to determine similar applications

What is twin-tracking?

Tactical or ‘twin-tracked’ planning applications refers to the process of submitting more than one planning application to a local planning authority (LPA) at the same time or within a short period of one another, seeking identical or similar forms of development for the same piece of land.

Submitting tactical planning applications has long been used by developers to maximise their chances of a satisfactory planning permission being granted quickly, particularly where the application is complex or sensitive. See Practice Note: Applying for planning permission—procedure.

Rationale

Possible delay or refusal of first application

Tactical applications may be submitted where there is a prospect or indication that the first application will be refused or encounter significant delay. The developer can appeal a refusal or non-determination of the first planning application to the Secretary of State, while submitting a second planning application to the LPA. The threat of appeal proceedings (with determination by an independent inspector and associated time and resource which the LPA is required to invest to defend its decision) is sometimes seen as helping to ‘focus the mind’ of an LPA when it is considering the second application.

Developers can also use the looming threat of the appeal proceedings as a negotiating tactic, by continuing negotiations on the second application and offering to withdraw the appeal