Planning appeals

Your right of appeal

If it seems unlikely that you can reach agreement with us you can exercise your right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

The Planning Inspectorate is a government agency that decides planning appeals on behalf of ministers.

Our refusal notice will give you details of how to contact the Planning Inspectorate. You must contact them within 6 months of our refusal if your application is not householder development. If it is a householder development the time limit for submitting an appeal is 12 weeks from the date of decision. There is currently no fee involved.

Very rarely a government minister decides an appeal. Inspectors decide the vast majority. Your appeal can be considered in 3 ways:

Written representations

This is the most popular form of appeal and, as the name suggests, involves written statements. This has the advantages of being relatively quick and inexpensive.

Appeals involving householder development or tree works are now dealt with entirely online. Go to the Planning Inspectorate website to read what you will need to do if you wish to appeal cases like this.


If you want to present your case to the Inspector in person, a hearing allows you to do it in an informal way without going to great expense.

You will need to submit a written statement before the hearing. Hearings are usually held at the Civic Offices, Grays and the Inspector will lead you and our planning officer in a round table discussion of the case.

They will not make a decision on the day but will send it to you in writing later.

Public inquiry

This is the most formal and expensive method, and is also the slowest. It involves presentation of your case and our case to the Inspector. Each side can cross-examine the others expert witnesses.

Public Inquiries are usually held at the Council Chamber in the Civic Offices, Grays. In some ways the process is like a court, with the Inspector acting as a judge.

You will probably need to engage a lawyer or professional town planner to represent you and to cross-examine our witnesses, although this is not essential.

The appeal process

Other interested parties such as neighbours will be informed of the appeal and given the right to submit their views in writing or in person, depending on the method of appeal.

All three appeal methods involve a site inspection. The Inspector will not allow any arguments to be put to them on site.

Appealing can be a lengthy and costly business. It is possible for one party to make a claim to recover some or all of its costs of the appeal from the other party.

We will seek to reclaim its costs in appropriate cases.

To be successful, a claim for costs must satisfy the Inspector that the other side acted unreasonably. That is not the same as the Inspector finding fault with our decision and allowing your appeal. In fact it is possible to win an appeal and lose costs, or vice versa.

About a third of appeals are successful. It is important to note that the Inspector is entitled to make their decision as they see fit.

They may find your proposal unacceptable for different reasons to our reasons. If your appeal is dismissed, the Inspector may give an indication of what alternative proposal would meet with their approval. If this happens we will discuss the alternative with you.