Planning Direct are a firm of Planning Consultants specialising in Planning Appeals. Planning Direct is used by home owners, Architects, Developers and Lawyers. We have an excellent success rate at an affordable price.
Has your Planning Application been refused?
Depending upon the type of application you have 12 weeks or six months to appeal.
Twelve weeks is the limit for Householder Applications (extensions, conversions, sheds, fences etc), with 6 months being the limit for other types of application such as Full Planning Applications and Outline Planning Applications. See below for more information on Planning Appeals.
Have you been issued an Enforcement Notice?
You have six months to appeal an Enforcement Notice and there are several grounds for refusal:
Ground (a) – that planning permission should be granted for what is alleged in the notice (or that the condition or limitation referred to in the enforcement notice should be removed);
Ground (b) – that the breach of control alleged in the enforcement notice has not occurred as a matter of fact;
Ground (c) – that there has not been a breach of planning control;
Ground (d) – that at the time the enforcement notice was issued it was too late to take enforcement action against the matters stated in the notice; has become lawful as it is too late for the local planning authority to take enforcement action.
The onus of proof is on an appellant. The test to be achieved is ‘on the balance of probability’ (a lesser requirement than ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’). Often this involves the ‘four’ and ‘ten’ year rules. See here: https://www.planningdirect.co.uk/planning/change-of-use/
Ground (e) – that the notice was not properly served on everyone with an interest in the land;
Ground (f) – that the steps required by the notice to be taken, or the activities required by the notice to cease, exceed what is necessary to remedy any breach of planning control which may be constituted by those matters or, as the case may be, to remedy any injury to amenity which has been caused by any such breach”;
Ground (g) – that the time given to comply with the notice is too short.
There are different grounds of appeal for heritage-related Enforcement Notices.
What is a Planning Appeal?
In England and Wales, a Planning Appeal is made to the Planning Inspectorate; a semi-independent Government body. This body employs Planning Inspectors, whose job is to objectively review the evidence. They determine whether your planning appeal merits passing. This decision is based upon planning criteria. They also take into account whether your application is unreasonable or causes real harm. Inspectors, in our experience, come to planning applications with a fair, unbiased and considered approach, aiming to allow development where possible.
What is the Planning Appeal Process?
We look into your case, for free, initially and let you know what we think your prospects are at appeal. Sometimes we recommend appealing even if a case has a low chance of success because of the potential reward and / or because the Inspector, even in refusing, can be very helpful in reducing the number of issues a council can rely on to reject a subsequent application.
If instructed we write a Statement of Case setting out our argument. This is a quasi-legal document going into the detail as to why we believe planning policy (both local, regional and national) is on your side. We often rely on precedents and our detailed knowledge of other appeal decisions and court case law in making these arguments.
The Statement of Case, once signed off by you, is submitted. Following that:
A Validation letter is received. This simply confirms the appeal has been submitted according to the “rules”, by the relevant deadline, with all the necessary documents and has been accepted by the Inspectorate. Usually, this comes through within a week or two of submission.
A Start letter is received. This is the official start of the appeal and usually contains important appeal deadlines – for the Council’s documents and any final comments. This is usually only sent once an Inspector has been appointed to the case – when we receive it will depend on when a relevant Inspector becomes available in your local area. For heritage the wait tends to be longer. This is usually received within 1-3 months of the validation letter.
The Local Planning Authority (LPA) (mostly the local Council) submits their questionnaire and supporting documents. The questionnaire is just their version of the “appeal form” we completed when the appeal documents were submitted. The supporting documents will just be relevant local planning policies and documents produced/received at the application stage.
The LPA submits their Statement of Case. This isn’t a requirement, it’s up to the Council whether they submit one or not. Consultation comments – from neighbours and potentially statutory consultees if the Council chooses to consult these – will also come through around this time.
Final comments. This is our opportunity to respond to any comments made by the LPA, consultees and any objectors. If final comments are required, we usually charge an additional day’s work depending on what is needed. We also tend to wait to the deadline to submit comments to avoid giving the LPA an opportunity to issue a further response.
Site visit is conducted. We usually receive notification of this a couple of weeks before the date. We’ll be provided a date and a window of 2 hours and someone will have to be present to grant access.
A decision is issued. This is usually received within a few weeks of the site visit.
Appeals seem on average to be taking between 6 months to a year to reach a decision, with heritage-related appeals taking the longest.
So why are we so successful?
Our staff have very high levels of logical reasoning. In fact this is the number one criteria when selecting new staff. The second is a competitive streak – a will to ‘win’.
We use the same legal database that law firms use to select the right precedent cases. Most Planning Consultancies cannot afford and would not know how to use this database of all UK cases.
Additionally our unusually high success rate is based on our knowledge of the planning system and planning law. We are also very familiar with local councils and their decision making processes because of the background of our staff. Many Local Councils simply cannot justify a planning refusal. Submitting an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate takes the decision out of the hands of the local authority. Instead it is placed it into the hands of an independent inspector.
Our unique team includes:
- Our Director with many years experience gaining planning permission on very large (£500m plus) projects and also a former senior Political Leader;
- The ex Head of Town Planning for a Local Authority;
- A former Head of Development for a Housing provider;
- A Heritage and Neighbourhood Plan expert.
So here at Planning Direct we are highly skilled and passionate about winning. We have worked both sides of the fence and understand the process through and through. We hold weekly case conferences where we discuss each case to share expertise and knowledge. With RTPI qualified staff and some significant legal experience we always know the right way to get your planning appeal approved by the Planning Inspectorate.
How much will a Planning Appeal cost?
Less than you think. We do what is necessary to maximise appeal success but do not apologise for being thorough. We charge much much less than law firms (who often sub the work out to us anyway) but more than one man bands who do not have the resources or experience we gave. Sometimes a site visit is required, most often not (saving you money). You do not pay for the Planning Inspectorates work – just for our time. Our work includes research, submission and case management. Get in touch to discuss your case, for free. If we think we can help we’ll send a no obligation fixed cost estimate.
One of our happy clients:
“5 star! …if Planning Direct offers a service you need then their number is the only contact you need. They covered it all for us and made it affordable… Andrew – I think you understand how much this decision meant to me and my family and words could never express my gratitude towards you. Two previous Planning Consultants told me it was impossible to win. One from the area told me it was always just ‘wishful thinking’ that I would ever gain permission. From the first phone call, I felt I had found the right man for the job and you exceeded all expectations. You are an outstanding Planning Consultant and I’m very lucky you worked alongside us.
Forever grateful, Martin and Becky.”
How do I start the Planning Appeal process?
You can find out more about what we can do – and for free. Contact us now about your planning problem and we’ll give initial advice completely free of charge: https://www.planningdirect.co.uk/contact-us/.
What Our Clients Say About Us
“Wonderful news. Thank you for your incredible support and professional assistance”.
You should consider using a Planning Consultancy to apply for Change of Use. There are a number of angles which we can adopt in order to put forward a succinct and thorough proposal to your local council in support if your application.
Read how we won this case here
Contact us to discuss your case on 01473 407911.
Planning Direct wins another Change of Use Planning Application in London
“Amazing service, contact was kept throughout… always very helpful. All my questions were answered straight away… Absolutely I would recommend Planning Direct without a doubt”
If you need to apply for retrospective Planning Permission, or indeed you need to appeal a decision Planning Direct can help you.
Here’s how we helped this client – read more here
Planning Direct wins retrospective planning appeal – “Amazing Service” says happy client
“I just want to thank your firm for the change of use you got us in Rush Green. Jamie has pulled it out the bag and sent us that good news today, he is so patient he just kept chewing at them until they said yes”.
If you have a piece of land which you think could be developed Planning Direct could help you obtain the planning permission to realise its’ potential.
Click here to read how we won this case.
Is there room for a house in your garden?
“Andrew and Nikki worked hard and efficiently on our change of use application with a positive outcome and I believe this was all down to their expertise and experience, we would recommend them to anyone and would not hesitate to use them again in the future. Great work”.
Are you looking to expand your business? Have you considered purchasing a neighbouring property and extending into it? Planning Direct can help you obtain Planning Permission for Change of Use.
Read the full article here
Suffolk business now able to expand thanks to Planning Direct
Thank you so much for your help with this – best investment I’ve made so far in engaging you – I thought your document to the Planning Inspectorate was first class and worth every penny.
When our Planning Application was refused for the second time we felt the reasons for refusal were weak. We asked Planning Direct whether we had good grounds for appeal. Ben was extremely positive about the points of our case, he reviewed all of the documentation we provided him and also used his own extensive knowledge of other appeals and associated decisions.
The result was an outstanding 15-page document that clearly set out the reasons for the Councils refusal along with the positive counter-arguments and references to precedent cases for presentation to the Planning Inspectorate.
The end result…. our appeal was upheld and permission was granted. We would not be in this position without Ben’s fantastic attention to detail and his way with words in presenting the case.
Mr K Swinburne, New Build Family Home
I just wanted to express my extreme gratitude to you for your help with our recent planning application to extend our home.
From our first call, I was impressed with the way your handled our case and it was evident from the word go that you knew exactly what was needed to get our application granted.
I especially appreciate your prompt and efficient service, considering the tight deadline that I gave you.
I am sure that without the work that you did to support our original application and in response to the councils request to alter our application, we would not have been granted the planning permission for the size of extension that we wanted and would have had to settle for a smaller space that would not have worked for my family.
Once again, thanks for your winning service.
Tanvir Choudhury, Home Extension
With my sincere thanks to you Andrew for everything you done! No doubt I’ll be in touch again when this goes to committee. Best wishes, Leigh
Leigh-Jane Miller, Gallions Point Harbour Ltd
Andrew worked tirelessly on documenting our objection statement and writing our respective three minute presentations for the Development Control Committee. Our sincere thanks go to Andrew Cann for his diligence, guidance, attention to detail and highly professional approach in helping Bardwell and Stanton Parish Councils with this planning application.
Andrew Smith on behalf of Bardwell and Stanton Parish Councils
I want to place on record my thanks to you for all you have done to advise and assist Pakefield Opposing Tesco in our campaign to stop Tesco taking over the Tramway Hotel in Pakefield, Lowestoft.
The reports you produced were professional, well researched and very knowledgeable about the processes and operations of local authority planning departments and development control committees.
Your work made a major contribution to our campaign which has so far successfully prevented a much loved local building and community facility becoming just another retail store that the local community doesn’t want or need.
Thank you for your work.
Bob Blizzard – Chair, Pakefield Opposing Tesco
I worked with Andrew when the Crossrail Bill, which at the time would have had a severe effect on rail freight, was being considered by the House of Lords. He is a canny operator (pun intended) and was quick to grasp the case and how best to present it to peers who were intelligent but ignorant of the facts. I would recommend him for a project management or strategic role in the ports or freight sector or in an equivalent industry.
Angus Walker Partner / Head of Department at Bircham Dyson Bell