Is it worth going to appeal against the council planning department?

Is it worth going to appeal against the council planning department?

5:01 AM, 14th June 2016, About 6 years ago 14

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I am converting a warehouse with planning department permission into 3 dwellings the 1st of the dwellings I am renovating into a 9 bed HMO.appeal

The planning dept have kept me waiting for over 6months for a decision. Finally they have recommended for approval, but last week the council planning committee voted 9 out of 12 to refuse permission. Total Joke!

Now i need to go to appeal. My architect reckons appeals are now taking over a year and that I will lose as the government are trying to save councils money in expensive costs for lost appeals and that appeal officers are effectively one of the same kind as the council and on there side!!

Is this true?

I don’t know whether to appeal or try to negotiate with planning to modify the plans?

Many thanks




Harlequin Garden

11:19 AM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

It's very unusual for a committee to against the officer's recommendation - the officer is the policy expert not the committee and no doubt he liaised with you through out this. I can only assume that the committee had objections from residents or other pressure - did they make any observations at the time?

Is the issue the conversion of the building or the HMO license?

Surinder Kalsi

11:22 AM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

I have similar problem with Guildford Planning. This business is my only income. 6 months waiting is like 6 months not getting paid. Try not paying a planning officer wages for 6 months or 6 weeks or even 6 hours!
Absolutely Ridiculous!

Harlequin Garden

11:27 AM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

If your application isn't dealt with within 8 weeks you can go to appeal - non determination - and it is then out of the local authorities hands. Did they give a reason for taking this length of time?

Surinder Kalsi

11:36 AM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

They said planning officer on leave, then - just too busy too much work. Met planning officer - young recently graduated - who said it will be refused. Now waiting for refusal to find out exactly what issues they have so new application can be made accordingly.

Harlequin Garden

11:46 AM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Don't wait for it to go to committee ask the officer now why he will recommend refusal - it could be policy in the area - and ask him now what he wants to make it a successful application, you don't want a history of refusal. These people are public servants (but don't you date remind them of that!) - they are there to provide a service and paid via your council tax and taxes to provide a service to the public, don't be intimated - contact your local councillor if you don't get any success or the senior of this officer

Paul Shears

12:11 PM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Here is a true story (I know the people) to put this in context:
1. A young couple in Cornwall bought a large disused but in excellent condition public water tank which was earth covered and so virtually invisible and with no neighbours within several miles.
2. Expecting opposition they applied for planning permission to convert to a large home.
3. They were pleasantly surprised when the young planning officer handling the case, voiced his complete support for the conversion.
4. The same young planning officer then went back to them to tell them that he could not support their application as his boss had informed him that if he did so, his career in planning would be over.
5. So the couple lobbied the local councillors.
6. The councillors all came out to view the site collectively.
7. The senior planning officer found out that this site visit was going to happen (He was not invited by the couple) and arranged for a large bus to block the narrow country lane to the property - it mysteriously "broke down". This "indicated" what a terrible restriction the couples conversion would impose on traffic due to vehicles gaining access to their site.
8. The local councillors were not fooled by this absurd behaviour and approved the conversion.
9. The senior planning officer then went over the heads of the local councillors and appealed to the secretary of state for assistance in opposing the conversion. A public enquiry would be one example.
10. The senior planning officer lost the case and the couple proceeded with their conversion.
11. All this took opposition took several years.

Surinder Kalsi

12:34 PM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

My architect recommended "there's no other option, wait for refusal, then re apply".
I wil put your opinion to him.

Harlequin Garden

12:42 PM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

I would withdraw the application, speak to the planner to find out what his objections are - then reapply addressing these. Why on earth get a refusal against the property? That doesn't make any sense and drags the whole thing out. If it is vital that this project has an HMO element find your self a planning advisor who will be able to bat back on policy terms with the local officer, if you can't make any headway with the officer, their role is not to be obstructive.


12:50 PM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

John - you don't give any details about the grounds for refusal, so it's hard to comment effectively! If you're converting a commercial warehouse then you ought to get planning permission pretty-well automatically because this now falls under Permitted Development rights, which as I'm sure you know, is far less stringent as regards providing recreational spaces/gardens and parking, never mind S106 and CIL taxes. So if you've been refused despite your PD rights, then either the councillors have ignored planning law and guidance, in which case you've got an excellent chance at Appeal, or your application has done something that the planning officer decided was OK but the councillors felt was legitimate cause for complaint. If the latter, it would help if you explained what their objections were based on.

It's the first time I've heard of a government policy that discourages appeals on the grounds of cost to local authorities: what announcement is your architect referring to?

I've also never heard the accusation that Appeal Inspectors side with local councillors - quite the reverse! Where I live in South Oxfordshire, SODC is losing appeal after appeal over large housing developments because the inspectors judge that the district council cannot demonstrate it can meet its required five-year land supply, thus overriding the whole of its Core Strategy reached after years of development and local consultation, and a number of Neighbourhood Plans.

Frankly, your architect's comments seem pretty wild to me. Most architects and planning consultants that I know (I'm a small developer) feel that Appeal Inspectors are the one reliable bit of the system: local councillors can be "got at" by invariably-irate Nimbys and their own prejudices, and they have the power to override their own planning officers' recommendations virtually irrespective of the planning evidence and the demonstrable quality of the application and the local demand for such housing. However, you can generally trust Appeal Inspectors to be objective and stick properly to planning law and guidance, though obviously there are also situations sometimes where two inspectors will take completely different interpretations of a given application.

Have you thought of taking your application and the refusal to another architect or a planning consultant, to ask their views? With your current architect flinging these accusations about, perhaps it needs a fresh pair of eyes to assess whether you should revise and re-submit, or go to Appeal.

rita chawla

12:53 PM, 15th June 2016, About 6 years ago

Having worked in the councils planning department, I know that the planning officers /advisors always share the objections received on the proposal with the applicant (They keep the actual comments anonymous but share the key points). If I were in your position, I would start from there, pick the phone up and try to understand what objections have been recieved and their advice ( e.g. alterations in plans) to make the application successful. Having worked there, I do feel politeness and trying to understand where the planning officer is coming from (rather than telling them they are a public servant, pay council tax etc) goes a long way in getting to know the actual reasons.

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