Review of planning appeals procedure in Wales

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Wed Aug 17 13:35:19 BST 2011

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Hi all,

Another planning consultation, yet again launched during peak holiday time -- 
this time on planning appeals in Wales:

Start of consultation: 17/08/2011
End of consultation: 17/11/2011
Download from --

As with the planning reforms in England this is all done under the label of 
"efficiency". Of course, as former US President Harry Truman said in a lecture 
in 1959, "Whenever you have an efficient government you have a dictatorship." 
Effectively that's what the planning system is becoming in order to persue any 
form of development which might maintain the myth of perpetual growth.

The consultation paper contains mostly paper-shuffling reforms EXCEPT the two 
seemingly mild changes they're trying to sneak under the radar.

*Firstly, types of appeal* -- this bring Wales into line with the new 
procedures adopted in England in 2009.

If you appeal at the moment you have a choice between written representations, 
an informal hearing or a public inquiry. What's proposed is to change this 
system so that the option is based on the apparent *complexity* of the 
planning case, not the public or political significance of the development 

At present, where there's a lot of public concern, cases which might be heard 
by an informal hearing can be sent for a full public inquiry -- especially 
where the law on environmental, conservation landscape or archaeological 
protection is in question. As is now the case in England, this restricts the 
ability of the local council to demand a public inquiry so that other local 
interested parties can put their case too.

We still have no third-party rights in the planning system -- this proposal 
takes us in completely the wrong direction by introducing an arbirtrary 
planning rules-based test for how an appeal should be heard, not the will of 
the community who will be subject to the development.

*Secondly, and more significantly, costs*. it's proposed to extend costs to 
written appeals. At the moment you can appeal by written representations and 
not risk having costs awarded against you. It's proposed -- again to harmonise 
Welsh practice with that in England -- to make it possible to award costs in 
written appeals.

Let's say you're doing a low impact development and you have a dead-head local 
council. Mostly those doing low impact development are already poor -- they 
can't afford proper planning representation to make the initial application let 
alone proper representation at an inquiry. If they have permission refused 
they do at least have the chance of a written appeal to get the case heard by 
a less partial judge than the local councillors.

Extending costs to written appeals, as in England, means they risk having the 
local authority's costs awarded against them, with the implication that they 
would have to pay a large bill for daring to appeal against the decision of 
the council.

Ho hum...


- -- 


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(Edward Burrough, 1659 - from 'Quaker Faith and Practice')

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