Vexatious objectors could face cost awards

Paul Mobbs mobbsey at
Fri Oct 5 16:18:26 BST 2012

Hash: SHA1

Note: the DCLG paper on giving more power to awards costs is online at --

The relevant sentence is on page 4, "In addition, we intend to give 
Planning Inspectors more power to initiate an award of costs in planning 
appeal proceedings, where it is clear that an application has not been 
handled as it should have been with due process."


There is also of course the rather crunchy issue of how you define 
"vexatious" -- as one person's 'vexatious' could easily be another person's 
'democratic rights'!

Personally, I think this is just a rouse to scare stretched middle class 
objectors with assets to loose from taking part in blocking 
naff/environmentally damaging development.


Vexatious objectors could face cost awards

Richard Garlick, Planning Resource, Friday 5th October 2012

Vexatious objectors to planning applications could in future be forced to 
contribute to an applicant's or planning authority's costs, a senior 
Planning Inspectorate official said yesterday.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles announced last month that he intended to 
give planning inspectors more power to initiate an award of costs in 
planning appeal proceedings.

He said that this would happen "where it is clear that an application has 
not been handled as it should have been with due process", prompting 
commentators to observe that the only parties likely to be penalised were 
local planning authorities.

However, responding to questions about the costs imposed by vexatious 
objections at a conference yesterday, PINS casework director Mark Southgate 
pointed out that this could potentially be addressed by the inspectorate's 
promised new power.

Speaking to Planning after his speech, Southgate said that "we will have to 
see whether the power will apply across the board", rather than simply to 
awards of costs against councils.

Southgate was speaking at the British Institute of Agricultural Consultants 
rural planning conference, which took place near Kettering in 

He also told delegates that tests applied to applications for essential 
agricultural workers' dwellings might reappear following the government 
review of the guidance that previously underlay planning policy guidance 
and statements. The tests were largely swept away by the introduction of 
the National Planning Policy Framework.

- -- 


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