A planning appeal is a challenge to the merits of or lack of a planning decision made by a local planning authority and should be viewed as a decision of last resort.
Most decisions made by local planning authorities carry with them the right of appeal to the Secretary of State for the Environment. Such appeals provide a form of arbitration on the town planning merits of a decision and represent the final stage of the development control process. Any further appeal is a matter of legal submission in which the decision is challenged in the courts on grounds of procedural unreasonableness, namely that matters were taken into account by the decision-maker that should not reasonably have been taken into account or were not taken into account when they should have been, or the decision was so manifestly unreasonable that no reasonable decision-maker could have come to it. Such legal appeals to the High Court, Court of Appeal or House of Lords should not be confused with a planning appeal. A planning appeal deals solely with the technical town planning merits of the case and only involves legal argument where it has some influence upon decision-making regarding technical town planning matters. It is important to draw this distinction from the start.
This chapter deals with appeals based exclusively on matters of planning merit. Any further reference to case law is employed to assist in the clarification of planning issues only. This emphasis reflects town planning practice,