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 will set out the procedures that govern the system of town planning appeals. It will explain the advantages and disadvantages of each method, and some reference will be made to case studies to illustrate the suitability of each method to different types of development proposal. Reference also will be made to the award of costs, whereby one party is required to pay the costs of another party to the appeal. The chapter is organized as follows: