19. What happens if I cannot get planning approval?

If during the planning application, it becomes apparent that no amount of tweaking, or additional information will be sufficient to overcome the obstacles they see, there are several options to explore which may be successful in getting the outcome you desire.

While the application is still undecided, you can request a local councillor to call the application into committee. This will change the decision from delegated powers of the LPA to a committee panel, where all arguments will be put forward to local councillors, and a majority vote will be taken on the application. Some planning authorities have clauses to automatically call applications into committee if they are seen as publicly contentious, but this avenue of approach can be useful when there are personal arguments that can be put across to likeminded individuals, where formal policies may be clouding the judgement of a single delegated planning officer.

If your application is refused, there is a 12-month time period in which you can submit another application, of the same type, for the same or similar proposal, and on the same site, where the application fee is waived. Known as a “free go” it allows us to consolidate our thoughts and come up with a Plan B approach which can be submitted to hopefully address the issues raised in the first application. The level of redesign required would be discussed to see whether we would cover it as a minor change, or whole need a whole redesign.

A refusal also allows you to lodge an appeal within 6 months of the decision. The appeal process has no fee associated with the application; however, it is likely we would need to spend additional time providing more supporting evidence to the proposal, or make small changes. An independent planning inspector from outside your locality will assess our arguments for, and the local authorities’ arguments against the proposed development, along with a personal visit to the site, so they can conclude if the refusal was justified, or if it can be overturned. This process can be lengthy, but it gives you the satisfaction of exploring every possible option with a development to ensure there is nothing else that could be done.

We would advise whether we though withdrawing, a committee meeting, submitting a free go, or an appeal would be suitable for your development, based on the situation for each individual application.