How to challenge a planning decision

Currently there are no third party rights of appeal through the planning system against a decision of a Local Planning Authority. Therefore, if you have concerns about a planning application and permission is granted, you cannot appeal that decision. Any challenge under current legislation would have to be made outside the planning system by way of a legal challenge. This can be either a statutory challenge under s.288 of the Town and Country Planning Act or through a process called Judicial Review (for the purpose of this page both types of challenge will be referred to as a Judicial Review).

A 'claim for judicial review' includes a claim to review the lawfulness of a decision, action or failure to act in relation to the exercise of a public function, in this case, a planning decision.

The court's permission to proceed is required in a claim for Judicial Review and is the first stage that any claim must overcome.

A claim for Judicial Review is dealt with by the Administrative Court and if leave to judicially review a planning decision is granted, the Judicial Review will be decided by a judge at the High Court.

An application for Judicial Review of a decision must be made within 6 weeks of the decision about which you have a grievance being made.

Leave to proceed with a Judicial Review will not be granted by the Court unless there is evidence that a legal mistake has been made - this might include, for example, that the Local Authority failed to take into account opinions put forward (this does not mean that the Council has to agree with them), that the procedure in dealing with the application was flawed, that a Councillor failed to declare an interest, etc. A Judicial Review will not succeed if it is based solely on a difference of opinion with the decision that has been made.

You will also need to show that you have a clear interest in the decision that has been made.

Leave to Judicial Review must be made to the Administrative Court on a form provided by them, usually via your own legal representative. If you think that you may wish to pursue a Judicial Review it is strongly advised that you seek your own legal advice as soon as possible after the decision (about which you are aggrieved) has been made.

For further information on judicial review and the contact details for the Administrative Courts, please go to: