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How to challenge a planning decision

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.

However, you can challenge the lawfulness of a decision via Judicial Review. This is dealt with by the Administrative Court and can 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. If permission is granted to proceed, the Judicial Review will be decided by a judge at the High Court.

A Judicial Review has several restrictions and limitations:

  • An application for Judicial Review of a decision must be made within six weeks of the decision.
  • 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 could include where the local authority failed to consider opinions stated (this does not mean we have to agree with them), the procedure in dealing with the application was flawed, or a councillor failed to declare an interest.

A Judicial Review will not succeed if it is based solely on a difference of opinion and you will need to show that you have a clear interest in the decision that has been made.