Planning is a quasi-judicial process; it is a long-standing feature of the planning system that there is a right of appeal, just as there are with other local quasi-judicial decisions such as on licensing applications, gambling applications or parking fines.
The Localism Act 2011 has strengthened the role of Local Plans and abolished the last Administration’s top-down Regional Strategies. Our streamlined National Planning Policy Framework strongly encourages areas to get up-to-date Local Plans in place, and we have been actively supporting councils in doing so. Local Plans now set the framework in which decisions on particular applications are taken, whether locally or at appeal, unless material considerations indicate otherwise. We have also allowed local communities to draw up Neighbourhood Plans, which also become part of the area’s statutory development plan.
The table below shows the number of appeals since 2009-10:
Note: Planning inspectorate decisions, including written representations, hearings and inquiries.
The table shows that since the National Planning Policy Framework was introduced in March 2012, the number of appeals is lower, as is the number allowed. 99% of decisions are made locally with only approximately 1% of planning applications overturned on appeal. This is in the context of rising housing starts, higher housing construction and rising planning permissions. This means there is more local decision-making, and our reforms are supporting badly-needed new homes within a locally-led planning system.