Any person “aggrieved” by the decision of the Secretary of State to grant / refuse planning permission on appeal, can make an application to the High Court under s288 Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to challenge the decision. Such appeals should not be confused with judicial review applications.

A person aggrieved is usually taken as meaning:

  • The appellant; or
  • Someone who took a sufficiently active role in the planning process – merely submitting a letter of objection and doing nothing more about it is unlikely to be sufficient; or
  • Someone who has a relevant interest in the land.

The time limit for lodging any such application is 6 weeks; this time limit is strict and the Court has no power to extend it. Time starts to run from the date of the decision letter and not the date on which it was received by the potential applicant. The time period also includes any bank holidays.

In addition, the application must not only be made within the 6 week period but also served on the Defendant (the Secretary of State) and any other interested party; although the Court does have the power to extend the time for service.

There are two statutory grounds of challenge

  • That the decision was not within the powers of the Act; or
  • That any of the relevant requirements have not been complied with

Thus an application under s288 cannot be used simply because a person does not agree with the decision that has been reached. There must be some error of law, for example the Inspector has failed to take into account a material consideration.

Enforcement Appeals

In enforcement cases, the appellant, the local planning authority and any person interested in the land may appeal to the High Court against the decision of the Secretary of State under s289 Town and Country Planning Act 1990. There is also some overlap with appeals under s288 given that the Secretary of State has the power to grant planning permission on an enforcement appeal; in such cases both s288 and s289 must be used.

S289 appeals are conducted in a similar way to judicial review applications, in that permission is needed from the High Court to bring the challenge.

An application for permission to appeal must be made within 28 days after notice of the decision was given to the applicant. Unlike s288 appeals therefore it is the date on which the decision was received rather than the actual date of the decision which is of importance. In addition, the Court has power to extend the time period although it is not recommended that this be relied upon.

Appeals under s289 are limited to “points of law”; therefore the court will not substitute its view on matters of judgment.

We are able to advise you on the potential merits of challenging an appeal decision. We also work closely with Counsel to ensure that any appeal is presented to maximise the prospects of success.

Please call us on 01252 617119 to find out how we can assist you.