When refusing an application, the local planning authority should consider carefully whether it has a sufficiently strong case, capable of being argued at appeal, on the basis of the material before it
The local planning authority should have constructive discussions with the applicant and, if it has any concerns, give the applicant the opportunity to amend the application before it is decided. This should help to avoid the need to appeal, especially appeals where the local planning authority has failed to make a decision.
The reasons for refusal should be clear and comprehensive and if the elected members' decision differs from that recommended by their planning officers it is essential that their reasons for doing so are similarly clear and comprehensive. Clear reasons for refusal will help continued discussions and may mean that agreement can be reached. A new application may often be the best way forward.
Making an appeal should not be used as a bargaining tactic but only as the last resort. Appellants should be confident at the time they make their appeal that they have a clear case and do not need to commission further evidence.
All parties should follow good practice and behave reasonably. The parties must meet the statutory timetables to ensure that no-one is disadvantaged and the appeal can be processed efficiently. If a party does not behave reasonably they leave themselves open to costs being awarded against them. This would be on the basis that the behaviour had directly caused another party to incur expenses that would not otherwise have been necessary.
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