This is evident in two recent projects Plainview Planning have been involved in:
In one case, our application for 4 homes went substantially over the eight week decision making period. With no end in sight, and little correspondence from the Local Planning Authority (LPA), we were forced to appeal for non-determination. During the appeal process the Council contacted us to say that they would not be contesting the appeal, and agreed that permission should have been granted. The appeal had been a waste of time for all parties, and costs were awarded in the developer’s favour.
In the second case, our application for 105 homes was refused by councillors despite a recommendation for approval. However, once we lodged the appeal the LPA contacted us to explain that they would not be contesting the appeal and invited a resubmission. The resubmission was approved, but we had still incurred unnecessary expense during the appeal process. As a result, the awards of costs was granted.
Whilst it is positive that the right decision was eventually made, the indecision from the LPAs caused months of delay and unnecessary expense.
With further cuts to local government spending looming, we hope these two projects were anomalies rather than a growing trend.
As part of our appeals service we always consider whether a costs application is worthwhile, and have a good track record in securing reimbursement where appropriate.
Nationally, costs awards are rare. Latest statistics from the Planning Inspectorate show that there were only 469 successful cost applications in favour of the appellant in 2013/2014, with average success rate of 33%. To put this in context there were 14,425 appeals submitted!
Of course, there is always the possibility of an LPA applying for costs against the appellant, however only 84 of these applications were successful in 2013/2014.
If you wish to discuss the possibility of a planning appeal and costs application please contact us – firstname.lastname@example.org.