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What to do when a Planning Application is refused

You’ve painstakingly put together the perfect plans for your building project, only for your planning application to be refused. What now? We take a look at your options.

What to do when planning permission is refused

Applying for planning permission for a renovation or extension is a time consuming and often arduous task. More than one in four (27%) homeowners say planning permission issues are a stumbling block to progressing with renovation plans.  Therefore, it can be extremely frustrating if your application is refused. However, this does not always mean the end of the road for your project. You have a number of options.

Make changes during the application

The application process for planning permission usually takes around eight weeks, unless they are unusually large or complex, in which case the time limit is extended to 13 weeks. During that time, every planning application submitted to a local authority must undergo a period of public consultation which varies in length between three and eight weeks. During that time anyone who will be impacted by your proposal will be consulted.

During this period objections to your plans may be raised. These objections do not always determine the outcome of the planning decision. Indeed, some complaints may be overlooked or deemed irrelevant. But it is during this time that you are able to gauge the reaction to your project. Keep in touch with the planning officer. If an objection comes to light that you think may sway the decision, you may be able to make changes to the plans during the application process. This is only the case, of course, if the changes you need to make are small and will not require the planning officer to start his consultation again. 

It may also be possible to have the plans passed on the condition that you address whatever issue has come to light. If this happens, you will have to show the council, within whatever time frame is given, that you have made the necessary changes. Alternatively, the local planning authority may grant permission subject to conditions.

If it’s looking likely that your application is going to be turned down and there is no way of salvaging it during the application process, you have one of two options. You can either withdraw it and resubmit a revised version or you can allow it to progress to refusal and then appeal.

Withdraw and resubmit

Withdrawing your application and resubmitting it is the best option if something has come to light which is likely to mean your application is likely to be rejected on planning grounds and you know how to resolve it.

If a solution is clear, simply withdraw the application before it is rejected, make the changes needed and resubmit.

While this can be a hassle, it shouldn’t cost you any money to resubmit (household applications pay a fee of £172 when you submit the initial application), provided you resubmit within 12 months and the overall outcome of the project is largely the same.

But note, where you submit a valid application and then withdraw it at any time before it has been determined, the fee will not be refundable.

Getting professional assistance can give your more chance of getting your plans approved. An experienced planning consultant could be a big help. Find local planning consultants now

Launch an appeal

If your planning application is refused and you feel the decision is unfair, you are able to launch an appeal. You must lodge your appeal within three months (this deadline is for homeowners – developers with major projects have up to six months).

If you are refused planning permission, start by speaking to the planning officer dealing with your case at the local planning authority for clarification

When your planning application is refused, the council will send you information on how to appeal. There are three ways of doing so – in writing, at an informal hearing and via a public inquiry. Most councils will ask that you use the written representation route. You’ll only be called for an informal hearing if there is a lot of public interest in the plans or if the issue is straightforward and you just need to give more information. A public inquiry will only be held in the most complex of cases.

When appealing in writing you’ll need to write down all of the reasons why you think your application should have received planning permission. Be as detailed as possible and focus on planning matters. There will also be forms to complete which the council will send to you. It may help to get a planning consultant with knowledge of your local planning department on board to help with the appeal.

Find details of local planning consultants today

The council must respond within six weeks of submitting your appeal, after which you have three weeks to comment on its response and any supporting evidence it may have. Your neighbours and anyone else impacted by your plans will also get the opportunity to comment too.

A planning inspector will then visit your home. The inspector will give his decision on the appeal within two to six weeks of the visit.

Appeals can take around five months from appeal to decision (longer if you go down the public enquiry route) and it’s only worth doing if you’re adamant your proposal abides by planning rules and you refuse to amend the plans to address any objections. On average only about one appeal in three is successful according to the Planning Inspectorate’s records.

If you can make amendments to get the application passed – and they won’t jeopardise your plans too much – it’s much more straightforward to do this.

If you do go ahead with the appeal and your application is still rejected, take on board the comments from the planning inspector. This can help you to make a new planning application that will hopefully get the green light.

Leave a comment (13)* Required

  1. Christine millsChristine mills

    Our neighbour has had his building plans refused. Can the work continue on the property without plans?

  2. Andréia ReisAndréia Reis

    I built a playroom in my garden for my kids, not knowing the measures exceeded the council’s standards, and my neighbors complained, and the council withdrawn our application, what should we do for the Playroom to remain as it is?

  3. Em GoldingEm Golding

    We had our planning request refused last week on the grounds that the development is of detriment to the character and appearance of the host dwelling and its surroundings. Two out of the three changes we feel may well be correct to this definition. When we appeal are we able to alter the planning request removing two of the changes and putting forward only the one, this alteration is most important to our family and how we use our home. There are several other alterations noted on the planning application but the response report said they had no objections to those changes. 
    We’d appreciate your advice 
    Kind regards Em Golding 

  4. v.kumariv.kumari

    Planning permission refused. No objections by any party but the they say size is detrimental to one side neighbours. No site visit or suggestion by officer before decision. After refusal we sent email to the officer asking him what size he would consider, he replied. How do we proceed from here

  5. A BoydA Boyd

    Recently refused permission by SGCouncil for kitchen extension- failed on design alone – deemed too to be modern – all other aspects and those groups consulted had no objection – planning officer failed to consult with us at any stage as we could/would have changed design before refusal – published report i day before time limit of 8 weeks suggests he was under time pressure and sought rushed resolution – can I appeal against the process?

  6. Lesley DissLesley Diss

    I have a one acre piece of previously developed land with a redundant existing building in place. I presumed there would be development rights in place and added a 2nd small building for storage. I am now awaiting enforcement for unauthorised development. I’ve been told by the LPA that it is unlikely that the building will gain retrospective permission, but would it save money to make an application prior to appealing any enforcement notice?

  7. PaulaPaula

    What is the situation where an Appellant has withdrawn their appeal before a Decision is made? Can they re-submit in the future and if so, is there a time limit?

  8. Christine VincentChristine Vincent

    Is there anyone who can help? I have sent photos to the planning officer on 17/10/2020 showing the ‘conditions’ which I have met. He hasn’t answered my calls or emails since then. What can I do next?


    we have paid thousands of pounds to SO CALLED planning specialists , who said we had a case , then failed to get results. they/these so called specialists are nothing short of rip off merchants in most cases and need to change

  10. Nathan OllettNathan Ollett

    Do you get application money returned if permission is refused?

    • PaulaPaula

      Hi Nathan, I’m afraid not. Generally application fees are refunded if the council has not made a decision within a certain time frame – usually 26 weeks.

  11. JohnJohn

    need a help.

    I have a planning application and neighbours and public have no objection but Planning officer not happy with my plans proposal and he has made below common.

    I’ve had a chance to look over the proposals and visit the site.

    We are of the view that, whilst two houses can be accommodated on the site, the houses as currently proposed do not accord with our development plan policy (SC5) on layout and design principles and the related Supplementary Guidance (SG1) on placemaking.

    In summary, the two houses are considered to be too large for their site and location. Private garden provision is too small, house detailing and elevational treatment require to be reconsidered in order that the proopsals to enhance the character and amenity of the area and so comply with the Local Development Plan.

    Detailed comments;
    Plot B house type covers 39% of the total plot area and the private rear garden space appears to be no more than 70sqm.
    Plot A house type covers 32.5% of the total plot area and the private rear garden space appears to be no more than 120sqm

    The house to plot ratio of Plot B is considered too large (39% and in both cases the private garden provision is considered to be disproportionately small compared to the size of house.

    The house at Plot B, being a two-storey building, on an elevated position and with a footprint of 155sqm is considered to be a building of scale and massing that is out of keeping with the constrained site and its surroundings.

    Both houses take up virtually the full width of each plot, and as the shape of the site is generally long and narrow, thee is very little room between external walls of the house on Plot A and rear/side elevations of neighbouring houses, in particular, No.4 Academy Street (which has a rear extension not shown on the site layout plan) and No.1 Buchan Park to the rear. Whilst the side elevation has minimal fenestration, this is a large area of blank gable in close proximity to existing houses.

    Both houses have a frontage onto the SUDs basin boundary, and whilst this is formed by a timber screen fence, the houses will be significantly visible above the fence. The Plot B house presents a blank gable to this side and Plot A has a single glazed door at ground level and a glazed door and W/C window at first floor level. The site’s aspect onto this western side, and its openness to public view offer the opportunity for the houses to be designed with elevational features that enhance the appearance of the site and surroundings. As currently proposed, the houses do not suitably address this open frontage.

    Given these concerns, the application in this form cannot be recommended for approval, however I would be happy to discuss the elements of a revised scheme that we could recommend for approval. This would entail withdrawal of the current application and resubmission of a revised scheme (exempt of a fee). I would be happy to discuss this with you in early course and a short meeting may be beneficial to try and agree design parameters, before a revised scheme is developed.

    I’d be grateful for your early response.


    • HomeOwners AllianceHomeOwners Alliance

      Dear John. Thanks for your comment. Have you thought of possibly engaging a planning consultant who might be able to help

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