Know your options if your planning application is refused

Knowing your options should you find yourself in a situation where your planning application has been refused, or there are conditions attached to your planning approval which you don’t think are reasonable will allow you to make informed decisions on how to proceed.

‘If in doubt, kick it out’ you may not have heard the saying but some Councils do adopt this approach in terms of dealing with planning applications. If your application is refused know your options. This short article will look at how to approach appealing your planning refusal.  If you are refused planning permission, you are entitled to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate, an impartial government body independent of your local Council.


Whilst planning appeals are free to submit, they cause delays, are time consuming and could incur additional costs. Engage with your local planning authority regarding alternative development to potentially avoid a planning appeal. Could your plans be amended to something which the Council (and you) would be happy with, if so this could save a lot of time and uncertainty.


If you do embark on a planning appeal, be aware of what evidence you and the Council have to support both sides of the argument. Planning policies relevant to your site will be critical when forming your planning case for an appeal, so make sure you know how they relate to your site.

Every planning refusal should have an officer’s report (Committee or delegated) which outlines the proposal, planning policies and material planning considerations associated with your proposal. These are generally part of the Council’s online planning application. Reading the officer’s report will help you focus on the reason you’re appealing.

Look for similar developments or appeals which could support your case (via the Appeal Casework Portal or via an internet search), referring to similar cases could assist the Planning Inspector in weighing up your proposal.


Applications for award of costs can be made by either party in the appeal process, so be aware the Council could apply for their costs associated with the appeal to be paid by you (although rare this can happen). However, you can also make an application for award of costs if you believe the Council have acted unreasonably. Be realistic in any application for costs, just because you disagree with the planning outcome doesn’t mean the Council have been unreasonable, refer to the Planning Inspectorate website for more information.

Be aware of any additional costs such as technical report costs, legal agreements (s106), Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) etc. For instance, if a scheme was refused due to traffic impact, you may wish to commission a transport study to support your appeal.

If a legal agreement (s106) is required to secure planning obligations you must submit this (or Unilateral Undertaking) along with your appeal. If you omit an agreement the Planning Inspectorate will not allow your appeal even if they were inclined to do so.

Take a look at our blog Hidden Costs of Planning


When finalising your appeal submission collate any supporting documents and have plans, form etc, they can be submitted online via the Planning Inspectorates Portal. Your grounds of appeal must fully disclose your case through full representations and any supporting evidence. The grounds of appeal must be concise, clear and comprehensive.


It is of paramount importance that you are aware of the deadlines which are set by the Planning Inspectorate, there is generally no scope to alter these – a deadline missed could put a nail in the coffin of your planning appeal.

On a final note, don’t despair if your appeal fails, take stock and read the Inspectors report to determine if there is an alternative development you can progress. If in doubt seek assistance.

Related Content

Should you receive a refusal for your planning proposals knowing your options is important, don’t worry…we’ve covered this in an eBook about Appeals.

Plannig Appeals - know your options
What do you do if your planning application is refused?