The reporters’ new powers to determine appeal procedure have already caused some controversy – see the comments on a previous posting. We’ve looked into the DPEA’s practice in determining procedure:
Although parties are allowed to request a particular procedure, the DPEA’s practice, even where their decision is contrary to the parties’ request, is not to issue any formal procedural decision. However, they do acknowledge that they would have to give reasons for their decision if asked to do so. When an appeal is received, the DPEA’s administrators make an initial assessment on procedure – and this is published on the DPEA appeals website usually very soon after the receipt of the appeal. The assessment is not made by a reporter, and is not informed by the planning authority’s response, but we understand that the reporter will review the assessment once the appeal file has been allocated to him/her.
So, what we suggest is that parties keep an eye on the DPEA website. If the procedure that appears there is not satisfactory, there is nothing to stop you from writing to ask for the reasons for the procedure selected, and set out reasons for your preferred procedure – you may be able to influence a reporter casting a fresh eye over the file.
The DPEA has (unpublished) internal guidance on choice of procedure, available on request from them – and this might assist in making your case.
On February 9, 2010