Planning & Environment

My voyage of discovery into the new planning appeal procedures continues. Following the pre-examination meeting, the reporter issued a procedure notice confirming his provisional view that there will be an inquiry to discuss planning policy and related need arguments, and a hearing on conditions. So onto preparing the inquiry statement (no more statements of case) and then the challenge of the 2000 word precognitions.

Having grown up in Milngavie, I’ve been keeping an eye on Tesco’s appeal for a new store there. Tesco had asked for an inquiry to cover all the reasons for refusal, because the refusal was contrary to officer recommendation, and fairness required Tesco to have the right to fully cross-examine the decision makers to test the robustness of the reasons for refusal. Rather old-school I felt, given the lack of explanation of why a written exchange of views would not be sufficient. The reporter obviously had a similar view, as he decided to hold inquiry sessions to examine only retail and transportation impacts. A hearing will deal with overall design issues.

These cases show that reporters do still have appetite for holding planning inquiries, but on a more restricted remit than pre-reform.

Neil Collar

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