Deadlines for planning decisions

Deadlines for planning decisions

“A recent High Court case that was handed down on 31 July 2019 has provided clarification of a technical point of planning law that could have significant ramifications in some specific cases”, advises Brian Dinnis of Acorn Rural Property Consultants.

“Under the Town and Country Planning Act, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) has a target date of 8 weeks (56 days) to determine a planning application. After that deadline has passed, an applicant can either agree a further period of time for the LPA to determine the application or appeal on the grounds of non-determination, in which case the application will be dealt with by a planning inspector”, explains Dinnis.

“For permitted development rights, such as applications under Class Q for the change of use of agricultural buildings to residential use, the position is different and unless the LPA refuses a prior approval application as not meeting the requirements of the relevant class, informs the applicant that prior approval is not required or grants prior approval within the 56 day period, planning permission is deemed to be granted and the development can go ahead in accordance with the application made as long as it meets the qualifying requirements for the specified class of permitted development”, says Dinnis.

In the recent court case, the LPA had asked the applicant to agree to an extension of time beyond the 56 day period to determine a Class Q application. The applicant reluctantly agreed, and the LPA subsequently refused the application. The applicant then sought permission for a judicial review of the decision on the ground that they had deemed consent and could proceed with the development. The judge agreed.

“Although not a surprising decision, the case is useful in reinforcing the importance of the 56 day time limit for LPAs to determine permitted development rights prior approval applications and will clearly be highly relevant to any applicants where that deadline has been exceeded”, concludes Dinnis.

For further information on any rural planning matters please contact Brian Dinnis on 01884 212380 or at

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