Proposal to Cut Back on Planning Appeals Looks Risky

The Prime Minister, in a speech to the CBI has announced the Government is looking at whether the right to appeal against planning decisions should be limited, so as to speed up the whole process, essentially by bringing in measures to reduce the number of what are called judicial reviews. But anyone hoping to benefit as a result anytime soon needs to be realistic. Says   Shaun Underhill a partner in Winchester base solicitor Shentons: “As the saying goes, the Government want to be careful what they wish for. It’s difficult to see how a significant reduction in the number of judicial reviews can be achieved without reducing the time period in which reviews can be requested and/or fast tracking the legal process in the Administrative Court. It seems a roundabout and complicated way of achieving better economic competitiveness in the here and now”

Under the proposal, which the government is now seeking to put out to consultation, there could be a range of measures including shortening time periods, adjusting fees, and restricting opportunities to seek oral reconsideration. Shaun Underhill comments: “One thing is clear: this is not going to happen overnight. Not only is it more complicated than it at first seems, but there is the potential for a clash with EU environmental protection law, which could lead to further litigation and legal challenge. This one could run and run.”