What happens if my planning application is refused

You may have produced a great design that ticks at the planning boxes, but still find that your proposed development still comes up short. If your planning application is refused, you have four options.

Your first option is to resubmit a tweaked plan under the free go mechanism. A free go is where the planning office will allow for an application to be resubmitted with changes upon issuing a refusal or just before they issue a refusal. The idea is that where a proposed scheme gets pretty close to something that the council can support, homeowners are given the chance to make alterations in accordance with Planner’s feedback, and do so without incurring addition fees. Generally speaking, if their suggestions are implemented, permission would probably be granted.

If the initial proposal falls beyond the bounds of practicable adjustments under a free go, then your second option is to submit an alternative proposal. Any alternative scheme would be treated as new application. It should be sufficiently different from the original, comply to planning guidelines and take on board the Planner’s feedback which accompanied the original refusal. For example if a hip-to-gable loft conversion was deemed too over-burdensome to the street scene, then submitting an alternative proposal with only a rear dormer may be more acceptable.

If you cannot stomach the idea of compromising on your dream extension with tweaks and alternatives, then your third option would be to formally appeal the decision to refuse your application. The local authority will cite specific reasons for why your planning application was refused. If you feel that the submission was strong, meeting all requisite criteria and that the grounds of refusal were unmerited, then you may have a case to appeal the decision. You would make your appeal to the Planning Inspectorate; an independent body who will impartially re-assess the original application as well as the grounds of refusal and decide whether to overturn or uphold the refusal. On average 1 in 3 appeals are successful. Although you can appeal yourself, it is advised to use a specialist appeals consultant who understands the planning nuances and undulations of your particular area.

Fourthly you could do nothing and simply accept the decision. There will be times and circumstances in which challenging a refused application is folly and no amount of design calisthenics will shift the needle from red to green. For example if your property is listed or is home to a protected wildlife species, you’re not going to get plans approved. Likewise if the local authority have an article 4 direction in play or their published planning policy is obviously contrary to what you want to achieve, then the writing’s on the wall.

So if your planning application is refused, you now know the options for what to do next. Finding the best option is dependent upon the terms of refusal and on your determination to get what you want (or some form of it.)

If you would like some free planning advice, get in touch with us.