Avoiding Costs at Appeal

There is only one thing worse than losing a planning appeal, and that is having costs awarded against you. The outcome of an appeal doesn’t automatically result in a costs award, it requires a party to have behaved unreasonably and for the other party to have incurred wasted expense.

In one recent case in Devon, a costs award was made against the Appellant to pay the Council’s costs, which is quite a rare occurrence. After reading on, it transpired that the Appellant had failed to supply the Council with information requested part way through considering a planning application. This can be frustrating yes, but in this instance, it appeared a straightforward request that should have been picked up in validation. Fast forward, and the application was refused, an appeal dismissed, and the Appellant was on the wrong side of a costs award.

“I therefore find that unreasonable behaviour resulting in unnecessary and wasted expense in the appeal process has been demonstrated and that a full award of costs is justified.”

It is important to have the right professional planning advice, during an application and at appeal. If you have a costs application made against you, it is vital to put forward a robust defence to prevent appeal becoming even more costly.

Inspire Planning Solutions have a 100% perfect record of success on costs application. We have won costs against both a London Borough and a West Midlands Council in just the last few weeks alone, as they were both found to have behaved unreasonably.

If you have had a bad planning experience with a Council, please contact us for advice and guidance on your possible next steps.

New Primary School Planning Application – Crawley, West Sussex

We have recently submitted a detailed planning application in Broadfield, Crawley, for a new primary school and nursery with a capacity for 180 pupils aged 2-11. The applicant is seeking to establish a primary education facility (an independent faith school), including nursery/early years provision with an ancillary Community Café plus a book store with an educational shop.

We were appointed to manage the submission of the application and provide Planning Consultancy services, liaising closely with our project partners, Blackstone Architects and DTPC Transport Consultants, in the preparation of the scheme. This approach was used to ensure that we had the right specialisms and expertise resulting in the submission of a favourable development proposal.

The development will result in the regeneration of a prominent site, in addition to addressing the aspirations of the local resident community by providing an additional quality primary education facility. This will be a high-quality development featuring undercroft parking with a public square incorporating a water feature. The design has taken into consideration the context of the site, as well as ensuring that there would be no unacceptable impacts on local amenities or on the highway network.

We are looking forward to working closely with Crawley Council and managing the application throughout the entire planning process and beyond!

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd is an established Chartered Town Planning Consultancy providing wide-ranging assistance for planning applications and appeals.

For any planning advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email info@inspireplanning.co.uk

Building in the Green Belt

Whenever building in the Green Belt is mentioned, visions of vast housing estates comes to mind, where there once was fields. However, careful consideration during the planning phase and working within the framework of current planning legislation, can result in an appropriate and sustainable development that benefits the local community.

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd has recently secured planning permission in a designated Green Belt area for the erection of a new dwelling in Chorley, Lancashire.

This particular scheme involves the demolition of the existing single storey stables and storage buildings and the redevelopment of the site for a detached dwelling. As the site had already been identified as ‘brownfield’, due to the stabling of horses rather than agriculture, redevelopment was a viable option.

We were approached by the Architect, Blue Chip Architecture who had been asked to look at the re-design of a previous approval on the site for a new house. The client was looking for a distinctive property with a contemporary design, which included features such as a glazed front gable and with a reconfigured internal layout to provide a more modern open plan form of living, to take full advantage of the site’s rural aspect adjacent to open countryside.

In presenting a carefully crafted argument and referring to the disparate nature of the existing structures, we were able to demonstrate that the proposal, despite the increase in size, would result in a more compact form of development, and would not “have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt” as required by the National Planning Policy Framework (Paragraph 89).

The application received support from the Planning Officer and our client is now looking forward to building their dream home!

If you are looking to maximise the potential of a site, it’s important to present an effective planning case – Green Belt designation does not necessarily mean your planning application will be refused.

For development advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email info@inspireplanning.co.uk

Another Planning Success – Chelmsford, Essex

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd has secured planning permission for an attractive development of 9 apartments in Chelmsford, Essex, which involves the demolition of a large dwelling house, being replaced by a 3 storey new build scheme.

Through a close working relationship with the Council, we provided project management and planning consultancy services, which were instrumental in guiding this scheme through to a positive outcome. This compromised a number of pre-application discussions, careful research to formulate a planning argument, and responsiveness to consultee feedback during the planning process.

The application received support from members of the local community with one person commenting that: “these flats will give the opportunity to people like me to get on the housing ladder”, demonstrating that the demand for housing, when combined with a well thought out development can get the backing from wide-ranging stakeholders.

Our Planning Consultant, Thomas Konarski, commented on the success adding, “underused sites in the urban areas can be turned into opportunities with the right vision and team“.

For residential development advice and support please contact us by calling 0161 428 0445 or by email info@inspireplanning.co.uk

Walkden Housing Development

Inspire Planning Solutions have been working on a new family housing development project in Walkden, being submitted to Salford Council for planning approval.

We’ve been working closely with award winning architects, Corstorphine + Wright Architects Ltd, to submit plans for the high-quality development comprising of 17 semi-detached homes and 4 spacious apartments.

Walkden, 20 minutes from Manchester City Centre, has been earmarked by Salford Council as a key location to meet future housing needs and this development will provide quality housing in fast growing and desirable area.

This is another example of how our numerous years of planning experience in both public and private sectors, along with our bespoke, impartial, non-nonsense and personal approach, helps deliver high-quality housing development projects.

Why YOU should appeal!

Refusal, in whatever form is disappointing.

As far as your planning application is concerned, it need not be the end of your project as there is a right of appeal to the Planning Inspectorate. According to the Planning Inspectorate’s records, on average, one appeal in three is successful and this rate has remained broadly constant over many years.

If you disagree with your local Council’s decision, you can appeal within 6 months from the decision notice date.

At Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd, we can review your application and provide advice on the chances of success at appeal, or if an amended form of development would stand a better possibility of obtaining consent.

We have vast experience in all types of appeals including householder, written representation appeals, hearings and public inquiries, and we’ll advise on the most appropriate appeal method to avoid wasting time and money.

If you would like some impartial advice, please call us today on 0161 428 0445 or complete our contact form by clicking on this link 

Housing Crisis – one possible solution

Whilst browsing through my July issue of The Planner, I came across a rather refreshing article – an interview with Brian Berry, the Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders (FMB), who represents thousands of small-medium sized (SME) UK construction firms.

The article asks the question, are small builders the answer to our housing crisis?

With the release in February of the latest housing white paper, the Government has finally realised that a way to ease our housing crisis is to use more SME builders. If implemented, this one change to the system of allocating a range of sites including small parcels of land would go some way in addressing our housing problems.

The FMB agrees with the white paper and believes small and medium sized house builders can make a much bigger contribution to the building of new homes if smaller plots of land were made available to the smaller construction firms.

Today, many local authority house plans (outside of National Parks,) allocate larger sites which are far beyond the reach of our smaller building firms and which only larger firms can take on due to the large costs in development. Smaller land allocation plots and less ‘red tape’ will help SME builders plug the gap to try and meet our ever-growing need for additional housing.

Is there a catch to this proposed change in strategy…YES! Anyone involved in the preparation of local plans will testify to the lengthy, resource intensive process of evidence gathering, consultation and assessment of sites. Local authority planning departments need properly resourcing – not only front-line development management handling planning applications, but also planning policy teams producing strategic plans that are workable, realistic and achievable. Investment in more personnel is also a critical part in this complex jigsaw – even more if there are many (smaller) sites to consider.

To answer the question are SME builders the answer to our housing crisis? We, at Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd, agree with Brian Berry and the FMB – release more appropriate sized plots of land and more people will achieve their dream of having their own property.

Another Enforcement Notice Overturned on Appeal

Farooq and the team have achieved a rare feat in the world of planning – we have helped secure the withdrawal of a Council’s  Enforcement Notice.

This case has proved to be a very painful lesson for the local authority. Rather than listening to objections by vociferous neighbours, it is important that Councils make fair and subjective decisions on planning applications.

Had the Council recognised their mistake and investigated the application in a sensible manner, they would have saved not just themselves, but the property owner and the Planning Inspectorate, a lot of time and money. It could now become even more painful, as future proposals indicate the Council may have to reimburse the Planning Inspectorate’s costs as well.

We’re hoping that this example might just install more discipline to all those involved in the planning process.

If you find yourself in a similar situation and would like some advice on how to submit a planning appeal, then please contact us today.

Planning permission granted and Enforcement Notice quashed for a London business



Inspire Planning Solutions expertise has won an appeal against an Enforcement Notice on behalf of Hi-Tech Motor Centre in North London.

We were approached by the Car Body Repair & M.O.T centre in February following the issuing of an Enforcement Notice served by the London Borough of Haringey Council. The Notice followed a refusal of retrospective consent for alterations undertaken to the roof above the vehicle service garage, dating back to October 2014.

The Council was of the opinion that the revised roof form had an adverse effect on the amenity of a neighbouring first floor flat by reason of a material loss of outlook. In presenting our case, we were able to effectively demonstrate that while the revised roof form has slightly increased the overall height of the roof, the adjacent flat continued to benefit from good levels of natural day light and a reasonable outlook would still be guaranteed. We also further advanced the benefits of the revised roof form from an environmental and economic point of view. The Inspector agreed with the case we presented, concluding:


“On balance, I consider that the Alterations do not have any significant adverse impact on residential amenity of the occupiers of the flats at Nos. 484 or 486. There is no other evidence before me that the Alterations have any significant impact on the residential amenity enjoyed by any other residential occupiers living nearby including those at Willow Court. Accordingly, I find no conflict with the relevant parts of the Development Plan.”


As the Enforcement Notice has been quashed and consent granted, our Client is looking forward to getting back to concentrate on their business. If you’re looking to appeal against a planning application refusal or Enforcement Notice, we have the expertise to help you. Get in touch with us now and see how our experienced team can help you.

Plans approved for new entertainment facility in Leeds



Inspire Planning Solutions expertise has helped secure permission for a Leeds Entertainment Centre.

We were approached by the Project Architect during the course of the planning application after the Council requested a Sequential Test Assessment to be undertaken for the 16,000 square feet former furniture showroom.  As the intended use – like other leisure facilities such as gyms are identified as a ‘main town centre uses’ by the National Planning Policy Framework, the out of centre location of the site needed to be justified.

Given our experience on leisure developments, we undertook an extensive search of properties and were able to demonstrate that none were available, suitable or viable. The Council agreed that there were no sequentially preferable sites, paving the way for the application to be approved!

Now all that remains is for use to try out the new adventure facilities, which include different fictional sets with various challenges. Let’s hope escaping from locked rooms is as easy for us as gaining planning permission!

Inspire Planning Solutions Ltd works across the Country in providing technical reports to address planning policy requirements. If you are looking to develop a site or have been requested to provide the Council with further information, please get in touch. The timely provision of information can  avoid delay and expense and avoid the need for an appeal.