The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government has the power to take over (‘call in’) planning applications rather than letting the local authority decide. The secretary of state will normally only do this if the application conflicts with national policy in important ways, or is nationally significant.
He or she has to take published government policy into account when deciding whether or not to call in a planning application, and when making the decision. If the secretary of state decides to call in a planning application, an inspector is appointed to carry out an inquiry into the proposal. The secretary of state has to take the inspector’s findings into account when making the decision.
The following documents comprise the policy that is taken into consideration when a decision is made on whether to call in an application:
Written Answers 16 June 1999
Written Ministerial Statement 26 October 2012
Planning appeals can also be ‘recovered’ for decision by ministers. A recovered appeal is one where instead of an inspector making the decision, he or she will write a report that will make a recommendation on how the appeal should be determined. This will then be passed to the secretary of state to make the decision, taking into account the inspector’s recommendation.
The following documents comprise the policy that is taken into consideration when a decision is made on whether to recover a planning appeal:
Written Ministerial Statement (recovery criteria) 30 June 2008
Written Ministerial Statement (neighborhood planning) 9 July 2015
Written Ministerial Statement (onshore oil and gas) 16 September 2015