Called-in planning applications

Guide to called-in planning applications

1. Overview

Your local planning authority makes decisions on planning applications. The Secretary of State has the power to direct the local planning authority to refer an application to him for decision. This is what is meant by a ‘called-in’ application.

There’s no further fee when an application is called-in.

You and the local planning authority will be told that the application has been called-in. Anyone can comment on or take part in an inquiry on the application.

You should read the Planning Inspectorate’s Procedural Guide: Called-in planning applications – England. It provides full details of the Planning Inspectorate’s requirements and expectations.

2. What happens when an application has been called-in

When your application is called-in the Planning Inspectorate will ask for a copy of the application and all accompanying documents and plans. They will confirm that an inquiry will be held and that it will follow a bespoke timetable which will be agreed with you and the local planning authority.

Documents you must provide

In accordance with the timetable, you must submit:

  • a statement of case
  • a statement of common ground
  • an agreed set of core documents
  • proofs of evidence

3. Comment on a called-in planning application

Anyone can comment on or, at the discretion of the appointed Inspector, take part in an inquiry on a called-in planning application. Find the case on the Appeals Casework Portal. The deadline for comments will be in accordance with the bespoke timetable. Your local planning authority must tell anyone who has commented on the application (‘interested parties’) that it has been called-in. They have to do this within 2 weeks from the initial letter from the Planning Inspectorate.

Read the detailed guidance about taking part in an appeal.

4. After the inquiry has been held

A timetable for the Secretary of State’s decision will be set and the Inspector will write a report which will contain his or her conclusions and recommendation on whether planning permission should be granted (with or without conditions) or refused. The report will be sent to the Secretary of State to make the decision taking into account the Inspector’s recommendation. When the Secretary of State has reached a decision, this will be explained in the decision letter. This letter will normally be sent by the Planning Casework team in London, which is part of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

If anyone behaves unreasonably

You can apply for an ‘award of costs’ if anyone involved in your called-in planning application has cost you money by behaving unreasonably, eg missing deadlines. You can have costs awarded against you too.

You can complain about how the Planning Inspectorate handled your called-in planning application. There’s no time limit for complaints.

5. If you disagree with the Secretary of State’s decision

You can challenge the decision in the High Court if you think the Planning Inspectorate made a legal mistake.

Get advice from a lawyer if you’re unsure about this.

6. Contact

Contact The Planning Inspectorate

Published 1 January 2012