Guidance

Crown development

Sets out special provisions for Crown development for dealing with security-sensitive information in planning applications.

Definitions of Crown land

What is ‘Crown land’?

Crown land is defined in section 293 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 as land in which there is a Crown interest or a Duchy interest.

‘Crown interest’ is defined as an interest belonging to Her Majesty in right of the Crown or in right of Her private estates, an interest belonging to a government department or held in trust for Her Majesty for the purposes of a government department, and such other interest as the Secretary of State specifies by order.

‘Duchy interest’ is defined as an interest belonging to Her Majesty in right of the Duchy of Lancaster or belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall.

All parts of the Palace of Westminster and both Houses of Parliament are either defined as Crown land or treated as if they were Crown land under the Planning (Application to the Houses of Parliament) Order 2006.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is ‘operational Crown land’ and which Crown bodies own or manage such land?

Operational Crown land is land owned or managed by Crown bodies which is used or held for operational purposes. These purposes relate to the carrying out of the functions of the Crown body. Operational Crown land benefits from the additional permitted development rights in Part 19 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

Examples of Crown bodies that have operational land include:

  • Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) and the Department for Transport – responsible for DVSA test stations;
  • the Ministry of Defence – responsible for a wide range of military bases, training and research facilities;
  • the Department for Culture, Media and Sport – responsible for the management of the occupied Royal Palaces and the Royal Parks, and for the unoccupied Royal Palaces, the management of which it has contracted out to Historic Royal Palaces;
  • the Security and Intelligence Agencies (comprising the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), the Security Service (MI5) and the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ));
  • the Ministry of Justice – responsible for Custodial (prison) estate, Courts and Approved Premises (otherwise known as Probation Hostels).
  • the Forestry Commission – responsible for the management of the Public Forest Estate.

Crown land that is effectively domestic land or private sector commercial land – for example a body’s own offices, Her Majesty’s private estates, land of the Duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall and the Crown Estate – do not form part of operational Crown land.

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Revision date: 28 07 2017 See previous version

Application to the Crown

Which planning rules apply to Crown development?

The Planning Acts apply to the Crown in a similar manner as they do to other applicants. This means that the Crown is normally required to apply to the local planning authority for planning permission, consent under a Tree Preservation Order, listed building consent, planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area and hazardous substances consent.

There are, however, certain provisions and arrangements in place to help facilitate critical development and restrict access to sensitive information, mainly in the interests of national security and defence. These include:

  • additional permitted development rights to enable the Crown and Crown bodies to carry out certain development without requiring a planning application to be made (including emergency development by the Crown and development for national security purposes);
  • arrangements for handling a planning application by the Crown when details of a proposed development cannot be disclosed in the interests of national security;
  • national security provisions to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information in a public inquiry; and
  • a special urgency procedure to speed up the process for determining a planning application for urgent Crown development.

See information on the meaning of ‘Crown land’, ‘operational Crown land’ and ‘Crown bodies’.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What about sensitive information in other planning applications?

In addition to applications from Crown bodies, sensitive information in other planning applications may also require protection.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Crown permitted development rights

What additional permitted development rights does the Crown have?

Crown bodies have additional permitted development rights to enable them to carry out certain development without requiring a planning application to be made. These are set out in Part 19 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

There are permitted development rights in relation to the following types of development (with various restrictions, conditions and qualifications):

  • Certain types of development by the Crown (Classes A-D)
  • Aviation development by the Crown (Classes E-L)
  • Crown railways, dockyards (etc) and lighthouses (Classes M-P)
  • Emergency development by the Crown (Class Q)
  • Development for national security purposes (Classes R-T)

For more information on permitted development rights, including the implications of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations, see ‘When is permission required?’.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Do these permitted development rights apply to all Crown land?

Some of the permitted development rights granted by Part 19, Classes A-P of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 only apply to operational Crown land and to operational Crown buildings.

The permitted development rights for ‘emergency development by the Crown’ and ‘development for national security purposes’ (Part 19, Classes Q-T) apply to all Crown land (including Her Majesty’s private estates, the Duchies and the Crown Estate).

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Why does operational Crown land have additional permitted development rights?

The additional permitted development rights for operational Crown land put Crown bodies that own and manage land used for operational purposes on a similar footing to other bodies such as local authorities (Part 12 of the General Permitted Development Order) and statutory undertakers (Parts 8, 13 and 15 of the General Permitted Development Order). These bodies also have permitted development rights to enable them to undertake certain works on their operational land or operational buildings for the purposes of their functions.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What additional permitted development rights does the Crown have in an emergency and when do these apply?

Part 19, Class Q, of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 relates to development by the Crown for the purposes of preventing an emergency or in response to an emergency. The permitted development rights apply to all Crown land, mainly to ensure that all the residences of the Sovereign and Her heirs are covered. It is also possible that the Crown Estate, for example as owners of the foreshore, may have to deal with an environmental emergency. An ‘emergency’ is defined as an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare (in a place), the environment (of a place) or the security of the United Kingdom.

When using these additional rights the developer must notify the local planning authority as soon as practicable after starting the development, and the development must cease and the land be restored to its original or an agreed condition within 6 months. If the Crown wishes the development to be permanent, it should submit a retrospective planning application as soon as possible.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What are the additional permitted development rights for national security purposes?

Part 19, Classes R-T, of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 permits certain types of development on any Crown land for national security purposes. These rights are available to all Crown bodies in order to cover the physical protection of the Sovereign and Her heirs (which is a matter of national security) as well as the security of the State.

The permitted development rights granted to the Crown depend on the nature of the works proposed and specific restrictions and qualifications apply.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Is a Crown body expected to publicise a proposal for permitted development?

Crown bodies should publicise proposals for permitted development where the development is likely to have a significant effect on the amenity and environment of an area. The Crown is encouraged to follow the guidance issued to statutory undertakers and inform the local planning authority and the public well in advance of commencement (although there is no statutory requirement to do so). This would be particularly worthwhile if the development is likely to have a substantial effect on a conservation area or a significant planning impact that goes beyond the confines of the development site.

These publicity arrangements are not recommended where a Crown body is exercising its permitted development rights for emergency development (Part 19, Class Q) or for national security purposes (Part 19, Classes R-T).

For more information on permitted development rights, see ‘When is permission required?’ and for more information on publicity requirements, see ‘Consultation and pre-decision matters’.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Can a local planning authority apply an article 4 Direction to restrict a Crown body’s permitted development rights?

In exceptional cases, a local planning authority may consider that normal planning controls should apply to a development that the Crown proposes to implement using its permitted development rights. In these cases, the local planning authority can make a direction under article 4 of the general permitted development order (an article 4 Direction).

An article 4 Direction cannot apply to ‘certain highway development’ by Highways England or the Secretary of State for Transport (permitted by Part 9, Class B of the General Permitted Development Order), ‘emergency development’ by the Crown or ‘development for national security purposes’.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

National security – permitted development rights

What types of Crown development are permitted for national security purposes?

The permitted development rights granted to the Crown in Part 19, Classes R-T of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 depend on the nature of the works undertaken and specific restrictions and qualifications apply.

  • Class R deals with the erection, construction, maintenance or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure.
  • Class S deals with closed circuit television cameras and associated lighting. These rights go beyond the normal permitted development rights for security purposes (granted by Part 2, Class F) by removing the restrictions on numbers, and allowing free-standing cameras and lighting.
  • Class T deals with electronic communications apparatus and is based on the permitted development rights given to telecommunications code system operators, with the following additional rights granted to the Crown:
    • equipment replaced on a like-for-like basis can exceed the size limits imposed on new installations if the replacement apparatus does not exceed the ‘original apparatus’ in size;
    • equipment can be installed on a wall or sloping roof within 20 metres of a public highway;
    • a prior approval procedure is not required hence the Crown does not have to submit proposals to the local planning authority before commencing development (unless this involves installing a mast within 3 kilometres of an aerodrome, in which case the Crown will have to give notice to the owner or tenants and relevant authorities in advance).

In the absence of a requirement for prior approval, development is subject to certain restrictions on intensification.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What are the restrictions on the intensification of electronic communications on Crown land?

The restrictions on intensification are given in Part 19 Class T.3 of the General Permitted Development Order. This specifies that apparatus can be installed on Crown land if there was already electronic communication apparatus in place on the site on the ‘relevant day’ (7 June 2006). If this is the case, only one additional item of standard apparatus can be installed (to match the ‘original apparatus’) but one extra piece of ‘small apparatus’ can be installed for every 4 items of original apparatus present on the site on the relevant day.

‘Small apparatus’ is defined in Class T.3 (3) and is subject to the following restrictions:

  • ground based equipment is limited to 7 metres in height, and 5 metres in diameter for dish antennae or 7 metres in diameter for ground works;
  • apparatus on buildings are limited to 3 metres in height, with a maximum 1.3 metre diameter allowed for dish antennae;
  • equipment housing is limited to 3 metres in height with a ground area of up to 9 square metres.

These intensification provisions are summarised as follows:

On non-article 2(3) land:

Pieces of existing apparatus Number of pieces of ‘original apparatus’ that may be installed Number of pieces of ‘small apparatus’ that may also be installed
0 – 3 1 0
4 - 7 1 1
8 - 11 1 2
12 - 15 1 3 etc

On article 2(3) land:

Pieces of existing apparatus Number of pieces of ‘original apparatus’ that may be installed Number of pieces of ‘small apparatus’ that may also be installed
0 0 0
1 - 3 1 0
4 - 7 1 1
8 - 11 1 2
12 - 15 1 3 etc

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

National security – applications

Can the Crown withhold details of a proposed development?

The Crown may choose not to disclose some of the details of a proposed development on the grounds that national security (or the security of premises or other property) might otherwise be compromised.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How can a local planning authority determine an application on which information is withheld by the Crown?

As a result of the Crown withholding certain details from a planning application, the local planning authority may lack the information necessary to make an informed decision and so either refuse to grant permission or fail to determine the application. If the Crown then appeals against the decision or failure to determine, it is likely that the Secretary of State would recover the appeal given the ‘significant implications’ of the application.

Alternatively, if the Crown is aware from the outset that the information which it has to withhold would be critical to the consideration of its application, it may ask the Secretary of State to call the application in for determination rather than wait to appeal once the local planning authority has refused or failed to determine the application.

If the application/appeal is subject to a public inquiry national security provisions may then be applied.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Why can the Secretary of State ‘call-in’ a planning application for Crown development?

Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 gives the Secretary of State the power to call in a planning application for determination. One of the current indicators for call-in is a case which may involve the interests of national security or of foreign governments. See further guidance on the Secretary of State’s powers to call-in an application.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

National security – procedure

What provisions are in place to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information in a public inquiry?

The Secretary of State can give a direction under section 321 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information at a public inquiry. This is called a ‘section 321 direction’ or a National Security Direction.

A section 321 direction restricts the right to hear or inspect particular evidence to particular people because it would not be in the national interest for such evidence to be disclosed to the general public. Evidence that is subject to the direction is known as ‘closed evidence’, ‘material’ or ‘information’.

If a direction is given, a special advocate (otherwise known in the legislation as an ‘appointed representative’) may be appointed to represent the interests of those prevented by the direction from hearing or inspecting closed information.

Equivalent provisions are set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (for listed building consent) and the Planning (Hazardous Substances) Act 1990 (for hazardous substances consent).

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

When can the Secretary of State issue a section 321 direction?

The Secretary of State can only issue a section 321 direction where satisfied that the giving of evidence, or its disclosure, would be likely to result in the disclosure of information about national security or the security of premises or other property and that public disclosure of that information would be contrary to the national interest.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Who can request a section 321 direction?

Any of the parties with an interest in the application can ask the Secretary of State to give a section 321 direction, but it will normally be the developing department owning the closed material that is likely to make such a request. A Crown body might also ask for a section 321 direction as an objector to a planning application for a development by a third party where the evidence in opposition to the development involves matters of national security (or the security of premises or property).

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What happens if a request for a section 321 direction is denied?

The decision about whether or not to give a section 321 direction rests with the Secretary of State, with no right of challenge other than by means of judicial review. If the Secretary of State decides not to give such a direction, the owner of the closed material must either allow that material to be inspected or heard in accordance with the normal arrangements or withdraw the application or objection.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How are requests for section 321 directions publicised?

The Secretary of State is required to publicise any request for a section 321 direction. As well as stating that a request has been made, the notification must also specify the date by which any representations as to whether a direction should be given have to be made to the Secretary of State. This date will be at least 14 days from the date when the notice is given.

Further details of the publicity arrangements can be found in Rule 6 of the Planning (National Security Directions and Appointed Representatives) (England) Rules 2006.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What if there are objections to a request for a section 321 direction?

If publicity elicits relevant objections to the direction, the Secretary of State may consider the objections and decide whether to give the direction. If the Secretary of State is in any doubt, he or she will forward all openly available documents to the Attorney General with a request to appoint a special advocate to represent all those parties who have objected to the direction (and who have no right of access to the closed information).

After the special advocate has taken instructions from those persons whom he or she has been appointed to represent, the Secretary of State will forward the closed material to the advocate. The special advocate will then submit written representations on the application for a direction to the Secretary of State, who will decide whether to issue the direction on the basis of these, or following a private hearing. Any hearing would only be attended by the special advocate and the body owning the closed material.

Rules 8 to 11 of the Planning (National Security Directions and Appointed Representatives) (England) Rules 2006 set out other arrangements for conducting a hearing and assessing written representations.

Once the Secretary of State has decided whether to make a direction, the decision (including a copy of the direction, if given) will be sent to everyone who had made representations or been heard.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is the procedure for a local inquiry when a section 321 direction has been given?

Once the direction has been given, the Secretary of State asks the Attorney General to appoint a special advocate to represent the interests of those prevented from hearing or inspecting particular evidence at the inquiry. If a special advocate was appointed to represent objectors to the request for a section 321 direction, a different special advocate would be appointed for the inquiry so that he or she can take instructions without having prior knowledge of the closed material.

The special advocate must take instructions before receiving the closed evidence but may discuss this evidence with the person who supplied it to the Secretary of State or anyone named in the direction.

The special advocate will make submissions to the inspector at the local inquiry on behalf of the person or persons they are representing, and cross-examine witnesses to the extent allowed by the inspector under the relevant Inquiries Procedure Rules. The special advocate may also call witnesses to give evidence on land use matters and, at the close of the inquiry, will be responsible for returning any closed material to the person who supplied it.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Who pays for the services of the special advocate?

The Secretary of State has the power to direct any person interested in the inquiry to pay the fees and expenses of the special advocate. This will generally be the owners of the closed evidence or whoever asked for the section 321 direction.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What rules must the inquiry abide by?

When a special advocate has been appointed, the inquiry must follow the relevant Inquiries Procedure Rules. These exclude the question of security clearance to access the material, which is an administrative matter. The rules also do not formally apply to appeals in relation to hazardous substances consent, which should still follow the spirit of the rules.

The rules ensure that:

  • there are provisions to restrict closed material to those named in the direction (likely to be the inspector, the special advocate and the representatives of the owners of that material);
  • the inspector has the discretion to hold separate ‘open’ and ‘closed’ sessions; and
  • for site visits that include closed material, the inspector is accompanied by the representative of the owner of that material and the special advocate representing the excluded persons.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How is sensitive information protected in the Inspector’s Report?

For public inquiries that are subject to a section 321 direction, there are 2 versions of the Inspector’s Report (and any assessor’s report) and the Secretary of State’s decision letter. The ‘open’ version would be sent to all interested parties, but the ‘closed’ version, which discusses the closed material, would only be sent to the owner of the closed material and the special advocate.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Urgent applications

Can Crown development be determined as a matter of urgency?

There is a special procedure to speed up the process for determining a planning application where there is an urgent need for the Crown to undertake a particular development. This special urgency procedure is set out in section 293A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

If invoked, the special urgency procedure allows the developing body to make a planning application direct to the Secretary of State rather than to the local planning authority. The procedure to be followed is then similar to that of an application that has been called-in by the Secretary of State.

Section 82B of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 sets out a similar procedure for urgent applications for works to listed buildings on Crown land. There are no urgency provisions under the Hazardous Substances Act.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

When can the Crown use the special urgency procedure?

To invoke the special urgency procedure, the relevant Crown body promoting the development must be able to certify both that it is of national importance and that it is required as a matter of urgency.

The procedure may be invoked, for example, when it has become clear as a result of pre-application discussions between the Crown body and the local planning authority that planning permission is likely to be refused. This may be because the proposal is not in accordance with the local development plan or the proposed development is controversial locally. The tone of the inquiry that would ensue would therefore be similar to a recovered appeal.

The special urgency provisions may also be applied to an application that is subject to national security provisions in which case both the National Security Protocol and the modified Inquiries Procedure Rules would apply.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is the Crown body required to do when applying for urgent development under the special urgency procedure?

1) Advertise the application

Before making the application to the Secretary of State, the Crown body must advertise its intention in at least one newspaper local to the development, including a description of the proposed development.

2) Certify the scheme

The Crown body must certify in writing that the scheme is of national importance and is urgently required.

3) Complete an application

The application must include each of the following:

  • a completed application form (available from the local planning authority);
  • a statement of the case for making the application;
  • an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) where this would be required if the application were being made to the local planning authority; and
  • any further information (should this be requested by the Secretary of State to enable the application to be determined).

4) Submit the application and certification

Although the application form can be sent electronically through Planning Portal, a hard copy of the certification must be sent to the Planning Inspectorate. Without it, neither section 293A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 nor section 82B of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act) 1990 would apply.

The certification and application should be sent to the Planning Inspectorate at:

MSC Division (Crown Development Applications)
Room 4/04
Kite Wing
Temple Quay House
2 The Square
Temple Quay
Bristol BS1 6PN

A copy of each should also be sent to the relevant local planning authority and the Planning Central Casework Division at:

Divisional Manager
Planning Central Casework Division
Department for Communities and Local Government
Floor 3/SE
Fry Building
2 Marsham Street
London SW1P 4DF

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How is the public informed of urgent applications for Crown development?

The Secretary of State has to make copies of the statement of case, any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and any other further information which has been requested available for public inspection. However, where the Secretary of State has given a direction on national security grounds, the closed material does not have to be made available for public inspection.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is the role of the local planning authority in the special urgency procedure?

The Planning Inspectorate will ask the relevant local planning authority to act as agent for the Secretary of State and provide assistance as required. In particular, as the Inspectorate has no local presence, the local planning authority will be asked to assist with local advertisements, site notices and notifying adjoining properties to fulfil the publicity requirements set out in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.

It is also the local planning authority’s responsibility to enter details of the application onto the planning register within 14 days of receiving notification from the Secretary of State of any application made under the urgency provisions. The national security provisions may also apply.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is the process for determining an urgent application for Crown development?

The Secretary of State determines the application in the same way as a local planning authority would – in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Prior to determination, the Secretary of State has to consult the local planning authority for the area in which the proposed development is located, as well as relevant statutory consultees. These are listed in the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 and include parish councils for these types of application.

The special urgency procedure is intended to be similar to the exercise of the Secretary of State’s call-in powers under section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. Therefore very similar provisions apply. In particular, this means that the Secretary of State has to give the applicant and the local planning authority an opportunity to be heard at a local inquiry. This also means that the Secretary of State’s decision is final and cannot be the subject of any legal proceedings, except as provided in Part 12 of that Act.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How are fees paid for urgent applications for Crown development?

The Crown has undertaken to pay fees for urgent applications directly to the Secretary of State. The fee to be paid is the same amount that would have been payable to the relevant local planning authority.

Further details can be found in the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012, as amended.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What happens if an urgent application for Crown development is subject to public inquiry?

If an urgent application for Crown development is subject to a public inquiry, the Town and Country Planning (Inquiries Procedure) (England) Rules 2000 apply, with some variations from the normal time-periods specified. For example, the period allowed for the lead-up to the inquiry where no pre-inquiry meeting is required is reduced from the normal minimum period of 22 weeks to 14 weeks. The Rules also apply to urgent applications for listed building consent.

After the inquiry, the Inspector will report to the Secretary of State who will then consider that report and issue the decision in line with the usual arrangements for called-in applications.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Sensitive information in planning applications

Why might a planning application contain sensitive information?

Bodies such as the diplomatic community and owners of critical national infrastructure may submit planning applications that contain sensitive information. These applications will often concern improvements to the physical security of the premises and may contain information which the applicant wishes the local planning authority to consider, but which the applicant does not wish to be made available on the planning register.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What can an applicant do if details of a proposed development are particularly sensitive?

Before submitting a planning application, the applicant can discuss the status of sensitive information relating to a proposed development with the relevant local planning authority. If the local planning authority does not require this particular information to make a decision, then it can be omitted from the planning application. Otherwise, the applicant can follow the guidance set out below, if necessary.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How can sensitive information in a planning application be protected?

The applicant can request that the local planning authority does not publicise the application on their website (if that is their practice) and that sensitive information is kept separately from the main Register, so that it is only available on special request. Although applications for listed building consent do not have to be placed on a register, they are likely to accompany a planning application that does and should be treated in the same way.

It should be noted that, although this applies to applications made to the local planning authority, there is no power (other than through securing a section 321 Direction) to exclude any subsequent appeal and the documents relating to it, such as site plans, from the normal publicity arrangements.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What is an applicant advised to do if their planning application contains sensitive information?

The prospective applicant is advised to do the following:

  • Take advice from an appropriate security adviser before submitting the application. This may be a police Special Branch or Counter-Terrorism security adviser or a security adviser from the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure.
  • Contact the relevant local planning authority to agree the name of an officer to whom the application will be sent.
  • Only submit the application on paper, with sensitive information placed in an annex so that it can be detached and kept separately from the planning register.
  • Attach a covering letter to the application, requesting that the local planning authority makes arrangements to protect sensitive information. The letter will need to be endorsed by the applicant’s security adviser.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What arrangements can the local planning authority make when handling sensitive information?

Any arrangements adopted by the local planning authority should be designed to give maximum protection to sensitive information consistent with the local planning authority’s statutory obligations to put the planning application on the planning register.

The local planning authority is advised:

  • not to scan the paper applications or place them on its website;
  • not to scan other documents generated up to and including design stage, or place them on its website or store them on networked devices;
  • if statutory consultees are required, request that they treat the paper application in the same way as described above;
  • ask for proof of name and address of anyone making a request to inspect this part of the register. If the local planning authority suspects that the person may not be acting in good faith, it should consult the security adviser who previously endorsed the planning application;
  • exercise appropriate discretion at planning committee meetings by preventing the public from attending; and
  • exclude sensitive information from any report or minutes for the meeting, or other documents made available for inspection by the public.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

How can the public be notified of a planning decision without disclosing sensitive information?

Notification of the decision must be given and the decision placed on the planning register in accordance with articles 35 and 40 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015. It should be possible to do so without compromising any sensitive information.

If planning permission is granted subject to conditions, or if the application is refused, the decision notice must state clearly and precisely the full reasons for each condition imposed or for the refusal. If this cannot be done without referring to the sensitive information, it would be helpful to prepare the decision notice in 2 parts so that the part containing the sensitive information can be kept separately from the main planning register.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

What happens if an application for sensitive development reaches public inquiry?

If the application is refused, the applicant may consider applying to the Secretary of State for a ‘section 321 direction’.

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Revision date: 06 03 2014

Published 6 March 2014
Last updated 28 July 2017 + show all updates
  1. Amended paragraph 002.
  2. First published.