Planning appeals and inquiries

In circumstances where the planning application process has not provided the expected outcome, the UK planning system offers applicants the opportunity of a planning appeal to an independent party – in most cases via the Planning Inspectorate.

Just like there are different types of planning application, there are different types of planning appeals, including householder appeals, enforcement appeals, listed building appeals and so on.

As in the case of planning applications, we can manage the full planning appeal process on your behalf. We have vast experience of progressing the full range of planning appeal work through all current means, including written representations, hearings, or inquiries.

We have experience of working with clients on major planning applications that have gone to a planning appeal and a full planning inquiry. We also have direct access to a wide range of legal partners and chambers which means we can instruct solicitors and barristers to act on behalf of clients in planning appeals, inquiries, and associated proceedings.

A quick guide to planning appeals and planning inquiries

Planning appeals tend to have three main procedures for being heard and these are either through written representations, hearings, or an inquiry. While each is different, all procedures carry the same weight in terms of the decision made by the planning inspector.

Written representations

This is how most planning appeals are decided. Under this procedure the planning inspector considers written evidence from the appellant (the applicant), the local planning authority, and any others with an interest in the appeal, including independent expert witnesses. The planning inspector then considers all the written evidence and will also visit the site. A written decision is usually made several weeks later.


Just like with written representations, a hearing involves the submission of written evidence by the main parties. However, the process also includes an informal hearing in the form of a round-the-table discussion that is led by the planning inspector. It enables all parties to respond to any questions the planning inspector may ask and to let each party – including in some instances residents, councillors, and other interested parties – to make their case known.

Planning inquiries

Planning inquiries are a more formal procedure than a hearing and are usually reserved for complex cases where legal issues may need to be considered. Again, it will be led by the planning inspector, but the parties will usually use legal representatives to help present their case and are able to cross examine any witnesses. This usually means it is more of a formal and adversarial process than a hearing. The inspector and main parties will usually undertake a site visit too.

Who we work for

“The team at PWA Planning make negotiating the planning system a much smoother experience. They always deal with matters in a professional and timely manner and are extremely proactive in negotiations with the planning authority. They have a strong reputation and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to others.”

John Winstanley, Story Homes

“PWA Planning have been our ‘go to’ planning consultants for many years on varying projects. Their knowledge of the vagaries within the planning system are invaluable ensuring that any advice given can be relied upon to secure the best possible outcome.”

Simon Baxter, Primas Law

“PWA Planning have been with us from the start of our journey at AFC Fylde. They approach all our projects with professionalism, flexibility and a can-do attitude. Their knowledge of the planning system and expert advice is second to none.”

David Haythornthwaite, Mill Farm Sports Village

“I have engaged with PWA Planning on many residential development sites. Their knowledge of the planning system is exemplary, and they have an excellent track record of securing planning consents on our sites. I would recommend PWA without hesitation.”

Richard Calderbank, Applethwaite Homes

“We have worked with PWA Planning for many years and have always found them to be approachable, knowledgeable and effective, navigating difficult projects with ease and professionalism. I would highly recommend PWA to anyone who needs expert planning advice and guidance.”

Phil Wooliscroft, Eddisons

“Paul and his team offer us that rare mix of high-quality planning advice with accessibility and tenacity, to take on the challenges the modern planning system presents. We enjoy the professional and friendly service and hope PWA will long be part of our wider development team.”

Alex Kenwright, EG Group

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