We were instructed by developers in respect of a residential scheme at Bletchley because of the lack of progress in the determination of their planning applications. The scheme was located immediately adjacent to Bletchley Park: the site of wartime code‑breaking. The issues raised by the Council were concerned with layout, design, parking and the provision of open space. It became evident that differences between the developer and the local planning authority on some issues were irreconcilable.
Following an appraisal of the issues, our advice to the client was to continue discussions with the Council but in order to expedite matters, lodge appeals against its failure to determine the applications. The appeals were conducted by written representations and were allowed.
Our default position on planning appeals is that when possible they ought to be conducted by public inquiry. This provides the best vehicle to test the reasons why planning permission is not forthcoming. However, public inquiries will not always be the best way of dealing with an appeal. Account needs to be taken of the nature of the proposal, the resources available, the timescales available and the prospects of success. A number of factors pointed to the written procedure as being the most appropriate for the client in this case.