Third party rights / equal right to appeal

(Idea gathered from contributions at Motherwell event)

The consensus within group was that the current appeals process is unfair & undemocratic – it leaves communities without any legal rights & favours developers, who are equipped with the knowledge and resources to pursue appeals. 

Why the contribution is important

Views expressed that equal appeal rights should be embedded in the Bill in order to challenge bad development.

by ScotParlModerator on February 20, 2018 at 10:47AM

Current Rating

Average score : 5.0
Based on : 6 votes


  • Posted by ScotParlModerator February 20, 2018 at 17:57

    A similar conversation was held in the second group discussion at Motherwell with Monica Lennon MSP and Kenneth Gibson MSP.

    In addition, some queried whether the right checks and balances were in the proposals in relation to the appeals process and whether consideration should be given to curtailing developers' rights to appeals.
  • Posted by IngaBullen February 27, 2018 at 15:32

    Equal Right of Appeal is important to ensure planning decisions are made in the public interest. The current system prioritises the economic interests of developers which may not provide long term sustainable benefits. ERA is important to enable scrutiny of controversial decisions. And important to give public trust and confidence in the value of planning and engaging in local decision making.
  • Posted by timsowood February 27, 2018 at 16:30

    Whilst I understand the desire to have community consultation and involvement at the earliest possible stage of the planning process, it is still of paramount importance to allow a third party right of appeal when consultation fails to satisfy local concerns. To avoid individual "time wasters" etc, this could be limited to Community Councils or other statutory or registered consultees.
  • Posted by mrssue February 27, 2018 at 17:19

    Planning committees seem now virtually paralysed by developer-only appeal. If, during preapplication consulations, the developer has tweaked the application to such an extent that the planning officer cannot recommend refusal - however inappropriate a development might be - a decision by councillors to overturn it brings with it the risk of substantial costs to the local autority if the developer appeals the decision. Councillors who attempt to represent the communities who elected them risk the wrath of the authority's legal advisers.
    The margin between a recommendation to approve and a recommendation for refusal is often very fine. A right of appeal against a refusal provides opportunity for proper scrutiny of the application and the arguments for refusal. An Equal Right of Appeal would provide an equivalent opportunity for scrutiny of controversial approved applications.
  • Posted by StephenC February 27, 2018 at 22:10

    Why are we even talking about ERA? If the change to the planning process to ensure that everyone is involved right from the word go, then surely no appeals are needed at all?
    Is it a dumb idea to have no rights of appeal? Of course it is. No complex system, certainly not one as complex as planning is, can ever hope to deal with every eventuality, involve every person who needs to be, etc. without being incredibly unwieldy, expensive and drawn out.
    The planning system needs to be proportionate and pragmatic but with that comes the need for checks and balances. I would argue that successful appeals of any kind (not just 3rd party) are an important measure of the success of the system. At present, half of all developer appeals to the DPEA are overturned which demonstrates that the balance of checks is working for that group in the planning system. The absence of such checks for everyone else in the planning system is a disgrace which needs to be urgently addressed.
  • Posted by davesutto March 01, 2018 at 08:06

    StephenC does not seem to be aware of the way communities are regularly and repeatedly ignored throughout the planning process. Where all too often local community comments on the draft LDP are usually ignored at pre- Examination stage. Where there is no legal right for communities to address the Planning Committee.

    Fine words about “involvement from the word go” have regularly and repeatedly turned out to be tokenism. The only way community voices will get listened to is if they also have Equal Rights of Appeal. As research of Irish system as shown - this has not led to all the scare stories wheeled out. ERA would simply ensure that community voices do need to be listened to.

    Smart developers would realise the benefits to them from ERA - in that once the community views are established at an early stage ( a LPP with adopted status?) - then it should actually help speed up the processing of well designed and compliant schemes.
  • Posted by StephenC March 01, 2018 at 15:17

    davesutto, I am acutely aware of the way communities are regularly and repeatedly ignored; I am a member of one of those communities. That is why I am writing in staunch support of the ERA.

    If you don't think my post explains that, grateful if you could explain as I don't want it misinterpreted.
  • Posted by mrssue March 01, 2018 at 16:34

    Stephen, I did have to read your conribution twice to clarify that you were in support of ERA. I think it may be your fitst sentence!
  • Posted by davesutto March 02, 2018 at 15:11

  • Posted by StephenC March 02, 2018 at 15:37

    No problem davesutto. Hopefully our exchange will make sure that whoever has the job of collating the comments won't misunderstand me :-)
  • Posted by LynnWatson March 02, 2018 at 15:40

    My MSP tells me that I can't be trusted to make an appeal against a planning decision as it might 'slow down' developments.
    I've responded by saying that I may just be the driving force stopping a development going ahead in a swamp which happens to be a couple of hundred yards from his house. What's more, the vast majority of our community seem to agree with me.

    His judgement is looking a bit suspect - so it's not just me who won't be voting for him...
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