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The duty to give reasons in planning decisions

When an application raises a great deal of public concern, the planning authority should make plain that its decision has a rational and justified basis, writes Adrienne Copithorne

21 March 2017

Three cases in rapid succession have highlighted the issue of giving reasons for the grant of permission in planning cases. From 2003 to 2013 there was a statutory duty to give summary reasons for all planning decisions, but that was removed in the case of planning approvals.

Since 2013 the statutory obligation is only to give reasons for planning refusals or for the imposition of conditions – the justification presumably being that the applicant for permission is entitled to know the reasons for which the application has been rejected or conditions imposed in the event that they wish to appeal that decision.

The requirement to give reasons for planning approvals, however, is relevant to third-party objectors who may well be affected by the proposed development. In most cases the reasons will be readily understood from the planning officer’s report to the plannin...

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