Equal Rights of Appeal

At the present only developers can challenge a planning decision.  This is totally undemocratic.  Objectors to any development should be able to make an appeal on decisions if they wish.

Why the contribution is important

To address the gross unfairness in the current system

by forthriver on February 19, 2016 at 05:22PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.5
Based on : 34 votes


  • Posted by bwrichard February 19, 2016 at 22:18

    This is very sensible and long overdue. Alas, being sensible, the government will probably ignore it, as they seem to be in the pocket of the developers.
  • Posted by nekkio99 February 20, 2016 at 10:11

    Vital in order to have a just system, that will deliver for the interest and well being of local communities, rather than the economic interest of developers
  • Posted by Geo February 20, 2016 at 10:17

    This is particularly important in situations where councils are giving approval to themselves in the guise of "arms length" developers who sell on the development having gained approval. An example of this is the current development proposals in east Edinburgh where much of the proposed development is on land owned by EDI. "The EDI Group was established in 1988 by The City of Edinburgh Council". So if the development plan is approved the council will then be required to give approval to themselves. Profoundly undemocratic.
  • Posted by notnimby February 20, 2016 at 14:05

    The right to appeal is crucial for individuals and communities directly affected by development particularly so as developers can alter plans significantly once planning permission has been granted. A current development in East Edinburgh is an example of this. The small village of Newcraighall was previously encircled by green belt land which was then acquired by Edi and given approval for development by Edinburgh council ( ie "themselves") Initial approval for 160 houses on one side of the village and 90 on another has now become 600+ With plans for a further 1300 nearby in the pipeline. An appointed Reporter confirmed that the original numbers were appropriate for the size of the village and traffic issues given the small narrow Main Street through the the village. The developer was also granted permission to create 3 exits onto the small Main Street with no through traffic through the development . This has resulted in vastly increased traffic terrible pollution and and a complete loss of amenity for residents many of whom live in cottages bordering the main road.This has been exacerbated by development at the Fort shopping centre so that the villagers are faced with thundering traffic beside their homes day and night. The construction process has caused stress and loss of house access +thousands of trees which bordered the village . All concerns expressed have been completely ignored and residents and the community have had no ability to appeal. This is completely undemocratic not to mention suggestive of malpractice by EDI .
    The current planning system is seriously flawed and requires urgent change .
  • Posted by MaryLeith February 20, 2016 at 18:40

    The fact that the community does not have the right to appeal is astonishing. This must be recitfied.
  • Posted by irc February 21, 2016 at 16:00

    This is one of the most serious imbalances in the current planning process but resolving it would add great workload pressure on local authorities which Government would be most reluctant to accept.
  • Posted by Monkstone February 21, 2016 at 17:55

    It is so frustrating when there is no where else to take your complaint, asking the same question that goes through a feedback system that takes a month for a reply then getting an answer that side steps the question and you have been loyally following the process to no avail. At the end of the day planning investigates each other and that cannot be right. Yes you can go to the SPSO I wonder how many people are satisfied on that road.
  • Posted by switcheroo February 22, 2016 at 17:56

    A third-party right of appeal would bring development to a standstill across Scotland as individuals and groups would contest every bit of development they mildly object to.

    Look at the saga in Portobello around a new high school. Even when local authorities and developers worked to appease groups concerned about development, as in this case, it was never good enough. Now take this example and apply it across the country.

    I can imagine to the NIMBYs across the land this would be a dream scenario, but for those of us interesting in Scotland having modern infrastructure and continued sustainable economic development, it is simply incompatible.
  • Posted by BW February 23, 2016 at 20:55

    all I can say switcheroo is that the current system means that developers simply keep submitting applications until they get the result that they want and then there is nothing anyone can do about it. At the moment consent can be gained under delegated powers, or even by presumed consent by lack of response by councillors, a totally corrupt and unacceptable scenario.
    The current system is totally biased in favour of developers. You see objectors simply as someone who gets in the way of economic development, in reality people find themselves in very stressful situations finding their homes, health and amenity under threat. Trust me there is an awful lot of stress involved when you find out some selfish greedy developer intends on making your life a misery and the property that you have invested your life savings in suddenly almost worthless. Don't tell me that residents are protected by planning laws when you have ridiculous situations like ETSU-R-97.
  • Posted by alfaman159 February 24, 2016 at 09:38

    Whilst it may seem equitable to allow anybody to having rights over everybody else's land or property, it does not seem fair.

    To all of those who brand housebuilders as selfish and greedy, I hope that when you come to sell your own property that you are not so selfish or greedy yourselves and that you sell it to some deserving sole who cannot actually afford it because we are just not building enough houses to meet demand!
  • Posted by Eagle87 February 25, 2016 at 14:59

    Equal Right of Appeal is a must. Wonder what the Court of Human Rights would say as surely we should all be treated equally??
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 25, 2016 at 15:27

    An Equal Right of Appeal, whereby anyone could trigger one, is absolutely ludicrous.

  • Posted by switcheroo February 25, 2016 at 23:11

    @BW - I have no doubt that some objectors are doing so for entirely legitimate reasons. That does not mean that we should empower every person to have the ability appeal every decision. Make no mistake, I have little doubt that EVERY development would be appealed were this to be introduced.

    @Eagle87 - I am fairly certain that there is no 'right' to object to development under any human rights legislation. Having the right to appeal ALL development would not be equal, in fact it would likely be the opposite, giving communities far greater power than they could be trusted to wield and utilise proportionately.
  • Posted by SeanieRW February 26, 2016 at 18:31

    I think there are practical challenges about a third party right of appeal could work, but I also think it's not the fix it's advocates imagine.

    The reality is that most people don't pay much attention to the planning system until something comes along they dislike. And the planning system is a large and complex beast. There's relatively little engagement with the development of planning policies or Local Plans, and almost no lay engagement with Structure Plans, understandably.

    And, overwhelmingly, people's reactions and objections to developments are unconnected with planning policies, not least because they're largely unaware of them. People's opinions are based on immediate local concerns: it's too big, too near, the roads can't cope, it's ugly etc.

    When objecting to things people may then turn to planning policies but they frequently do so as a drunk uses a lamppost: for support rather than illumination, with all the attendant problems of confirmation bias & wishful thinking, coupled with the genuine difficulty of understanding the labyrinth of policies.

    And the fundamental problem for those wanting a third party right of appeal, is that it's those planning policies that should drive the determination of applications. Now that's not clearcut, and determinations are open to interpretation, hence the 40% or so of appeals that are currently successful. But that's appeals against refusal. I'd be surprised if appeals against approval had anything like that success rate. But at any rate an appeal, currently, would go to be decide by a Reporter at the DPEA, who be bound to determine in light of planning policies. Planning policies that, fundamentally, objectors aren't that interested in.

    What they're interested in, ostensibly, is "democracy".

    "Democracy", or even "planning democracy" is invoked a lot, by various parties. I suspect people use it to mean different things, but certainly it's not always clear why "democracy" is being invoked beyond suggesting that "a lot of us don't like this so we should hold sway".

    If that's what's meant by democracy then we're straying into the territory of the tyranny of the mob, in which case, rather than the considerable expense and disruption a third party right of appeal could involve, it would be far simpler and cheaper to distribute pitchforks and torches.
  • Posted by wlaf February 28, 2016 at 11:39

    Almost 18 years ago we complained that the planning conditions relating to our newly-built house, i.e. provision of a safe drinking water supply and an adequate sewerage system, were not adhered to by the developer, but were Certified as Complete by the Local Authority and paid for on that basis.
    Despite this, our Objections were not satisfactorily considered or addressed, Enforcement action against the developer was not effective, and in the absence of Equal Rights of Appeal, the developer was allowed to pursue his further plans for the development uninterrupted.
    This left us and our community, nominated as 'remaining relevant persons', with the wholly foreseeable consequences to the detriment of our Health and Safety, and us with ongoing major financial costs, replacing and repurchasing these essential services over and over.
    3 Petitions to the Scottish Parliament on this subject have foundered: 2 because of the political will against Third Party Rights of Appeal; the third denied specialist advocacy to represent those injured by Planning decisions. Following a subsequent Appeal to the European Parliament's Petitions Committee, the Chairman asked for measures to address the 'unnecessarily dangerous' water situation in which we and our neighbours were living, which were in turn refused by the Scottish Minister.
    Only the existence of a formal, properly functioning Equal Right of Appeal will protect citizens and democratic values.
  • Posted by kb21182 February 28, 2016 at 19:48

    I think the current planning process is far too weighted towards the developers and this needs to be addressed to give the views of local communities a suitable platform , and to be treated with equal importance.
  • Posted by Citizen February 28, 2016 at 22:58

    If a government-appointed Reporter finds for a community against a new development, then the Council passes a new application for the same development with one house fewer - with no consideration for the Reporter's objections which still pertained - this is both unjust and a waste of taxpayers' money. If an equal right of appeal had existed, the protection of the community against the harm outlined by the Reporter might have been properly upheld.
  • Posted by Kacurry February 29, 2016 at 13:39

    Equal rights of appeal are fundamental to a fair process.
  • Posted by JohnColledge February 29, 2016 at 23:09

    I would be interested to hear how those who argue against equal rights of appeal can defend the following? The same architects provided increasingly inaccurate plans for three different applications, (at least 1.6m over 10m, 4m over 14m and 7.5m over 16m) all for the same developers.

    If there had been an equal right of appeal, accurate plans would have been provided. There would have been no difference between the application report and plans. That made the application appear more acceptable. Everyone would have known what was being applied for and had been approved. We wouldn’t still be waiting for answers to perfectly reasonable questions some ten years later.

    Do you not feel it was appropriate for local residents to raise concerns about the second and third application? As it is, we did, we were ignored and some of us ended up having to repair damage to our houses. Yet it was claimed we were better off than we had been with the previous planning disaster.
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