In Newcastle upon Tyne City Council v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, it has recently been decided by the Administrative Court that there is no right to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate against non-validation of a planning application which does not include all the requirements deemed necessary by the LPA. Any further action in these circumstances would need to be by judicial review to the High Court. Working on a recent matter made us consider the implications of this case.

The main issue to be decided was whether or not a planning application was only to be regarded as valid if it included all information considered necessary by the local planning authority, provided that their requirements were consistent with the GDPO 1995.

The High Court held that there was no provision for an appeal to the Secretary of State against the local authority’s decision to impose any requirement as to what they consider to be necessary information to be submitted with a planning application. Any challenge in this respect would need to be brought by judicial review. The authority succeeded in arguing that section 62(3) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (TCPA), which states that the local planning authority may require that an application must include “such particulars as they think necessary”, makes the authority the arbiter of what is necessary. This is subject, of course, to reasonableness considerations, the territory of judicial review challenges.

On the other hand, where a planning application is deemed invalid, despite all the required information being submitted, the applicant can appeal under section 78 TCPA and art 33 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2010.

Recently, in the second reading of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill, Eric Pickles has said that the Government will “remove excessive red tape” in a bid to boost economic growth. It will be interesting in this respect to see how his comments affect the above process.