Planning Appeal Costs Guidance: Recovery and Negotiation

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What is a Planning Appeal?

Planning appeals arise from disputes in relation to planning applications. The most common type of planning appeal would relate to an appeal on the refusal of planning permission. However, there can be other issues which can result in an appeal such as the local authority failing to make a decision on an application in a timely manner.

 

Planning Appeal Costs Guidance

You are usually able to claim costs from a planning appeal if a party involved in the appeal behaves unreasonably and this action costs you money.

You can make a claim for an ‘award of costs’ to the Planning Inspectorate and if you are successful, you will need to come to an agreement with the other party regarding how much they need to pay.

There are deadlines to consider for when you can make a claim for costs, such as:

  • At a hearing or inquiry you should apply before it closes.
  • If you are applying in writing you should do so before the final comments stage for most things but for orders regarding householder, commercial and tree preservations, you should claim costs at the time of making the appeal.
  • For claims relating to site visits, you should apply within 7 days of the date of the site visit and for claims relating to a withdrawn appeal of an enforcement notice, applications should be made within 4 weeks.

 

When Can a Claim for Planning Appeal Costs be Made?

As stated above, costs can be claimed when a party behaves unreasonably and when this unreasonable behaviour causes the other party to incur costs. Unreasonable behaviour can include the following:

  • Failure to co-operate with you or other parties involved in the planning application
  • Missing deadlines
  • Failure to attend site visits, hearings or inquiries
  • Giving incorrect information or declaring information after a certain deadline

You will be able to claim costs which directly relate to the appeal, for example:

  • Costs of any time taken in preparing for the appeal
  • Costs of attending a hearing or inquiry
  • Costs incurred for the use of consultants used to provide expert advice
  • Costs of any witness which you may have incurred

However, it should be noted that costs cannot be claimed relating to the original planning application, simply in relation to the appeal.

 

Planning Appeal Costs Guidance: How to Claim Planning Appeal Costs

You can find the link for the application form to claim costs here. The address where to send the form can be found on the form itself. Otherwise, you can send a letter to the Planning Inspectorate stating the reasons why you believe the other party has acted unreasonable and how this has resulted in you incurring costs.

After the claim is made, the Planning Inspectorate will consider your claim and the party who you are claiming against will also have an opportunity to respond in writing before the decision is made. If your claim for costs is successful, you will be given either a full award or partial award of costs. A full reward of costs will mean you can recover all your costs including the costs of making the claim for costs and a partial reward will only allow you to recover some of the costs claimed.

The award itself will not tell you how much the other party is required to pay and it will be your responsibility to prove how much costs you have incurred at the appeal.  It is at this juncture, that you seek the advice and input of a costs professional.

If they other party refuses to pay, you will need to make a Court claim for any agreed amount.  If the other side refuses to engage in settlement discussions and you have a costs order in your favour, you may be able to commence the detailed assessment procedure.

 

How to Enforce Payment of Costs?

Enforcing a payment for costs can be done through the Courts. To enforce costs, you will need to issue a claim in Small Claims Court. You can make a claim online if you are claiming a fixed amount, if this has been agreed between you and the paying party. You will need to complete a claim form and pay a Court fee. It may be that the dispute continues in which the matter will be required to go to a hearing.

If the other party fails to respond to your claim or admits owing you the money but refuses to pay, then the Court will file a County Court Judgement against the individual in question, enforcing payment.

However, as is the case with many planning appeal costs claims, if there is no fixed amount which is due to be paid to or if the amount has not been agreed between the parties, you cannot make a claim online. You will need to make a paper application to the Court.

The Court fee is based on the amount you are claiming for so make sure you estimate correctly the amount which you believe you are owed, and use the correct court fee relating to that amount when issuing your claim.

The paying party will get an opportunity to respond and defend their case once the claim is issued.

The Court strongly recommends the use of a mediation service to assist in coming to an agreement with the paying party. It can cost less than proceeding with the case through the Court. For further information of small claims medical centre, you can visit the government website here.

 

How Can ARC Costs Assist?

 

ARC Costs are a team of specialist Costs Draftsmen and Costs Lawyers who can assist in costs related matters. We can provide you with planning appeal costs guidance, guiding you on when to claim, how to claim, and how to strengthen your application for costs.

Alongside this, if you are awarded costs, we can assist in preparing a Bill of Costs on your behalf for costs which you have incurred and advise you on which costs are likely to be recoverable. We can negotiate with the paying party on your behalf and proceed with the costs claim until recovery of your costs, even if this is required through enforcement.

Similarly if a costs award has been made against you, we can assist you in disputing this award if you feel it was unfairly made. Furthermore, we can assist in disputing any costs which you deem to be unreasonable by using legal statutes and common law to dispute the reasonableness of costs being claimed.

Should your costs dispute proceed to a costs assessment or hearing, as Costs Lawyers we can also provide advocacy and assistance throughout this hearing process. 

To discuss your costs claim further, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01204 397302 or info@arccosts.co.uk. Alternatively, you may complete our online enquiry form and we will be in touch to discuss your query further.

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