Jonathan Hughes, Head of Ogier's Property Law Group and Ogier's Local Legal Services team, caught up with Claire Smith, Principal Planning Lawyer at Ogier, and Michael Stein, Director of MSPlanning, to discuss Jersey's new planning appeal system...

Jonathan Hughes (JH): Why should clients consider using planning specialist advisers?

Michael Stein (MS): A wide range of residential and commercial clients have found our services to be of great value as it avoids them having to become personally embroiled in the planning process. This can be a very complex and frustrating experience and needs careful handling to produce the desired results.

Claire Smith (CS): The new Jersey planning appeal system is particularly complex and we are able to help our clients navigate the pitfalls, hopefully to a fairer, more positive outcome.

JH: How and when can you appeal against a planning decision?

MS: You have 28 days from the date a decision is made to appeal against it. You can find the date of the decision on the decision notice.

CS: You have to fill in the 'Appeal of a Decision (Article 108 and 110 of Planning and Building (Jersey) Law 2002) Form' which you can download from the planning pages of the States website or collect from the Judicial Greffe at the Royal Court House, Royal Square. In the first instance you just provide a brief outline of why you disagree with the decision.

JH: Who can appeal?

MS: You can appeal against a decision if you have been refused planning or building permission or you disagree with a condition attached to a planning or building permission; or you own or occupy a building or land where a building, place or tree has been listed.

CS: You can also appeal if you've made a written statement about your neighbours' application where planning permission has been granted, and you live or have an interest in land within 50m of the application site.

JH: What are the costs of an appeal?

MS: An appeal against the refusal to grant or to vary planning permission for major development is £300 and minor development is £100.

CS: And an appeal against the grant of planning permission (known as a third party appeal) is £300.

JH: How should a typical appeal process work?

MS: Once the appeal is accepted you have 28 days to submit full details of your reasons for appealing.

CS: If the appeal isn't accepted the Judicial Greffe will explain why, for example if it is submitted out of time. As Mike says, once the appeal is accepted, you have 28 days to submit your full arguments. After this deadline, everyone involved will receive each other's cases, circulated simultaneously by the Greffe and you have 14 days to comment on the other side's arguments. You can't raise any new issues at this point that weren't raised in your initial statement.

MS: Some appeals can be considered based on written statements but the majority will involve a hearing chaired by an independent inspector.

CS: The inspector makes a recommendation to the Minister, but the Minster makes the final decision and can choose to follow or depart from the inspector's recommendation, giving reasons.

JH: How long will an appeal take?

MS: The Greffe state that decisions on appeals can be expected around 10 weeks from the date the appeal was accepted.

CS: However I think there are many more appeals in the system than were expected (as evidenced by the brief increase in fees from £300 to £1200) so a time period of 4 to 6 months may be more realistic.

MSPlanning Ltd is a one-stop shop planning and architectural service whose primary purpose is to secure permission for its wide range of clients, providing a professional service from the conception of a scheme to completion of the project. The team give professional advice on all planning matters, however large or small, advising clients on how best to secure planning permission or resolve planning disputes. Michael's reputation, and that of the practice, is based on giving honest advice which, whilst sometimes disappointing, avoids the client entering into costly and abortive work.

Claire Smith is a very experienced planning, environment and construction law specialist, acting for individuals, local businesses in all sectors and government bodies. She joined Ogier in November 2015 as part of their recently launched Pan-Channel Island property, planning and construction law team, meaning that they now have a significant presence across the Channel Islands underpinned by the strength and reputation of the long standing Jersey offering. Claire advises clients on planning law, heritage issues, viability, housing development, environmental law, lawful development and enforcement. Claire also provides advocacy at planning appeals, negotiates planning agreements/covenants and advises on the legal robustness of planning applications (including environmental impact assessment).

Mike and Claire have worked on a number of appeals on behalf of both applicants and objectors together, and their clients have remarked that the new process seems very fair. They still await the outcome of the Minister's decision on the recent appeals they have been involved with under the new system.

This article first appeared in Places Magazine

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