Each application referred to us is measured against national planning polices, rather than judging the planning permission on the particular circumstances of the case. These include:
- Departure Applications
- Shopping Directions
- Playing Fields Directions
- Density Directions
- Greenfield Directions
- Representations from local planning authorities (LPAs), government departments or the public
We have three weeks to decide whether to call in a planning application. Once called in, cases are transferred to the Planning Inspectorate, which arranges a public inquiry and appoints a Planning Inspector to hear evidence from the applicant, the local planning authority and any other interested parties, including members of the public.
The Inspector then prepares a report for the Secretary of State, with recommendations as to whether planning permission should be granted. The Secretary of State then makes a final decision.
Each case is considered on its individual merits and may include those that:
- conflict with national policies on important matters
- could have significant effects beyond the immediate locality
- give rise to substantial regional or national controversy
- raise significant architectural and urban design issues
- involve the interests of national security or of foreign governments.
The policy is highly selective, and very few applications are called in – only 96 cases were called in nationally in 2003/2004.