A selection of images representing communities.
The Secretary of State has the power to 'call-in' planning applications for determination rather than letting the local authority decide (for example, if they conflict with national policies on important matters). The decision on whether to call-in a planning application for determination by the Secretary of State is made having regard to published policy.
Planning appeals can also be 'recovered' for decision by Ministers for similar reasons. As with applications, the decision for an appeal to be 'recovered' is made having regard to published policy.
The decision of the Secretary of State on whether to grant planning permission following an appeal or the call-in of an application is informed by the report of an Inspector who nearly always holds a public inquiry into the proposal. Such decisions are 'quasi-judicial', and therefore particular care is needed in taking them. However, similar considerations also arise in the exercise of discretionary powers on planning matters, such as in deciding whether or not to call in a planning application or recover an appeal.