The Wheatcroft Principle

Apex Planning Appeals

The process of making planning applications, and appealing against unfavourable decisions can be both time-consuming and costly.  So, anything that can make the whole procedure easier and quicker is to be embraced.

The Wheatcroft Principle is one such nugget of wisdom! At Apex Planning Consultants, we work hard to try to get applications through first time.  However, should a project be refused by a council, The Wheatcroft Principle allows the opportunity for the appeal procedure to be speedier, less costly and less painful for all concerned.

When an application is refused, it may be tempting to prepare a completely new planning application.  However, thanks to The Wheatcroft Principle, it is possible to use the original application and to simply change a few elements that stopped permission being given in the first instance.

This means that the case might be presented in a far more positive light when it goes to appeal, because there will be fewer areas of disagreement or reasons for refusal. This is even more likely if you decide to go for a Hearing or Inquiry appeal procedure, which means that there won’t be lots of time spent in front of a Planning Inspector, debating issues or calling expert witnesses to be cross-examined. Obviously anything that takes less time is going to be cheaper for the client in the long run.

So where does the Wheatcroft Principle come from?

It originated in the case of Bernard Wheatcroft Ltd v Secretary of State for the Environment [JPL, 1982, P37] where it was concluded that anyone affected by substantial changes to an application should be given an opportunity to make representations.  The test is whether the substance of the application had been altered and so changed that granting it would deprive those who should have been consulted on the changed development the opportunity of such consultation.

It basically means that anyone who is affected by major changes to an appeal proposal should be given an opportunity to make representations on the matter. By making small, rather than substantial changes to it, this is not necessary. It means that developers can put forward a slightly amended scheme, as long as it is not vastly different from the first and where it does not prejudice any party.

Good practice suggests that an intention to amend the appeal proposal should be highlighted to a council and any other interested party in advance of a Hearing or Inquiry, in order to ensure an opportunity for all concerned to consider the changes and comment as appropriate. This is useful because it helps to establish whether submission of a change at this stage would be likely to be regarded as unreasonable and, if so, whether it would result in additional cost being incurred to other parties.

If you would like to discuss how we could help you with an application that has been refused and you are considering an appeal, or help at the start of your own project, or simply find out more about what we do, please browse the website or drop us a line at without obligation.