Any neighbour who is resident on land, or has an interest in land, within 50 metres of any part of a site for which planning permission has been granted and who is aggrieved by the decision can appeal to the Royal Court. There is an important proviso that the aggrieved neighbour must have previously made a submission to the Planning and Environment Minister (the "Minister") prior to the Minister making his decision.
Given that all applications are now publicised by both the Minister and by notices placed on or near to the affected land by the applicant, all relevant parties should have sufficient notice of an application to make submissions prior to the Minister making his decision. All parties who made a submission to the Minister will be notified of the decision and will have 14 days to appeal to the Royal Court. Such appeal may be made by the appellant himself or on his behalf by an advocate/solicitor. If an appeal is made, then the approval granted by the Minister will not come into effect until either the appeal is withdrawn or determined by the Royal Court.
In circumstances where the appeal is not overly complex, does not raise any legal issues or is not a matter of wider public interest, the Court will notify the parties that a simple procedure can be followed and the Judicial Greffier will hear the appeal rather than the Royal Court.
The Court has the power to order the Minister to do one of three things. Firstly, it can confirm the Minister’s decision, secondly it can order the Minister to vary his decision or any part of it and thirdly it can order the Minister to cancel his decision to grant permission. The Minister is obliged to comply with an order made by the Court.
A consequence of the procedure is that any application that has been approved and which has the potential to be appealed will not come into effect for a period of at least 28 days. Where appealed this will be considerably longer than 28 days if at all.
Although it is envisaged that appeals will on the whole be carried out by the appellant himself and costs will not generally be awarded, there is a risk that the appeal procedure is only open to wealthy landowners who are prepared to take the risk of going to the Royal Court. In any event, a potential appellant should think very carefully before appealing and a decision to appeal should not be taken lightly.