Power to decline to determine overlapping
Since 6 April 2009, section 43 of the Planning and Compulsory
Purchase Act 2004 (the 2004 Act) has been in full force and this
provision enables Planning Authorities to refuse dual applications
for the same scheme, so called ‘twin tracked’ applications.
Twin tracking has traditionally been a popular method with
developers who have found the severe delays in the planning
application process both frustrating and costly, caused primarily
due to under-resourced Planning Authorities, as well as the ever
changing development plan process and national planning policy. The
process involved submitting duplicate applications with the
intention of forcing the Planning Authority into speeding up the
application process, in light of the underlying threat of an appeal
for non-determination for the duplicated application. The intention
of twin tracking was to force the Planning Authority to approve one
of the applications in order to avoid the resources and costs
involved as part of an appeal.
Prior to 6 April 2009, Planning Authorities could only refuse to
determine a subsequent application where it was identical or
closely resembled the application previously refused by the
Planning Authority, and where the Planning Authority suspected that
a fresh application was submitted with the intention of reducing
their objections to the proposed scheme.
Whilst Planning Authorities’ powers to decline to determine
overlapping applications have now been greatly expanded, the
reality is that the root cause of twin tracking has not yet been
eradicated; that is to say, delays due to under resourced planning
departments continue to frustrate development, at a time when it is
ever important to kick start development by providing an efficient
and fast system to secure consents.