Planning Inspectorate

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Planning Inspectorate
Agency overview
Jurisdiction England and Wales
Headquarters Temple Quay, Bristol; Cathays Park, Cardiff for Wales
Employees 700 including 300 Planning Inspectors[1]
Minister responsible
Agency executive
  • Sarah Richards
"Shaping the planning landscape"

The Planning Inspectorate for England and Wales (sometimes referred to as PINS[2]) (Welsh: Yr Arolygiaeth Gynllunio) is an executive agency of the Department for Communities and Local Government of the United Kingdom Government with responsibility for determining final outcomes of town planning and enforcement appeals and public examination of local development plans.

It also deals with a wide variety of other planning-related casework including planning appeals – about, for instance, shop signs and advertisement displays on hoardings, bus shelters etc., and cases on which Inspectors report to the Secretary of State concerned on planning applications requiring ministerial approval.


The Planning Inspectorate traces its roots back to the Housing, Town Planning Act 1909 and the birth of the planning system in the UK. John Burns (1858–1943), the first member of the working class to become a government Minister, was President of the Local Government Board and responsible for the 1909 Housing Act. He appointed Thomas Adams (1871–1940) as Town Planning Assistant – a precursor to the current role of Chief Planning Inspector.[3]

Subsequent Acts have included the Housing and Town Planning Act 1919, the Town Planning Act of 1925, the Town and Country Planning Acts of 1932, of 1947 and of 1990.

Between 1977 and 2001 the inspectorate was based in Tollgate House, Bristol before moving to its current headquarters at Temple Quay House, Bristol.


The Inspectorate is headquartered at Temple Quay House in Bristol with a separate office for Welsh planning appeals in Cardiff. The Inspectorate employs salaried staff and also contracts non-salaried Inspectors (NSIs).[4]

Planning inspectors, appointed by the Secretary of State and said 'to stand in the shoes of the Secretary of State', are given power by Schedule 6 to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Town and Country Planning (Determination of Appeals by Appointed Persons) (Prescribed Classes) Regulations 1997 (SI 1997/420) to determine the appeals which are mostly against refusals of local planning authorities to grant planning permission. Inspectors are selected on the basis of their particularly high levels of competence and experience within the planning industry.[5]

The Infrastructure Planning Unit is responsible to Nationally significant infrastructure projects.


Over the year the planning system including the role of the Inspectorate has been criticised by journalists and by MPs. For example, Peter Wilby in 2007[6] and Kris Hopkins in 2010.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "What we do". 
  2. ^ Johnston, Bryan (5 December 2011). "Reanimating a role". PlanningResource. Retrieved 14 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "The Planning Inspectorate Annual Report and Accounts 2013/14". Planning Inspectorate. 
  4. ^ Carpenter, Jamie (13 July 2012). "Planning Inspectorate sees 14% reduction in numbers". Planning. Retrieved 29 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "The Planning Inspectorate annual report and accounts 2015/16". 
  6. ^ Wilby, Peter (19 February 2007). "A Corrupt System That Affects Us All". New Statesman. Retrieved 18 October 2011. Last year, our local council turned down an application from Costa Coffee. [...] Unfortunately, the decision was overturned on appeal [...] The Bolsheviks didn't have to worry about the planning inspectorate. 
  7. ^ Redhead, Jonathan (7 September 2010). "Angry MP hits out at decision by Inspector over appeal by Tesco". Telegraph & Argus. Bradford. Retrieved 18 October 2011. [...] Kris Hopkins, Conservative MP for Keighley which includes Ilkley, said he has written to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles to tell him the current planning regime needs to change. [...] "The Planning Inspectorate's decision to support Tesco's appeal is the wrong one," Mr Hopkins said. 

External links[edit]