Planning Appeal Search Tips

You have our powerful search tool at your fingertips and with skilled searching you can find anything. Here are some useful tips:

  1. Put in a date range. Unless you really want all appeals since 2010....
  2. Use double inverted commas around your search term. For example, "80 dwellings" finds appeals referring to 80 dwellings whereas 80 dwellings (without inverted commas) finds appeals mentioning 80 and dwellings, such as NPPF paragraph 80 in an appeal of 2 dwellings.
  3. The search finds all occurrances including in the headers of Decision Notices (eg. descriptions of development), in the text of the Decision Notices (eg. the Inspector's justification for the Decision), and other notes in the DN (eg. footnotes, planning conditions). 
  4. If you search for a particular appeal reference number you will also get all other appeals with a cross-reference to it in their footnotes.
  5. For maximum effectiveness, combine keywords with outcome (eg. Allowed), authority, date range, etc. For example, you may wish to limit your search to the last couple of years.
  6. If your search does not find the appeal you were looking for, consider variations the Inspector may have used, for example "brownfield land" instead of "previously developed land".
  7. The search will return documents containing ALL the keywords you put in. For example if you type yummie dwelling (without inverted commas) you will get appeals containing both words, namely an appeal by Yummie Coffee that involves noise impacts on an adjoining dwelling.
  8. Ensure correct spelling. For example, "rear conservitory" will  not return any results due to the spelling error.
  9. The search allows interchange of singular/plural words. For example, "wind farm" will find "wind farms" and "sustainable development" will find "sustainable developments".
  10. Longer phrases can help narrow the search, for example "conflicts with the development plan when read as a whole" will find appeals with that exact phrase.
  11. Sometimes it can be helpful to search for negatives, for example "no cycle provision" and "not enough space".
  12. To exclude documents containing a particular word, use the minus sign (-) for example windfarm -offshore will find windfarms, but exclude documents containing the word "offshore".  (Be careful - for example, an onshore windfarm development may legitmately mention an offshore windfarm nearby and be excluded from the results.)
  13. Where a Decision is written by 2 individuals, namely an appeal planning officer assisting a more senior Inspector, they are indexed under the Inspector as the formal decision maker. To find appeals by a named appeal planning officer, put their name into the Keyword search rather than into the Inspector search.
  14. Results are often presented with dots between the words, eg. "sustainable... ...development". Don't be put off by this as you will find the appeal documents contain the phrase "sustainable development" without any gaps.
  15. A maximum of 150 documents will be returned.  There is no paging of results. The filters will help you narrow down searches, and you can add more relevant words to the search.
  16. Our mapping software displays all appeals that have a postcode. The majority of appeal addresses include a postcode, however the few that do not have a postcode entered by PINS cannot be displayed on the map. Advice on searches using the Appeals Map can be found on our blog here.
  17. See the FAQs section 2 for Appeal Searching FAQs such as finding Welsh appeals, former LPAs, etc and section 3 for Website Navigation FAQs for links to useful government data.