7. Planning Appeals in France
7.2. Planning Appeals - Recours Administratif/Gracieux
This is an appeal to the mairie to change their mind.
Under this procedure the mairie are provided with the opportunity to withdraw their consent if you can demonstrate it breaches planning rules.
If the decision was taken by the préfecture itself then you must address your complaint to the Ministère des Transports, de l’Equipement, du Tourisme et de la Mer.
Instead of appealing to the mairie you can also appeal to the préfet who has the right to overturn or suspend (by déféré préfectoral) the decision for a default of procedure or legality, e.g. incomplete plans, lack of proper notice, breach of local/national planning rules.
This procedure is called a recours hiérarchique as part of which the préfet might engage a planning specialist to undertake a formal review of the decision.
This process is not unusual, either at the specific instigation of a complainant, or by a unilateral decision of the local préfet. The mairie and the préfet do not always see eye to eye on planning matters!
You should send a letter by recorded delivery setting out your grounds for opposing the consent and enclosing a copy of the planning consent.
It is imperative that a copy is also sent to the applicant or it is not valid and the case would be rejected for lack of due procedure in a court of law.
The mairie/préfet have two months to give their response, but silence on their part constitutes a refusal of the appeal. Do not necessarily assume you will get a response. The procedure does not bring with it an obligation to actually grant you a reply!
Nevertheless, one the key advantages of commencing the process in this manner is that it gives you a further two months before you become time expired on challenging the decision in the courts. It also enables you to be more informed of the grounds of defence of the planning authority.
Accordingly, if you do not get a reply within two months, or you do, and the planning authority is not prepared to alter their decision, then you are going to have to bring a legal action in the courts. You have a further two months to do so.
If you are seeking to appeal against a decision on your own application, you should adopt the same procedure.
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