In most cases, a council which fails to provide a statement at appeal is not doing itself any favours. Conclusions about the strength of the council’s case and/or commitment to the decision may well be drawn. That said, there really isn’t any point in reinventing the wheel, and requiring an inspector to read much the same information twice, if a comprehensive committee report already exists.
Indeed, an inspector dealing with an appeal against outline permission for five dwellings in Gloucestershire (DCS Number 400-022-637) refused to award costs against the council, recognising that “The Council are not bound to submit an appeal statement and were satisfied that the Officer report presented their case sufficiently.” He noted that “The officer report and decision notice gave reasons for the refusal of the application and identified where the Council considered the proposal was contrary to local and national policy.”
The inspector determined that the council’s refusal reasons were adequately substantiated. He concluded that the council had not acted unreasonably and, as such, there could be no question that the appellant had been put to unnecessary or wasted expense.
Section 6.131 of DCP Online concerns the alleged failure to substantiate reasons for refusal with regard to claims for costs.