This is held in a formal setting and it is usual for all parties to be legally represented (have a solicitor or barrister act for them).
A timetable is set for the exchange of documentation, using a similar pattern to that for the Written Representations and Informal Hearing processes. This timetable can be viewed by clicking Inquiry Timetable in the main menu on the left.
Following the exchange of documents, the date for the formal Inquiry is agreed and a venue booked. This is usually in a local hall close to the appeal site.
At the Inquiry the LPA will usually begin by making an opening statement. Their witnesses will then give their evidence and the appellant can cross-examine (question) them.
The appellant will then call their witnesses and the LPA can cross-examine them.
When each witness has been formally cross-examined, the Inspector will ask if anyone else wishes to be heard. Matters that have already been considered should not be repeated.
If someone wishes to be heard, the Inspector will ask them if they are willing to be questioned on what they say. They do not have to agree to this. The Inspector will not allow hostile or unfair questions to be directed at anyone who wishes to speak.
The Inquiry closes after the LPA and the Appellant have made their final comments.
The Inquiry is usually followed by a site visit. As the Inquiry will have been completed, no further discussion is allowed on the site.
The Inspector will then prepare his report and reach a decision as before and send copies of this decision notice to the Appellant, the Local Authority and anyone else who took part at the Inquiry - usually within seven weeks of the hearing.