An informal hearing involves the submission of written evidence by the main parties with a similar process and timeframe to that used for written representation appeals.
However, the process will also include an informal hearing once all the written submissions have been received.
This takes the form of a round-the-table discussion that will be led by the planning inspector. It is intended to be an informal process and allows for all parties to respond to any questions that the inspector might have, and to let everyone make their case known.
Third parties, such as local residents, councillors and amenity groups may also attend and take part in the discussion.
The majority of hearings will take no longer than a day and usually conclude with a site visit.
Sometimes, more complex proposals may take several days to discuss.
A written decision is usually made several weeks after the hearing.