'Call-in' is the process whereby planning determinations are made by the Welsh Ministers in place of the local planning authority (LPA).
Call-in directions are made by the Welsh Ministers and:
a) may be given either to a particular LPA or to local planning authorities generally; and
b) may relate either to a particular application or to applications of a class specified in the direction.
The general criterion for call-in is that the application (or applications) called in must involve planning issues of more than local importance e.g. a conflict with national planning policies; wide effect beyond the locality; a development that is likely to affect sites of acknowledged scientific, nature conservation or historic interest, or one which generates substantial controversy beyond the immediate locality.
Call-in is relatively rare: for example despite their significance and profile, applications in relation to the liquid gas terminals at Milford Haven and Bluestone Holiday Village within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park were not called in.
Circular 07/99 The Town and Country Planning (Development Plans and Consultation) (Departures) Directions 1999 is still in force in relation to Wales. The Directions require that certain planning applications that do not accord with the provisions of an LPA’s development plan, and which the LPA does not propose to refuse, should be notified to the Welsh Ministers.
The Welsh Ministers issued a notification Direction in 2012 and guidance in Welsh Government Circular 07/12 The Town and Country Planning (Notification) (Wales) Direction 2012 . This circular and direction set out new requirements for LPAs to refer certain planning applications to the Welsh Ministers, to enable them to decide whether they wish to call in the application for their determination.
The Welsh Government’s policy on calling in planning applications is set out at paragraph 3.12.1 of Planning Policy Wales (PPW) (Edition 7, May 2014).