Planning appeal hearings are arranged by the Local Planning Authority (LPA) who is responsible for arranging venues. Hearings are usually held in LPA offices, village halls, or community centres, but during the pandemic, they have taken place online. Hearings are formatted as a round-the-table discussion led by the planning inspector.

The planning appeal process 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.