Sector - Finance & Legislation

Speedier planning appeals following Rosewell Review

Two planning appeals have been decided in fewer than the 24 weeks’ target following the process recommended by the Rosewell Review.

The Review was brought in to speed up planning applications to provide housing in areas with a desperate need. These are the first two appeals to come under the review.

The first appeal for a development of 110 homes was submitted on 25th January 2019 and started on 4th February 2019. Following a three day inquiry held in May 2019 and a site visit, the appeal was allowed on 19th June 2019, twenty one weeks after the appeal was started.

The second appeal was for a development of 25 homes. Submitted on 15th February 2019 and started on 21 February 2019, the appeal saw a three day Inquiry begin on 11th June with the decision allowing the appeal given on 2nd July, just under 19 weeks after the appeal was started.

The Rosewell Report, published in February this year, made 22 recommendations to improve the planning appeal inquiry process. The Planning Inspectorate immediately began work on developing an action plan to implement those recommendations. Following a short pilot, and with the cooperation of the parties, the new method of processing inquiries was expanded to include all appeals dealt with by inquiries.

Sarah Richards, Chief Executive for the Planning Inspectorate, said: “This much improved handling time is very good news. I would like to thank everyone involved in the appeal process for their help and cooperation in implementing Bridget Rosewell’s recommendations.”

“We are working hard to improve our service to customers across all our case work, and the recommendations from the Rosewell Review contribute to this. Very soon customers will begin to see improvements in other areas of our work, including easier on-line submission of appeals. Our recent recruitment of additional Planning Inspectors and Appeal Planning Officers, together with our new IT systems, will also result in improved handling times this year.”

The Planning Inspectorate deals, on average, with more than 15,000 planning appeals every year. Around two per cent are handled through the inquiry process. The time taken to decide appeals is important as is ensuring all parties to an appeal have the opportunity to give their views. Planning Inspectors, who are independent and impartial, will ensure that everyone has an opportunity to submit evidence which they rely on to make the right and fair decision.

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