The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) has published its latest data on local authority planning decisions that have been overturned at appeal. It shows that at least six authorities are over the ‘special measures’ threshold for quality of decision-making.
Under the special measures programme, developers can bypass authorities designated as under-performing in their decision-making and submit applications directly to the Planning Inspectorate (PINS). 4D Planning have had a number of applications directed at PINS as opposed to local council’s due to delays.
Local planning authorities face being placed in special measures if more than 10 per cent of their decisions are overturned at appeal for both major applications and minor applications. The aim is to consider the ‘quality’ and ‘competence’ of authorities’ decision-making.
At the same time, the programme also looks at speed of decision-making, which means councils that decide fewer than 60 per cent of major applications or 70 per cent for minor applications on time would also face special measures. 4D Planning have had many applications referred to PINS and appealed on a non-determination basis by the local councils.
The MHCLG’s latest planning statistics, published last week, reveal provisional data on English authorities’ performance in terms of quality of decison-making over the two years from January 2016 to December 2017. In terms of decisions on major applications, they show that four councils came over the 10 per cent threshold for district matters, which covers the vast majority of development. These include Peak Distric in first place, which saw one in four decisions reversed and Bromley Council in London which is second place, with 12.5 percent based on 70 decisions. Third is South Lakeland on 12.5 per cent and fourth is Harlow, just over the threshold on 10.3 per cent.
No authorities were over the 10 per cent threshold for decisions on minor applications which is good news.
Meanwhile for quality of decisions for county matters development, the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham is second-highest on 12.5 per cent based on eight decisions, while Isle of Wight is first place with one in three appeals overturned.
The data is described by MHCLG as ‘experimental’ which means it is provisional and can be contested by local authorities. The special measures policy was introduced in 2013 by former planning minister Nick Boles with the aim of improving the speed and quality of planning decisions. In December 2018, the MHCLG announced that it will continue the programme up until 2020, with the assessment criteria remaining unchanged. The ministry said consideration of designation for quality of decision-making in the first quarter of 2019 would be based on the two-year timeframe between April 2016 and March 2018. Meanwhile, decisions in 2020 would consider the period between April 2017 and March 2019.
If your local council fails to meet their target decision date, or if they do not act correctly during the assessment period, 4D Planning can help you to appeal and to claim costs for your expenses.