Agenda item


(a)         New Appeals

(b)         Inquiries and Hearings – Progress

(c)         Written Representations Appeals – In Hand

(d)         Appeal Decisions

(e)         Court Cases – Progress and Results


  1. The DM introduced the appeals report and invited Members questions. He advised that the Planning Inspectorate had not reached many decisions within the last few weeks and the Council were awaiting the outcome of several cases. With regards to those appeals which had been decided, one of which had been withdrawn, and the other dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate as the appeal had been considered to be out of time. This decision was made weeks later after the Council had already dedicated resources in defending its decision.


  1. Cllr A Brown stated that the delays within the Planning Inspectorate Service were dire, and noted that this was not getting much attention within the press.


  1. The DM advised that the Planning Inspectorate were addressing resourcing issues but there was a backlog due to capacity issues. He commented that NNDC were limited in what it could do to remedy the situation and that it was in the best interest of the local authority, applicants and interested parties, who were increasingly frustrated, that these matters be resolved.


  1. Cllr R Kershaw commented that he could not see the situation improving given that the government were seeking spending efficiencies in the short and medium term.


  1. Cllr L Withington noted that at the Overview and Scrutiny meeting held the day prior, it was established that the public often didn’t know the role of the planning authority and the Planning Inspectorate. She considered it would be beneficial to explain the process and clarify that the delays were caused by the Planning Inspectorate and not by NNDC.


  1. Cllr N Pearce agreed that there was millage in explaining the decision making process to the public, particularly given the increase in the number of appeals.


  1. The Chairman affirmed that it was the democratic right for those who had their applications refused to appeal the decision, and noted the growing number of appeals where applicants did not like or understand why there application had been refused. She reiterated the challenges of the Planning Inspectorate in being understaffed, and inundated with appeals. The Chairman expressed her support in the Council producing an explanation document to broadly outline what happens with planning applications.


  1. The ADP drew comparisons with the Planning Inspectorate to that of an apex predator. He reminded Members that the number of applications approved by the local authority was extraordinarily high, the statistics of which would be provided to Members as evidence in an enhanced update. He commented that the increase in the number of appeals was symptomatic of the problem and that the current planning system was sick and ailing, and did not have the capacity of the experienced members within the profession to support the complexities it was dealing with. He affirmed that a review and investment was needed in the planning process, and noted the increasing number of issues. The ADP remarked that the Arcady appeal had been very poorly handled by the Planning Inspectorate, and such situation was likely to repeat itself. The ADP stated his frustrations of the Planning system were shared also with the Planning Inspectorate and reiterated that revision and change was needed. 


  1. Cllr A Brown thanked the ADP for his update and asked whether a commission should be established to look into the failing system, as he did not recall much detail in the White Paper outlining reform to the Planning Inspectorate.


  1. The ADP commented that the situation had been exacerbated in the 18 months since the publication of the White Paper, and reaffirmed the need for investment within the planning system which would continue to struggle without it.


  1. Cllr V Holliday noted the appeal for Arcady was due to be heard in January 2023, but that this was not reflected within the report. She asked that this be included within future reporting.


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