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had been withdrawn, and the other dismissed by the Planning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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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