A recent survey by the Home Builders Federation has shown the number of builders reporting problems with the supply and cost of materials had jumped from 20 per cent a year ago to 78 per cent. Nine out of ten builders also say a lack of resources in planning departments are causing delays.
The rise in the number of appeals in 2021, and backlog from lock-downs, mean appeals are taking longer than they should. Latest statistics from the Planning Inspectorate show householder appeals are about 5 months and other written representation appeals about 7 months. Hearings are over a year.
If you undertake development without planning permission then you have the ability to apply to retain that use/work: commonly called retrospective planning permission. But the Government is hinting at measures to restrict such applications to be 'used only by those who have genuinely made a mistake', a housing department minister has told MPs as part of forthcoming measures to tighten up enforcement rules.
A householder in Gloucestershire lost an appeal to keep a leisure outbuilding - dubbed 'Britain's biggest mancave' - and has failed to demolish it, as required following his loss. Now it seems he is facing large costs or potentially prison, if he still doesn't demolish it. Getting your appeal hear correctly is important, as it complying with the law.
Shortly after the change in the Secretary of State, the Government is indicating a tougher approach to securing planning permission for new housing on 'greenfield' sites. At the Conservative Party Conference, Boris Johnson said "You can also see how much room there is to build the homes that young families need in this country not on green fields, not just jammed in the South East, but beautiful homes on brownfield sites in places where homes make sense".
The recent Government reshuffle saw the departure of Robert Jenrick as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and the arrival of Michael Gove. And with the new person in charge cam a new name for the Department: appeals are still made to the Planning Inspectorate, who are an executive agency of the new Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities
If you appeal against a refusal of planning permission then your decision will be determined by a randomly allocated independent Inspector, from outside your Council area. But is there a difference in who makes these decisions? A new service has analysed the decisions of individual Inspectors to see how many they allow and dismiss, and by development types
Local planning authorities must publish all relevant documents about a planning application in time for objectors to consider them, and before any application has been heard by a Planning Committee. The High Court recently found that the failure to do this warranted the quashing of a planning permission. If you are making representations to a planning application you have a right to view the relevant documents and have time to respond; make sure you press for those documents.
The full Annual Report of the Planning Inspectorate has recently been published, which provides an update on how they are performing: unfortunately not as well as they would hope, with a slowing down of the appeals process. The Report has helpful case studies of how appeals run, and more information on the operation of the Inspectorate.
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