Per a report, of 78 appeals recommended for approval by council planning officers, but rejected by councillors in 2017, 65% were overturned.
This means 6,000 homes were approved.
Additionally, it was determined that 40% of homes were approved on appeal when an officer’s recommendation was refusal, and councillors also rejected the application in the report “Refused for Good Reason”.
In 35% of circumstances (4,000 dwelling), councillors were supported in overturning officer recommendations.
The associate director at planning consultancy Lichfields, Rachel Clements, said:
“The delivery of housing is at the top of the political agenda. But, whilst there has been lots of focus on planning policies and housing delivery, very little attention has been given to the quality of decision-making.
“Our research has shown that in some instances developers are being pushed into an unnecessarily expensive and time consuming appeal process, on the basis of local decision-making that proves less resilient at appeal than where officers recommended refusal.”
In 71% of appeals (55/78), one of the main problems was the five year housing supply.
Though Lichfield has mentioned it did not have a “significant” impact on the outcome of the appeals, most of these were situated in local authority areas without an up-to-date local plan.
74% of appeals, according to the report, often are allowed when councillors had refused an application on highways and transport related issues.
The research also suggests that through England, Scotland and Wales;
- over 56% of appeals considered were in Conservative-controlled local authorities.
- 44% were in Labour-controlled and no overall controlled local authorities respectively.
Numerous suggestions were made by Lichfields regarding improvements to decision-making at a local level.
“Seeking independent advice where there is disagreement between the planning officer and members on a technical issue before a decision is confirmed.”
“Extending the secretary of state’s powers to designate local planning authorities where higher rates of decisions made by councillors are being overturned at appeal.”
“Offering bespoke training to planning committee members particularly in councils with higher rates of allowed appeals.”
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