Rosewell appeals review identified serious issues holding up the appeal process
An independent review into planning appeals has concluded that the lengthy process could be reduced by up to 5 months. The review was authored by Bridget Rosewell CBE, who was appointed as Chair of the Independent Review into Planning Appeal Inquiries in June 2018.
The report recognises that all parts of the planning system need to contribute towards the efficient delivery of the homes we need, but identifies several issues holding up the appeals process, including:
- Outdated administrative processes,
- Poor IT infrastructure,
- A lack of suitably qualified Inspectors.
It also requests that the Planning Inspectorate (PINS) should adopt end-to-end (from receipt of a valid appeal to decision) timescale targets for inquiry appeals decided by Inspectors of 24 weeks for 90 per cent of decisions and up to 26 weeks for the remaining 10 per cent of the decisions.
Secretary of State James Brokenshire commented that “planning appeal inquiries have held up development and kept communities waiting in limbo – 47 weeks on average is far too long to wait for a decision on something so important as a proposal for new development.”
Ms Rosewell’s report makes 22 recommendations for speeding up the process, which include:
- Committing the Planning Inspectorate to a new online portal for submitting inquiry appeals,
- Recruiting additional Inspectors,
- Minimising the number of cases which need to be decided directly by the Secretary of State,
- Streamlining the process of confirming the appeals procedure,
- Ensuring timely submission of documents, otherwise an award of costs could be initiated where a party has acted unreasonably and caused another party to incur unnecessary or wasted expense.
PINS is now required to submit an ‘action plan’ setting out how it will cut timescales and make other improvements to the housing secretary by April 2019. The action plan should set out how it will ensure that the necessary organisational measures are put in place to deliver the proposed timescale targets and wider improvements by no later than June 2020.