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Planning applications backlog

Taking action to clear our planning application backlog.

We are currently taking a range of actions to address a backlog of planning applications. As with other local authorities this has been caused by a national shortage in planning officers and other specialists. A considerable number of applications have also been affected by recent nutrient neutrality issues.

We are:

  • employing temporary planning consultants to assist with the current high volume of planning applications
  • seeking to recruit replacement planning officers
  • working with our internal consultees to address delays in consultation responses
  • reviewing our processes to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our service

We appreciate the frustration that delays to planning applications can cause, but we ask our applicants and agents to bear with us whilst we undertake these measures. If you are waiting on an application, rest assured that we are working on it but please avoid asking for updates as this takes officers away from dealing with cases. We will, however, endeavour to give proactive updates on when applications will likely be determined.

Please be aware that we will follow our published approach to negotiations, but where we will aim to determine applications as quickly as possible, and where proposals are unacceptable we will give clear reasons for refusal on decision notices. We encourage anyone with a new major application to use our Planning pre-application advice service.

In addition to the above, we are prioritising further measures to improve the service and minimise the risk of repeated backlogs in the future. These include:

  • developing a new customer charter and also publishing additional information which will set out how we will deal with all applications, negotiations and communications in the longer term
  • updating our local validation checklists and submission documentation requirements to help you submit the right information with your application up front
  • improving the options available for pre-application advice, and adding more value to this service by engaging positively and seeking to give clear and where possible creative feedback to proposals at an early stage
  • streamlining our internal systems and processes, maximising the use of technology, and looking for innovative solutions to deliver a more efficient service

These measures will take some time to take full effect, and we are grateful for your patience whilst we clear the backlog and transition into our new way of working.

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