Agenda Item No.
THE VALE OF GLAMORGAN COUNCIL
PLANNING COMMITTEE: 17TH NOVEMBER, 2011
REFERENCE FROM CABINET: 2ND NOVEMBER, 2011
"C1494 WELSH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION DOCUMENT - IMPROVING THE PLANNING APPEAL PROCESS (PT) (SCRUTINY ECONOMY AND ENVIRONMENT) -
The aforementioned consultation document put forward proposals for various changes which were designed to make the appeals process more proportionate, cost effective and responsive to applicants and appellants needs. In the most part it was noted that the consultation endorsed the approach that the Council had undertaken for the last 12 months when it had been selected to take part in a pilot scheme for introducing a quicker, simpler system for householder appeals. Other key changes proposed included the appeal method for each case being decided by the Inspectorate, extending the costs regime to written representation planning appeals, introducing a simple procedure for correcting errors in appeal decisions and introducing a formal process and guidance for undertaking bespoke timetables for complex Inquiries. Such changes were to be welcomed in streamlining the process. Changes in the current arrangements for payment of enforcement application fees to ensure that the whole fee for an enforcement appeal under Ground A would now be retained by the Council - this was also considered to be a positive step.
Certain points in the consultation, however, raised some concerns. It was considered that some of the timescales imposed on the Council for the submission of documentation to the Inspectorate were unrealistic (5 days) and that a timescale of 10 working days would be more appropriate. The second concern was in respect of the submission of Statements of Common Ground. The consultation document suggested that the submission of an agreed Statement of Common Ground and its submission to the Planning Inspectorate should be submitted prior to the expiry of the 4 week deadline for the submission of written proofs of evidence. Members considered that the submission of the Statement earlier in the appeals process could lead to less Statements of Common Ground being agreed with the documents themselves having little value due to the time pressures involved. Further to the above, general concern was expressed at the Welsh Government's conclusion as to why Statements of Common Ground were not submitted, the point being made that it was not until Councils and appellants had gone through the process of the preparation of evidence that any Common Ground became apparent.
This was a matter for Executive decision.
(1) T H A T the response to the Consultation Document as appended to the report be approved and forwarded to the Welsh Government.
(2) T H A T a copy of the report be forwarded to the Planning Committee for information purposes.
Reasons for decisions
(1) To enable the Council to respond to the recent consultation issued by the WG entitled Improving the Planning Appeal Process.
(2) To inform the Planning Committee of the response to the consultation."
Attached as Appendix - Report to Cabinet: 2nd November 2011