Ribble Valley planners among ‘slowest in England’

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PLANNERS at Ribble Valley Borough Council are ranked some of the slowest and most overruled decision-makers in England.

An article in October 18th’s edition of the magazine Planning – the journal of the Royal Town Planning Institute – lists RVBC as seventh in the category of the “25 most overruled decision-makers - the English authorities who suffered the highest proportion of defeats in planning appeals in 2011/12”.

The figures show that nine appeals, or 67% of appeals on planning decisions, made by RVBC have been allowed.

RVBC is fourth in the category of the “slowest decision-makers (all applications) – the 25 lowest scoring English councils for determining all applications within 26 weeks in 2011/2012”.

The report, which has used information from both the Planning Inspectorate and the Department for Communities and Local Government, says that 702 applications were decided in 26 weeks which is 91%.

In the category of the “slowest decision-makers (major applications), the 25 lowest scoring English authorities for determining major applications within 26 weeks in 2011/12” – RVBC is in 14th place.

The article discusses planning minister Nick Boles’ comments made at the Conservative Party conference and a recent communities and local government select committee meeting.

He said that the few English councils whose planning decisions are consistently overturned on appeal will be subject to special measures allowing developers to bypass their planning departments.

In response to the article, Ribble Valley Borough Council’s head of planning services, John Macholc, said: “We are aware of the report and mindful of the need to speed up the decision-making process, and are working earnestly with councillors to do so.

“The council receives more applications per officer than most councils in Lancashire, the majority of which are extremely complex and difficult to determine.”