A report by the Assistant Director – Planning.
The Assistant Director – Planning presented the report advising that all the decision were contained within the report for reference.
9 decisions had been appealed of which 7 had been dismissed, 1 allowed and 1 was quashed in respect of enforcement on tall trees with a new application on going.
The Council’s Appeal performance remained good and was better than the national target over the rolling two-year period, which was a good indicator of the quality of decision taking. It further reflected the current position within the local plan, which would have an effect in terms of guiding development and reducing the Councils exposure to speculative applications.
The Assistant Director – Planning referenced two notable applications of interest:
The first being the decision in respect of the Field Street application that the Inspector had supported which had been the first test of Policy 21 in respect of HMO development.
The second decision in respect of the Land north of Millstone Kirton End. An earlier application allowed on Appeal on a site not far from the Land was prior to the local plan and at a time where the Council had no 5-year housing land supply (5YHLS). This application within the same general area was dismissed, with the Inspector giving weight to the local plan and noting the existence of a 5YHLS.
Concluding the Assistant Director – Planning provided a short update on workload during the past year. He advised Members that the work progression for 2020/21 was comparable against the previous year. Of the 525 applications received the substantive amount were agreed, many through delegated decision. Moving on to housing completions, it was noted that 294 units were completed last year, 142 of which had been affordable.
Member comment praised the performance level and number of affordable houses coming forward. Referencing the Appeal decision notices a request asked for all Members to received hard copies of the notices as had been the previous practice. It was then discussed whether they could be added to the electronic weekly list or circulated electronically. Members agreed that the Appeal decision notices were not only interesting they were also a very informative tool to aid in decision-making. A Member asked how the Council was fairing in regard of its housing completion targets and how it compared to other authorities.
The Assistant Director – Planning responded to the member comments by advising he would prefer to circulate the decisions electronically as all of them were available on the website anyway, and would discuss with the planning team to see how the system could provide the documents.
Addressing the housing completion targets’ he advised that the Council was 16 down on the year with 294 completions against the targeted 310, but this was not unexpected given Covid19 had affected development with the closure of building sites. It was hoped that Government would give allowances for the closure of the site.
Trying to compare workloads was very difficult as each Council worked differently. However the general feeling was everyone was busy. What the figures do underline is the positive that development was still ongoing in the Borough with investors willing to build.
In conclusion, the Chairman stated be felt very reassured when Planning Inspectors agreed the decision making of the Council, it built confidence and the policies were working well. Housing delivery was good which was very important for the Borough and the SELLP was delivering the housing it had been set up to do. Finally, the Chairman noted he wished credit be paid to the planning team for their ongoing work in achieving such levels of performance.
That the committee received the Appeals Report and noted the contents therein.
Prior to closing the meeting, the Chairman wished to express his thanks to all of those who had worked hard to ensure that todays meeting could go ahead in the hybrid format. Particularly IT, Guildhall staff and Democratic Services.