Planning & Environment

A bit of year-end stock taking leads me to look at the interesting stats you can pull off the DPEA’s appeals website.

In the last year (29 December 2010 to 28 December 2011), there were 276 planning appeals decided by DPEA reporters. This is down from 457 the previous year (to 28 December 2010). This 40% fall may to some extent reflect the introduction of local review bodies, but is probably much more a reflection of developers being less willing presently to take the risk of an appeal.

Neil in commenting on the DPEA’s annual report has noted that there has been a very high rate of successful appeals in the last financial year, probably reflecting the caution of appellants in pursuing only the strongest cases.

However, another statistic points in exactly the opposite direction about the care that appellants have taken in appeals: 56 (i.e. just over 20%) of all planning permission appeals were refused on the basis that the Scottish Ministers had no remit to determine them. This is up from the previous year (55 cases refused for no remit out of 457, i.e. 12%).

The great majority of these no-remit refusals have one of two reasons: first, the appeal was out of time, and second, there was no appeal remedy to the Scottish Ministers – an application should have been made to the Local Review Body instead. The latter is by my reckoning the more common reason. Plainly, one effect of the new planning system is to make failure of a case on a technicality more likely, and the risk is borne by developers. The fact the problem is getting worse underlines the need for professional advice – but the high level of technical failure of appeals suggests a problem that is systemic and the government should address as such.

Planning & Environment