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Planning Inspectorate implements 16 Rosewell recommendations

Words: Laura Edgar

The Planning Inspectorate has updated Inquiries Review Action Plan, first published in May 2019, saying it has made ‘significant’ progress.

The action plan was published following a series of recommendations made by a review led by economist Bridget Rosewell.

It found that planning appeal decisions could be brought forward by five months with the average time “slashed” from 47 to 26 weeks, while a lack of “suitably qualified inspectors” is hampering moves to set up inquiry hearings on time.

Reforms advocated by Rosewell included committing the Planning Inspectorate to introduce a new online portal for the submission of inquiry appeals and a strategy to recruit more inspectors so that inquiries could be scheduled sooner.

Of the 22 recommendations, the Planning Inspectorate said it has made “significant progress” with 16 met and all others well under way.

“Most importantly, all planning appeal inquiries are now following the new inquiries process. A key part of the changes is inspectors taking control of the process from the start and having a more proactive role through early engagement with appeal parties at the case management conference,” said a statement from the inspectorate.

Inquiry appeal decisions have been issued in the new ‘Rosewell style’ since March 2019, and so far 72 decisions have been decided following the new process and timeline.

The inspectorate said that all the inquiry appeal cases that started as an inquiry and were decided by an inspector were completed in 26 weeks or less, and all those currently under consideration have a high probability of reaching the overall target of securing a decision by week 24/26 from receipt.

The average time taken from a valid inquiry appeal being received to the inspector issuing a decision is 22.6 weeks, which according to the inspectorate, “is less than half the time taken in previous years”.

The six recommendations still to be resolved are:

  • Improving the submission and validation of appeals;
  • Costs of the Inquiry;
  • The timely submission of inquiry documents;
  • Use of technology;
  • Decisions made directly by the secretary of state; and
  • Reforming data collection and performance measurement.

Read more:

Inspectorate runs pilot scheme in response to Rosewell review

Guidance published for s.78 appeals

News in brief: Rosewell visits inspectorate for progress report

Planning Inspectorate recruitment drive begins to pay off