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Planning Inspectorate recruitment drive begins to pay off

Words: Huw Morris

The Planning Inspectorate’s (PINs) recruitment drive has boosted its numbers by 67 inspectors this year and reduced the number of older cases by 50 per cent.

In its latest performance update, PINs said its recruitment drive had enabled more experienced inspectors to concentrate on the older, more complex appeals that were waiting to be decided.

Latest figures from the inspectorate show that in the past three months PINs delivered a record of around 3,700 appeal decisions, the highest number for the second quarter running this year. This follows the 3,437 appeals decided in the previous quarter.

Planning appeals handled through the written representation process are decided on average within 20 to 25 weeks and 42 per cent in 18 weeks.

It said the recommendations of the Rosewell Review “are proving to be effective”, resulting in the first 22 cases being decided within 26 weeks. Some 21 of these cases were decided within 24 weeks.

Since March, the inquiry event for more than 80 planning appeal inquiries has been scheduled within 13 to 16 weeks from the start of the appeal.

PINs acknowledged that it is “working on improving our processes and making better use of digital technology” for enforcement appeals. It has appointed more than 20 additional enforcement inspectors and case officers and expects that new appeals from January following the written representations procedure will meet its target of 36 weeks.

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