In accordance with Procedure Rule 6(3) the Chairman advised that the following question had been received from Councilor A S Fluker:
With reference to the Decision Notice and Costs Decision Notice regarding the Planning Appeal determined on 24 March 2022 Ref/APP/X1545/W/21/3281036 Land South of Charwood and East of Orchard House, Stoney Hills, Burnham-on-Crouch, CM0 8QA, can the Council confirm why the appeal was not defended and why a rebuttal was not sent to the Planning Inspectorate?
The Director of Service Delivery responded advising that the planning application was refused planning permission by the District Planning Committee contrary to Officer recommendation. It was standard practice for the Local Planning Authority to defend all planning appeals submitted against the decision of the Council.
Whilst the planning appeal was allocated to a planning officer there was an error on the part of both the managing officer and the case officer in managing the workload and as a result a defence of the appeal was not submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. On behalf of the service, the Director of Service Delivery apologised for this oversight.
As previously highlighted to Members one of the key issues appeared to revolve around the management of officer’s workload and the ability of officers to easily have an overview on what deadlines individual officers have approaching. This process issue was something that the Planning Team had already looked to deal with including changing the approach to case conferences and the delivery of the planning dashboard. This issue would be further refined through the Planning Improvement Plan mentioned at the last meeting of the Performance Governance and Audit Committee.