If you have recently lodged a planning appeal or are about to do so, you may wish to know that your appeal is unlikely to be registered for some time. The Planning Inspectorate used to reliably confirm that your appeal is valid and set a start date for the process within about a week. Then it drifted to about two weeks but recently it has become longer still. Much longer.
Our current record is a planning appeal against the decision of East Dorset District Council which was lodged online on 13 June and we have yet to receive a start date – 33 days later. When I called the Planning Inspectorate a week or so ago a rather weary voice told me that for appeals lodged in May their average length of time to send out a start date was 28 days and June was likely to be similar.
So what is happening at PINS? Budget cuts resulting in staff shortage? A hangover from the extra work associated with the publishing of the NPPF? A backlash against the demand from Greg Clarke that they accede to locally made decisions? Or perhaps a classic case of manipulating the process to meet targets (if perhaps they run from start date to decision rather than from submission to decision)?
Who knows, but come on the Planning Inspectorate the industry could really do without this!