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Councillors asked to help fight planning appeals to improve Royal Borough's disappointing performance

Councillors asked to help fight planning appeals to improve Royal Borough's disappointing performance

Simon Meechan

Cllr Derek Wilson

Asking councillors to meet planning inspectors and outsourcing minor applications are two solutions put forward by a senior councillor to tackle the borough’s failure to meet its planning targets.

A monitoring report shows the council is losing too many planning appeals. It says  38.1 per cent of appeals against council decisions are successful, eight per cent more than its maximum target.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Windsor Guildhall last night, the borough’s cabinet member for planning, Cllr Derek Wilson (Con, Oldfield) said more appeals will be thrown out if councillors are pro-active in fighting them, and meet planning inspectors when they visit site.

He said: “We are trying to have a word with all the councillors that sit on the development panel. If there’s no overturn to the officer’s decision, maybe try and get them involved in fighting the appeals. Where this has happened, councillors fighting appeals, we have been successful with those.”

Cllr Philip Love (Con, Belmont) added: “You can make a difference. I’ve been told by planning officers that if the local councillor turns up they do make a note of that.”

The monitoring report shows the council is not processing ‘minor’ planning applications quickly enough, with only 43 per cent of them done on time, while only 64 per cent of ‘other’ type planning applications are processed on time, against a target of 90 per cent.

Cllr Wilson said the borough will have to take some ‘tough steps’ to achieve better results. He said temporary staff may be brought in, to alleviate pressure and crack the more ‘day-to-day’ planning applications, leaving the more detailed applications to council officers.

Another suggestion he made is to outsource minor and other type applications to an external company which could deal with them more efficiently.

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