Planning appeal inquiries independent review: final report published
The report into the Rosewell Review into Planning Appeal Inquiries ("the Review") has been published. The report summarises the findings of the review and makes 22 recommendations on how the planning appeal inquiry process can be improved and decisions made more quickly.
The Review was instigated back in June 2018, when the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published its terms of reference and appointed Bridget Rosewell as chair of the Independent Review of Planning Appeal Inquiries. On 19th December 2018, Ms Rosewell submitted her report to the Secretary of State and on 12th February 2019 the report into the Review was finally published.
The review finds that the inquiry process currently takes nearly a year to complete (from lodging the appeal to decision by an inspector) and looks to ways that this can be reduced. The key conclusion is that the Planning Inspectorate needs to become more active in managing the inquiry process. In particular Inspectors need to become more insistent in imposing dates and deadlines and ensure that the evidence focuses on the key issues. The report also recommends that Inspectors be appointed as soon as an appeal is validated.
It is the report's conclusion that active case management, combined with effective technology and online document control, could halve the time from lodging an appeal to a decision to about six months. Changes to planning appeal guidance and procedures are likely to follow. Whether these are published in 2019 remains less certain.
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