As part of the expanded CW Planning Brand i am now on Twitter talking all things planning , development and architecture.......i have plenty to say....and some people may not like [email protected]
Its ages since i blogged, and to be honest i could have done a number of blogs for so many reasons, some of which would probably land me in trouble due to the fact that i would have exposed some really dodgy practices.....but hey ho...time and PINS will sort those out.
Anyway onwards, who is getting by ? LPA's......
It seems to me, and i have no evidence as to actually why this is happening, but a lot of staff in LPA's are just not up to date with what they should be doing. Now you can blame the Government , after all they keep introducing new legislation, and in some cases hiding it in Acts which dont use the word planning in them, but other changes are through good old fashioned legislation like the GPDO and the DMPO.
Let me expand. The Development Management Procedure Order ( DMPO) is exactly what it says on the tin, the Order ( Set by Parliament therefore making it the law) which sets out the procedures which LPA's HAVE to follow in the processing of planning and other applications. Now recently i had someone high up in an LPA say they considered the provisions of the DMPO to be "advisory' Really? A bit like the constraints in the GPDO for house extensions are advisory .....i dont think so!
Then we have the changes to the use of pre-commencement planning conditions. This was brought in, in May 2015, yep thats right...... over a year ago. Yet somehow planning appoval notices fail to reflect the requirements laid down in the order.......so what do I tell my clients ? Well I tell them there are no pre commencement conditions so go ahead and start. The reacton from LPA's is startling, they didnt know what they are meant to do, worse still they talk to me as if the conditions are still pre- commencement conditions. They are not ! Is this local to where i live and work? Apparently not, i asked other consultants across the country and they reflected this same problem.
In some respects LPAs will argue that keeping up to date with changes is difficult, resources are stretched etc I understand that but surely someone somewhere has the responsibility for knowing what they are meant to be doing?
My final personal gem was this morning. I hadn't heard from an LPA whether they had received my appeal submission copied to them back in September. I got a lovely email from a technician which politely informed me that they didnt handle appeals and that i should contact the Planning inspectorate. (PINS) I politiely (?) pointed out that i was reasonably experienced and knew that i should appeal to PINS, but i was checking that they had the documents, as there was nothing on the website. I received another email from another more senior manager pointing out that they didnt put appeal information on the website till the start date was set by PINS, which it still has not been. So I sent another polite(?) email pointing out all i was asking was whether they had received the copy of the appeal in September.......how hard is it to actually answer the question.....did you get my appeal documenation in September? Well its clear that it is too hard because they have not answered the question....still!
I have lots of other anecdotal gems from elsewhere via my RTPI network, including my favourite where an LPA refused to validate an application becasue the applicant had not served notice on the land edged in blue...................... ( for anyone wondering its in the same ownership so they dont need to )
It seems to me a lot of LPA's are just getting by...........