Tuesday 4th May ( not in the MIllenium Falcon unfortunately) i trooped off to Bristol to meet with the Planning Inspectorate, (PINS) as part of a group of independent consultants from across the country. PINS provided us with some useful insights into how they are changing the way they operate, and some statistics as to the direction of travel within the organisation, in relation to getting the number of appeals in the system, down to manageable proportions. PINS has around 270 Inspectors plus a number of salaried ( contract ) Inspectors and they can handle around 5000 appeals per annum. In the last financial year the figure was 8000 and thats now down to around 7000. ( the Force appears to be with them)
They also listend to our concerns, consistancy by Inspectors on the same subject, third parties involvement in hearings, and whether they favour LPA's in deciding whether how an appeal should be heard, amongst others.
Finally we received some pointers to important recent case law, some of which i was on track with, but a couple to be researched and used as appropriate, by me in the future.
All in all very useful, and a clear reminder that not all Inspectors are on the Darkside.