Wednesday, 25 January 2012

The planning process – more grumbles

Numerous examples of the nonsense dished out by local planning authorities continue to accumulate.

In one case, before the LPA would even register the application, they asked for a technical/manufacturer’s specification for a chimney flue. Since this did not form part of the detailed design, manufacturers were understandably reluctant to supply this information in view of the time and trouble they would have to take in doing so, unless the client placed a firm order. It took several days and a number of phone calls to a senior planner to get this requirement removed, and caused unnecessary delay. My informant points out that, had he actually sent in the requested details, it is doubtful if anyone in the Planning Department would have had the competence to appraise them.

As a previous correspondent wrote, these requirements increasingly go outside the competence of planners and are best dealt with by other departments; requirements for the approval of the relevant details could always be framed as conditions attached to the planning permission.

Finally, this planning authority demanded twelve (!) copies of drawings for 'consultation purposes'. This was a simple application for change of use of relatively small premises, not a major commercial development. These drawings were on A1 sheets at £2.50 a go, plus postage/packaging and the time involved in packing and dispatching them. My informant observes that, as I have previously suggested, too many administrators in this particular part of the public sector know little, and care even less, about the financial consequences of their demands.

My informant wishes to remain anonymous, and perhaps we should not embarrass the LPA concerned by naming and shaming them.

© MARTIN H GOODALL (with acknowledgements)


  1. protect the identity of the informant, name and shame the LPA (not that they will give a hoot!)

  2. How will we get them to change their admin if we don't name and shame them?

  3. My informant specifically asked me to omit any identifying information in the case reported above. Naming the LPA might lead to identification of the case and therefore of the informant. In practice, nothing will make LPAs mend their ways other than a change in the legislation which would remove the ability of LPAs to hold up applications for silly reasons. I have a case on my desk at the moment – an LDC application which is being held up simply because an entirely irrelevant return has not been completed. It will obviously be quicker to complete the form (in practice a ‘Nil’ return) rather than argue about it.