Friday, 17 February 2012

The planning process - yet more nonsense


The bureaucratic nonsense I mentioned in a post on 7 February did not end there.

I got a further email from an admin officer in this LPA telling me that I had used an out-of-date form of local validation checklist, despite my having downloaded this from the Council’s website and also having confirmed with this officer or a colleague (there seems to be some doubt now as to who took my phone call) that the short form of checklist for LDC applications was the right one to use.

The new form of local validation checklist, which this authority insists must accompany all applications, applies to all types of application without exception. Thus I was obliged to state which of 26 items on the checklist was required and to return the completed checklist to the Council. The answer to 25 of the 26 questions was, of course ‘NOT APPLICABLE’, because this was an application for an LDC, and all bar one of the items listed in the checklist are clearly irrelevant to an LDC application. The one applicable item was “Plans and Drawings”, because the application naturally included a site plan. Surely it did not need a checklist to tell the Council’s officers that the application was accompanied by an appropriate site plan!

Needless to say, this makes the Council’s insistence on this form being completed somewhat pointless in the circumstances. This was a perfectly straightforward application for a Certificate as to the Lawfulness of an Existing Use or Development, and the Local Validation Checklist is obviously irrelevant to such an application.

Some of my correspondents have strongly suggested that I should name and shame the planning authorities who are guilty of this sort of bureaucratic nonsense, so I shall do so. The authority involved in this case was Tandridge District Council in Surrey. I don’t know what earthly good they think they are doing by coming up with these daft requirements, but they certainly succeed in irritating applicants and their agents.

The other authority which asked for TWELVE copies of all plans and drawings, by the way (“for consultation purposes”) was Manchester City Council, but that was a couple of years ago, so I hope they have mended their bureaucratic ways since then.

© MARTIN H GOODALL

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