Everyone even loosely connected to the planning world knows about the 8 and 13 week targets. Failure to achieve targets can lead to a council being ‘designated’ which is a bad thing. The process of designation keeps changing, so this is a simple guide to designation for busy people. [edit: updated post because I confused my quarters]
The statistics are published four times a year as “live tables” on a .gov.uk website here. At the time of writing there are five sheets of interest to us:
- Table 151 – speed of decisions on major applications. 50% or fewer = designation. Has two parts (a & b) to reflect district and county matter applications. 16 councils are presently designated (although I expect that to change)
- Table 152 – quality of decisions. 20% or more decisions overturned at appeal = designation. 1 council is within 5% of the limit
- Table 153 – speed of decisions on minor applications. Target unknown. I suggest a precautionary guess of 60%. At risk or already in trouble (ie 65% or less) are 38 councils
- Table 154 – quality of decisions. Target unknown. I suggest a precautionary guess of 10%. One council is within 5%
- Table 155 – speed of decisions on oil & gas applications. Target unknown. I suggest a precautionary guess of 60%. Five councils at risk
Which ones bite ?
At present, only table 151 and table 152 (major applications) can lead to a council being designated. Table 153 and 154 (minor applications) require parliamentary process and *probably* will be in force for the rolling 2 years ending in June 2016. That means that we are over half-way through the performance regime already, which is why we want councils to notice now so they have time to respond.
Table 155 has appeared only recently (at least, I only noticed it recently) and I know nothing about it beyond the recent WMS.
What next ?
Many councils tell me that they have many many decisions that were agreed under a longer timescale but that their systems (or DCLG’s systems) do not allow for this to be recognised. I’d assume that many councils will need to spend some time liaising with the DCLG statisticians to ensure the numbers are correct. My guess is that several councils will drop off the list as PPAs and EoTs are accounted for.
And, looking forward, we’ve written today to everyone on our “at risk” list which will (no doubt) annoy some people who are already well sighted on this issue. But rather that than have busy people miss the way in which the designation process is evolving. Remember, we are already half-way through the new minors regime.